News / Asia

Taiwan Becoming Popular Destination for Hong Kong Emigrants

Ms. Koo emigrated in March to Taiwan where she opened a café/bookstore.
Ms. Koo emigrated in March to Taiwan where she opened a café/bookstore.
Taiwan has become an increasingly popular immigration destination for a growing wave of Hong Kong citizens leaving the crowded and pricey autonomous Chinese city.

Earlier this month, Hong Kong's government revealed that 3,900 people emigrated in the first half of this year, an 8 percent increase on the same period in 2012. It said the most common destinations for the emigrants are Australia, Canada and the United States.

But Taiwan is catching up. A new report released by the self-ruled island's government shows a significant jump in residency applications from Hong Kongers and citizens of the smaller autonomous Chinese city of Macau.

Rising interest

Taiwan's National Immigration Agency said it received 3,195 residency applications from Hong Kong and Macau in 2012, a 30 percent increase from the year before. It said the number of successful applicants for permanent residency last year rose by a similar margin to 711.

The Taiwan immigration report said the pace of residency applications from Hong Kong and Macau also has accelerated in recent months. It said 632 applications were received in September, nearly six times more than in May.

Taiwan media said September's surge partly was seasonal, because it coincided with overseas students applying to attend the start of the new semester at local universities. But they said the data also reflect a broader trend.

  • A Taiwan street. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Ms. Koo’s bookstore and café in Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Ms. Koo in her bookstore and café in Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)    
  • Ms. Koo’s bookstore and café is decorated with Hong Kong news reports published before its handover to China in 1997, Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Ms. Koo’s bookstore and café displays nostalgic posters of Hong Kong’s pre-handover days, Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • A collectible toy gun from Hong Kong is displayed in Ms. Koo's bookstore and cafe in Tainan City, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Tim Wong at his FabCafe office in Taipei, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Design samples on display in Tim Wong’s office in Taipei, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • Tim Wong’s café also functions as a design studio in Taipei, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)
  • A sign showing directions to a workshop at Tim Wong café in Taipei, Taiwan. (Iris Tong/VOA)

Hong Kong's drawbacks

Emigration from Hong Kong has been rising since 2011, with citizens citing a variety of reasons for leaving.

They include the high cost of living, pollution and an influx of mainland China visitors and residents who compete with locals for the city's resources.

Other emigrants blame the Hong Kong government, saying it has had too many scandals and has been too slow to introduce full democracy to the city.

Hong Kongers who have made the move to Taiwan say the island has several key advantages over their hometown.

Taiwan's appeal

Speaking in Taipei, U.S.-educated businessman Tim Wong said Taiwan's democratic political system is more appealing.

"Taiwan is the only place where the Chinese community enjoys its own system of democracy," said Wong. "That democracy is not dominated by any ideology. I came to Taiwan to live my life in a place of mutual benefit and mutual contribution."

Wong relocated to Taipei last year to start a 3-D printing and design company with a partner from Japan. He said Taiwan is supportive of small business.

Another Hong Konger, Ms. Koo, emigrated to Taiwan in March and opened a café and bookstore in the southern city of Tainan. She says that she chose Taiwan because life is more affordable than in Hong Kong, while the language and culture are similar in both places.

In a report published Monday, Taiwan newspaper United Daily News quoted a local immigration agent as saying some Hong Kongers living on the island also have been applying to become permanent residents.

The agent said those people include Hong Kongers who have worked in Taiwan for at least a year and prefer the lifestyle, as well as those who marry Taiwan citizens.

Facebook campaign

Internet users also created a Facebook page last month to promote Taiwan as a friendly place for Hong Kong citizens seeking a better life.

The self-titled "Evacuation to Taiwan" page features articles about Taiwan's politics, property market and cuisine. It also highlights commentaries that are critical of the Hong Kong government.

The page has attracted more than 4,600 likes since it was set up on October 14.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Cantonese Service. Lipin reported from Washington and Tong contributed from Taipei.

This report was amended on Dec 3, 2013 to clarify that the 711 successful applicants in 2012 had received permanent residency in Taiwan.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
December 05, 2013 7:59 PM
Hong Kong people are trying to keep distance from Chinese hammers and sickels. Who blames them ?


by: Quincy from: Berlin
December 03, 2013 12:11 PM
"Taiwan's National Immigration Agency said it received 3,195 residency applications from Hong Kong and Macau in 2012 ... It said the number of successful applicants last year rose by a similar margin to 711." This is not correct. The rejection rate is nowhere near this high, certainly not 80%. You got these numbers from columns F & G. Even if you cannot read a word of Chinese, obviously these are not applications vs. approvals, because the latter is several times as large as the former in many cases.

If you look at the column headers, you will see that Columns C, F, and I are the number of residency permissions for mainland Chinese, HK & Macau people, and the diaspora. "Residency" can mean study abroad, working, joining relatives, or whatever. Columns D, G, and H are the respective number of settlement permissions for each of those three groups. "Settlement" means establishing household registration, meaning you become a full citizen with voting rights, health insurance, green passport, and everything.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid