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Doing Business in Taiwan

With its thriving economy and strategic location in the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan offers a wealth of opportunities for businesses looking to expand their global reach. However navigating the unique aspects of Taiwanese business culture can be a challenge for those unfamiliar with its intricacies. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of doing business in Taiwan, from understanding the business landscape to mastering local etiquette, overcoming challenges, and tapping into resources for success.

Key Takeaways

  • Taiwan offers a thriving business landscape with a strong infrastructure, a strategic location, and a government-supported investment environment.
  • Navigating Taiwanese Business Culture requires understanding Confucian ethics, ‘face’, building networks, and observing hierarchical structures.
  • Adapting to local business practices involves mastering language & cultural considerations as well as legal & financial regulations for successful registration in Taiwan’s major cities.

By gaining a deeper understanding of Taiwan’s business culture, practices, and legal and financial considerations, you can position your business for success in this dynamic market. So, let’s embark on this journey to unlock the potential of doing business in Taiwan.

Taiwan Business Guides

Taiwan’s Business Landscape

Taiwan has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years, becoming a key player in the global economy. Its well-developed infrastructure and strategic location have made it an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. As a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the World Trade Organisation, Taiwan is well integrated into the regional and global economy.

Some key points about Taiwan’s economy include:

  • Rapid economic growth
  • Well-developed infrastructure
  • Strategic location
  • An attractive destination for foreign direct investment
  • Member of APEC and WTO

The majority of Taiwanese people speak Mandarin Chinese, with Taiwanese as the other official language, making it easier for businesses to connect with their counterparts in Taiwan and those in mainland China.

Taiwan’s business landscape is shaped by a diverse mix of industries, with a strong focus on technology, manufacturing, and foreign trade. The nation’s economy has remained resilient, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, outperforming many other Asian countries. The government’s business-friendly and investment-friendly environment has been integral to the economy’s exponential growth.

Navigating Taiwanese Business Culture

Taiwanese business culture, deeply influenced by Taiwanese culture, is rooted in Confucian ethics, which emphasizes the importance of relationships, respect, and hierarchy. The concept of ‘face’ plays a crucial role in personal and business interactions, as it is closely linked to personal dignity, prestige, and reputation.

This part of the guide delves into the distinct features of Taiwanese business culture, focusing on the importance of forming business networks, recognizing hierarchical structures, and adapting to the local way of communication.

Taiwan Business Culture

Building Business Connections

Guanxi, a sophisticated system of relationship building or networking, lies at the heart of Taiwanese business culture. These connections can be formed across status, in both personal and professional relationships, and can have a considerable impact on one’s capacity to operate effectively as part of a collective. Gift-giving is a crucial aspect of fostering guanxi, reflecting the importance of relationship-building in Taiwan.

Social events play a critical role in cultivating business relationships in Taiwan. They provide an environment to become acquainted with individuals in a more informal setting, while encouraging trust and comprehension. Recognizing the significance of guanxi and engaging in social functions will help you establish a robust network of contacts, driving your business success in Taiwan.

Understanding Hierarchical Structure

Taiwanese businesses generally have a hierarchical structure, with senior managers taking a considerable interest in all activities and expecting to be consulted on key decisions. Recognizing the authority and impact of the most senior person in a meeting is essential in Taiwanese business culture. Lower-level employees may not show as much initiative due to the traditional emphasis on hierarchy and seniority. Respect for authority is often prioritized in such a scenario.

It is important to address people with respect in Taiwanese business culture, using appropriate titles such as Mr., Mrs., or Miss followed by their surname. Comprehending and respecting Taiwan’s hierarchical structures allows you to interact more effectively within the local business culture, paving the way for improved working relationships with your Taiwanese associates.

Communication Style

Taiwanese communication style is characterized by its indirectness and politeness, with a focus on crafting well-constructed messages to ensure effective communication. People from direct communication cultures should be mindful to attentively listen for the information required, as direct messages might be interpreted as impolite and insufficient due to their lack of context.

In Taiwanese business culture, individuals typically present their ideas and then await a response from their colleagues. Dissent is often expressed through silence, which might be unfamiliar to those from more direct communication cultures.

Adapting to Taiwan’s communication style and paying attention to nonverbal cues will help prevent miscommunications and sustain amicable business relationships in the country

Mastering Business Etiquette in Taiwan

As you navigate the Taiwanese business landscape, it is essential to master the local etiquette to ensure successful interactions with your Taiwanese counterparts. This part of the guide provides practical advice on different facets of Taiwanese business etiquette, covering:

  • Business card exchange
  • Meeting protocol
  • Dress code

Business Card Exchange

Exchanging business cards is a customary practice upon making initial introductions in Taiwan. To create a favorable impression, it is essential to have a business card with one side in English and the other side translated into traditional Mandarin, using the traditional script. When presenting your business card, use both hands to show respect and ensure that the Chinese side is facing the recipient.

Handling business cards with care is an important aspect of Taiwanese business etiquette. Refrain from writing on, folding, or misplacing the card, as it might be considered disrespectful. Adhering to these guidelines signifies your respect for local customs and can enhance your connections with Taiwanese business partners.

Meeting Protocol

Conducting successful business meetings in Taiwan requires an understanding of local meeting protocol. Punctuality is highly valued, and it is essential to arrive on time for all business appointments. Be prepared for meetings, but also be aware that time is not viewed as a priority over achieving a successful meeting outcome.

In Taiwan, communication tends to be indirect, with emphasis placed on the impact of words on others rather than the content of the communication. Be mindful of moments when participants remain silent during meetings, as they might indicate dissent or contemplation.

Following these meeting protocols assures productive and respectful dialogues with your Taiwanese business partners, while keeping non business discussions to a minimum.

Dress Code

In Taiwanese business settings, formal and conservative attire is expected, with dark suits for men and modest dresses and skirts for women. It is recommended to avoid casual clothing, such as T-shirts and jeans, especially during initial meetings.

Dressing appropriately projects your professionalism and respect for the local culture, leaving a positive impression on your Taiwanese associates.

Overcoming Challenges in the Taiwanese Market

While Taiwan offers a wealth of opportunities for foreign businesses, it also presents unique challenges, such as:

  • Language barriers
  • Cultural differences
  • Adherence to regulations
  • Restricted market access
  • Safeguarding intellectual property

This part of the guide tackles these challenges and offers practical recommendations for navigating the Taiwanese market.

Navigating Government Regulations

Dealing with government involvement and bureaucracy in Taiwan can be a daunting task, especially during the lengthy business registration process. Language barriers can present challenges for foreign investors when registering a business in Taiwan. To navigate government regulations, consult the official websites of Taiwan’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Republic of China for information on requirements, restrictions, and government services. Additionally, refer to the Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China for specific legal information.

Seeking professional assistance can be highly beneficial in ensuring a successful registration process and navigating the complex regulatory environment in Taiwan. Some benefits of seeking professional assistance include:

  • A thorough comprehension of the local regulations
  • Expert advice when necessary
  • Help navigating the government bureaucracy
  • Securing a strong position in the Taiwanese market

By seeking professional assistance, you can increase your chances of success and avoid potential pitfalls in the registration process.

Adapting to Local Business Practices

Understanding and adapting to Taiwanese business culture is essential for success in this unique market. Some key points to keep in mind include:

  • The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese, so it is important to have some knowledge of the language or have access to translation services.

  • English is commonly used in business settings, but it is not universally spoken. It is helpful to have some proficiency in English as well.

  • Language barriers can be a significant challenge, so it is important to be prepared to communicate effectively in both languages.

By being aware of these cultural and language considerations, you can navigate the Taiwanese business landscape more effectively.

Respecting the hierarchical structures in Taiwan and being mindful of the cultural emphasis on relationships, respect, and face are crucial for fostering positive business relationships with your Taiwanese counterparts. Being receptive to learning local customs and practices, and showing respect for the local culture, can help surmount challenges associated with adapting to Taiwanese business norms.

Establishing a Presence in Major Cities

Successfully entering the Taiwanese market often involves establishing a presence in major cities such as Taipei and Kaohsiung. One option for foreign businesses looking to test the waters in Taiwan is to set up a representative office, which allows companies to have a limited presence prior to making a more permanent commitment. This approach provides the opportunity to gain insight into the local market, cultivate relationships with potential partners, and evaluate the market before making a long-term investment.

Other strategies for establishing a presence in major cities in Taiwan may include setting up a branch office, forming a joint venture, or partnering with a local company. Careful evaluation of your options and crafting a tailored market entry strategy can enhance your probability of success in the competitive Taiwanese market.

Expanding Your Business to Taiwan: Legal and Financial Considerations

Expanding your business to Taiwan involves navigating the complex legal and financial landscape of the country. This part of the guide discusses various facets of conducting business in Taiwan, such as:

  • Registering your business
  • Understanding taxation and financial regulations
  • Protecting your intellectual property.

Registering Your Business

Registering a business in Taiwan involves a series of steps:

  1. Request a Company Name Search and Reservation.

  2. Request Approval for Foreign Investment and submit the Application Form to the relevant authorities.

  3. Obtain the Required Approval Letters.

  4. Prepare the necessary Articles of Incorporation.

  5. Complete the registration with the Taiwan Taxation Bureau.

  6. Maintain a registered/business address in Taiwan.

It is highly recommended to seek professional assistance to ensure a successful registration process, as navigating the complex regulatory environment can be challenging. With expert guidance, you can avoid potential pitfalls and establish your business in Taiwan with confidence.

Hire Employees in Taiwan

Taiwan stands as a dynamic hub for businesses seeking to expand in the Asia-Pacific region. With its strategic location, robust economy, and skilled workforce, the island offers lucrative opportunities for firms to tap into diverse sectors. However, while hiring employees in Taiwan, companies must navigate through the intricacies of local labor laws, cultural nuances, and compliance regulations to ensure a smooth and successful hiring process.

Hire Employees with a Taiwan EOR

To streamline the hiring process in Taiwan, many businesses are now turning to Taiwan Employer of Record (EOR) services. A Taiwan EOR acts as the official employer on behalf of the hiring company, taking care of all legal, HR, and administrative challenges. This allows foreign companies to onboard employees in Taiwan quickly and compliantly, bypassing the need to establish a local entity. Utilizing an EOR not only expedites the hiring timeline but also ensures adherence to local norms and regulations, making it a preferred choice for many expanding firms.

Navigating Taxation and Financial Regulations

Understanding Taiwan’s taxation system and financial regulations is crucial for foreign businesses operating in the country. Companies in Taiwan are subject to a variety of taxes, including corporate income tax, value-added tax, and other taxes. They must also adhere to the regulations of the Financial Supervisory Commission.

To navigate the complex taxation and financial landscape in Taiwan, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the various laws and regulations, as well as to seek professional guidance when needed. Staying informed and adhering to the local regulations helps in risk minimization, paving the way for your business’s long-term success in Taiwan.

Protecting Intellectual Property

Protecting your intellectual property is a key aspect of doing business in Taiwan. Although the country has made significant progress in addressing copyright and other related violations, challenges still remain. To safeguard your business assets, it is essential to have an effective intellectual property protection strategy in place.

Design protection can be achieved through registration as a design patent under the Patent Act in Taiwan. Additionally, the Taiwanese government has implemented legislation and measures such as border controls and online copyright protection to safeguard intellectual property.

Understanding your rights and implementing steps to protect your intellectual property will secure your business assets and contribute to long-term success in the Taiwanese market.

Resources for Success in Taiwan

Taiwan offers a range of resources to promote success for foreign businesses. The environmental technologies sector, government support, and the Taiwan Starter Pack for businesses all contribute to creating a favorable environment for business growth. Planet Depos, a leading provider of deposition and arbitration services in Taiwan, can also connect clients with local experts to assist with translation and cultural understanding.

Utilizing these resources and capitalizing on the available support can help you maneuver through the intricate Taiwanese market and set your business on a path to success. With the right knowledge, network, and strategies in place, the opportunities for growth and expansion in Taiwan are boundless.


In conclusion, doing business in Taiwan presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for foreign businesses. Understanding the local business landscape, culture, etiquette, and legal and financial considerations is crucial for navigating this dynamic market and achieving success. By building strong business connections, respecting hierarchical structures, mastering communication styles, and adapting to local business practices, you can forge long-lasting relationships with your Taiwanese counterparts and grow your business in this thriving market.

As you venture into the world of Taiwanese business, remember that knowledge is power. Equip yourself with the right information, resources, and guidance, and you will be well on your way to unlocking the full potential of this vibrant and diverse market. Embark on this exciting journey with confidence, and watch your business flourish in Taiwan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, foreigners can do business in Taiwan, as long as they receive approval from the Investment Commission before submitting the company registration.

Taiwan has a highly favorable environment for doing business, as evidenced by its 15th rank in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Rankings and a 59.1% growth in FDI from the UK. It is no surprise that many foreign entrepreneurs, investors, and companies find it a lucrative spot to trade.

Google, Microsoft, financial firms, airlines, and energy companies are among the American firms currently doing business in Taiwan.

Doing business in Taiwan provides access to an educated and highly skilled workforce, excellent infrastructure, and free trade zones. Furthermore, the population of 23.6 million people offers companies a large, reliable workforce and great investment opportunities.

Taiwan's business landscape is dominated by technology, manufacturing, and foreign trade, making it a major contributor to global markets.

cropped Travis Kliever 1
Article By
Travis is a global business development advisor. He has spent the last 14 years supporting business establishment and development in North America, Southeast Asia, and throughout the world. With multiple degrees from the University of Oregon, Travis currently splits his time between the US, and Bali, Indonesia. At RemotePad, Travis writes about remote work, hiring internationally and PEO/EOR business models.