China continued to be the No. 1 destination for Taiwanese heading overseas to work in 2018, although the number has dropped to its lowest level since 2008, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said Tuesday (Dec. 17).
Last year, 404,000 Taiwanese were working in China, (including Hong Kong and Macao), accounting for 54.9 percent of all Taiwanese nationals working overseas, the DGBAS said, citing official data.
The number is the lowest since 2008 and marks the fifth consecutive annual drop, said the DGBAS. In 2017, 405,000 Taiwanese were working on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
DGBAS Census Department Deputy Director Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨) attributed the continued drop to the U.S-China trade dispute that broke out in 2018, which compelled many Taiwanese firms based in China to return to Taiwan to avoid punitive U.S. tariffs on goods made in China.
Also, the cost in running a business in China has significantly increased over the past several years due to gradual salary hikes and stricter laws related to environmental protection, Pan added.
Overall, 737,000 Taiwanese were working overseas in 2018, an increase of 1,000 compared with the 2017 figure, according to the DGBAS.
The second-largest destination for Taiwanese working aboard was Southeast Asia (112,000 people, or 15.2 percent), followed by the U.S. (95,000 people, or 12.9 percent).