In the Pearl River Delta, the city of Dongguan is known as the “capital” of Taiwanese-invested businesses. A decade ago, Dongguan experienced an exodus of Taiwanese companies that were no longer competitive due to rising labor costs. But those who are still active in Dongguan today are well established in their niches and there to stay.
The Pearl River Delta is merging 11 big cities to create an economic juggernaut that promises to turn the region’s copycat past into a Silicon Valley future. CommonWealth looked into how this colossus is taking shape and what it portends.
From buying Hollywood talent and acquiring movie theater chains around the world to protecting its home market, China is intent on becoming a powerhouse in the global film and video industry and setting the agenda on video content.
Even with open curricula and Internet-based direct broadcasts available in China, a paid subscription knowledge platform has attracted 1.5 million users and garnered NT$1.3 billion in annual revenue. How has it done it?
Live streaming has not provided the payout many anticipated, but a new model has emerged in China that could fill in the gap – paid subscription knowledge sharing platforms. How have they been able to rise to prominence?
China’s startup scene is no longer just about the Internet but also about a trend toward premium products. As China’s growing middle class cares less about a product's price-performance ratio, a new group of service providers has emerged to tap the premium product market.
As it tries to reinvent itself, China is facing several daunting threats that could provoke social turmoil. CommonWealth Magazine went to China to identify those perils and see what Beijing is doing to cope with them.
Taiwanese writer Lu Ping, who served for seven years as director of the Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center, Taiwan's cultural window in Hong Kong, comments on the former British colony’s first female chief executive.
CommonWealth Magazine reporters went out on the Taiwan Strait to tell the story of the mullet trade. What they saw was the encroachment of Chinese fishing boats in Taiwanese waters and the environmental catastrophe those vessels are creating.
A series of reforms by China’s stock exchanges have tempted Taiwanese businesses in China to list IPOs there rather than back in Taiwan, leading many to worry that Taiwan’s stock markets may become marginalized.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration is having a hard time satisfying socie-ty’s expectations. The voices of middle-aged people, residents of remote areas, and those demanding educational reforms must be heard.
The subtle shift in public opinion with 39 years of age as a point of demarcation reflects the reality of divides and frictions developing between the generations on issues large and small. How should Taiwan proceed in the face of this generational divide?
Taiwan’s role in the power struggle between China and the United States means that it must be prepared for difficult times ahead.
Not only is Taiwan unlikely to benefit from trade, the cross-strait stalemate is sure to continue.
While Taiwan’s CEOs are cautiously optimistic about global economic prospects, they are pessimistic about relations with China, and the percentage with "nil intention” to invest is at a four-year high.
Chinese investment is everywhere, but Taiwan's fabless semiconductor sector remains off limits. Some domestic IC design firms would like to see the policy change, but questions abound over whether it could be done without compromising national interests.
Wealthy Chinese investors have been searching the globe for promising ventures involving established brands and advanced technologies in Europe and the United States.Yet while both regions welcome "red capital" to boost their economies, they see different risks attached.
For the first time in Taiwan’s history, the country’s legislature will not be controlled by KMT-led “pan-blue” forces. People will be watching to see if the change in power will unleash reforms and lead to an era of greater efficiency and less partisanship.
Nimble campaign tactics, ambiguous cross-strait discourse, and a strong Taiwanese consciousness are the hallmarks of Tsai Ing-wen’s campaign. The daughter of a successful businessman, she has overseen her party’s rebirth and seeks to renew Taiwan’s socio-political and economic structure.
China’s electronics industry, backed by its government’s deep pockets, is feasting on global companies to build a high-tech supply chain that is overwhelming rivals. Taiwan’s businesses face a bleak future if they don’t face up to the looming menace.
Following a lackluster business year, Taiwan's CEOs are not only pessimistic about the economy and the investment climate next year, but also issued a vote of no confidence in the leadership potential of Taiwan’s three presidential candidates.
Remember the Hogwarts School featured in the Harry Potter fantasy novel and movie series? Beijing University Affiliated Senior High School is the only high school in China to follow an institute and house structure, giving students full autonomy to arrange their own classes and schedules.
His Cloud Gate Dance Theater has performed in China many times, but Lin Hwai-min feels that for Taiwan to thrive culturally and maintain its dignity, it must expand its vision and stay true to what makes it distinctive.
James Hsiao, 23, is the chairman of the KMT Youth League and an ex officio member of the KMT Central Committee. A political science major at Tunghai University, he got involved in student politics in high school. Hsiao believes that the “one China" denotes the Republic of China.
Tseng Po-yu, 24, is the youngest female candidate in Taiwan's upcoming general elections. One of the spokespersons for last year's Sunflower student movement Tseng is running for the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance in New Taipei City. She feels that the Ma-Xi Meeting has put Taiwan at a disadvantage.
Fang-ming Chen, Chair Professor of the Graduate Institute of Taiwanese Literature at National Chengchi University and an important voice for Taiwanese independence, served as director of information for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in early 1990s. In this interview, Chen enumerates why the Ma-Xi meeting in Singapore was far from a victory for Taiwan.
People First Party (PFP) Chairman and presidential candidate James Soong has met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Chinese President Xi Jinping on separate occasions. How does Soong assess the meeting in Singapore between Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou and Xi?
Today, after watching the Ma-Xi meeting on the television, I believe most Taiwanese are as disappointed as I am. President Ma left under the concern that this visit would be shrouded in secrecy. Now he is about to return with even greater controversy.
Yun-han Chu, Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute of Political Science of Academia Sinica, likens the Ma-Xi meeting to a pole vaulter’s pole, which the next president of Taiwan must take up to spring Taiwan towards assuming a strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.
The presidents of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China met for the first time ever in Singapore on Nov. 7. Did it set a valuable precedent for cross-Taiwan Strait relations, or was it merely a blip in the radar that will soon give way to less harmonious times?
Her emergence as the Kuomintang's prospective presidential candidate may have been the product of unusual circumstances, but "Little Hot Pepper" Hung Hsiu-chu is ready to wage a vigorous campaign against heavy favorite Tsai Ing-wen.
This may not be the best of times, but it is the best time for realizing ambitions. In his day, Mao Zedong stressed political fanaticism. Today, the Xi Jinping regime is dedicated to helping people get wealthy. How will it make its mark on history?
The entire world is engaged in a battle for innovation and transformation supremacy. Qu Daokui, one of China's foremost robotics experts, tells CommonWealth how China will go from the world's manufacturer to a manufacturing superpower.
Many unknowns overshadow Chinese President Xi Jinping's vision for the oasis city of Kashgar, near China's westernmost border. Slogans urging people to "maintain stability" are visible everywhere, and visitors have to be prepared for frequent security checks.
It is risky to place all one’s bets on Xinjiang when doing business in the fractious Central Asian region. Yet China maintains a tight grasp on the area due to its rich oil and mineral resources, despite the thorny issue of Xinjiang independence.
China is selling its ambitious development plan as a boon for Asia's infrastructure, but the plan's biggest beneficiary will be Beijing itself as it seeks to redraw Eurasia in its own image. As for Taiwan, it may have no choice but to go along.
When Chinese students were first allowed to study full-time in Taiwan four years ago, critics feared they would snatch resources and jobs from Taiwanese students. Now that the first class of these students is ready to graduate, have those fears played out?
CommonWealth Magazine's latest State of the Nation Survey found ongoing dismay with partisan wrangling at home but decidedly mixed attitudes toward China, even in the wake of social movements portraying Beijing as a villain.
When prominent Chinese American historian and Sinologist Yu Ying-shih was in Taiwan in mid-September to collect the Tang Prize for Sinology, he had a clear message for Taiwan's intellectuals: be advocates for those in need.
Hong Kong became part of China 17 years ago under a "one country, two systems" model. The reunion has brought economic gains but also huge costs, including curbed freedoms. What does this portend for the futures of both Hong Kong and Taiwan?
Seventeen years after the British colony of Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule, there is hardly any love left between the Hong Kong people and their compatriots in the motherland. The territory is moving closer to the breaking point over self-identity.
Once seen as purely "economic animals," the people of Hong Kong have taken to the streets to protest Beijing's restrictive political reforms. CommonWealth Magazine spoke with the leaders of the demonstrations. Here's what they said.
This past June, after honing his skills quietly for over two decades, Lo Tsai-jen took over the operation of the Cheng Shin Tire empire. In the driver's seat steering the group's efforts toward internationalization, he is about to put himself to the test as CEO.
The coasts of Taiwan's islands in the Taiwan Strait are being overwhelmed by garbage floating in from China. The invasion is changing how the islanders see China and costing Taiwanese taxpayers, but Beijing has done little to stem the tide.
Can competitiveness cultivated in China really compete? Apart from a select minority that has managed to expand operations globally, most Taiwanese companies have found their success limited to China alone.
In this exclusive interview, heavyweight DPP policymaker Joseph Wu sets out the opposition party's case for opposing economic entanglement with China, and pursuing a path of international trade beneficial for Taiwan.
In this exclusive interview, the former American diplomatic representative to Taiwan considers the delicate balance of cross-strait affairs,Taiwan's enduring relationship with the United States, and the road to future competitiveness.
How can Taiwan find a solution for cross-strait contacts that guarantees economic benefits, democracy and national security? Here are three steps Taiwan needs to take to rebuild the public's trust in the government.
Taiwan occupies center stage in the ethnic-Chinese music world. How is it coping with the digitization of music, the decline of albums and competition from China, to maintain and fortify its position of strength?
CommonWealth Magazine's latest State of the Nation survey found a breakdown in confidence in Taiwan's government, dismay over the country's rich-poor divide, and a desire to not be so economically dependent on China.
Global trade seems to be picking up, and Taiwan can expect to post more than 3 percent economic growth next year. But before the economic gloom is over, Taiwan still has to pass a number of serious tests.
Only 40 percent of Taiwan's top executives are optimistic about economic prospects in 2014, yet 70 percent are preparing to increase wages. CEOs nearly unanimously favor free trade agreements, but remain bearish on investment.
Having laid the groundwork, China's first private charitable fund is now striving to set the bar of integrity as high as possible, and become the charity organization in China with the greatest momentum.
With over 100 million college-educated citizens and the most overseas students in the world, China's "three-headed" talent cultivation system sharpens skills at every level. Yet it has recently come up against its most formidable adversary…
Reversing a decade-long policy of state dominance of industry, China's private companies are reoccupying center stage. With fierce ambition and aggressive innovation, China's entrepreneurs are about to rewrite the rules of global business.
People from Hong Kong have swarmed to Taiwan in recent years to enjoy its night markets and slower pace of life and to learn from its "happy protests." But an unmistakable disenchantment with Beijing may lie behind this infatuation.
A prominent Chinese social scientist examines the former British colony that has become the PRC's most vexatious frontier, and what this thorny relationship may portend for interactions across the Taiwan Strait.
Hungry for new talent, China's leading telecom equipment maker has set up shop on Taiwan and is poaching some of the island's brightest IC designers. How has it managed this feat, and what does it portend?
China boasts 10 times more resources than Taiwan, and 100 times the limelight. But once a Taiwanese exec has made the move to China, they often find no way back. How can Taiwan retain its native talent?
Now that Taiwanese banks are offering savings accounts in China's currency, deposits have soared overnight, making Taiwan the world's third largest offshore renminbi trading center. What are the risks, and the opportunities?
Taiwan’s OEM model took a hit last year as PC shipments plunged and former high-tech powerhouses struggled. But new tech kings Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are still finding Taiwan irresistible. Why?
In its latest campaign to win the hearts and minds of Taiwan’s farmers and fishermen, China has intensified its politically-motivated procurement of local farm and fisheries products. But do local producers really benefit from selling to China?
The Taiwanese government is opening its arms to investment from China. But will Chinese capital be the savior or the destroyer of the island's economy? Can't Taiwan rely on itself to stand tall in the world economy?
With China’s deteriorating investment climate, Taiwanese companies’ fever for their continental neighbor has cooled. More and more are packing up and coming home. But how can Taiwan attract the cream of the crop?
With operating revenue last year of NT$25.8 billion, Grand Ocean, a relative unknown in Taiwan, has taken the lead from big players like Far Eastern and Sogo in setting up a department store empire in China.
Bo Xilai and his "Chongqing Model" have fallen from grace. Bo's rival, Wang Yang, and his "Guangdong Model" are attracting increasing attention. What do the fall of Bo and the rise of Wang portend for the future of China?
Over the past two or three months, China has quietly adopted some seemingly contradictory policy measures "a soft landing amidst shaky conditions" and a smooth transition as the reins of leadership change hands.
A rising number of Taiwanese university students are visiting China for summer internship and exchange programs, sounding out career prospects, and discovering themselves in the process. But what's in it for China?
Chinese students have long headed West to get a better education. But now the reverse is happening, with western students heading to Chinese boarding schools to get a head start in a growingly competitive world.
In this year's Greater China top 1,000, sales were up, but many mainstays failed to make the cut, as a titanic struggle of business philosophies unfolded. Which companies emerged as the biggest winners?
The good life in Taipei is luring a new crop of wealthy Chinese nationals. As an upsurge of developers and brokers caters to this new demand for luxury housing in Greater Taipei, how will the rules of the property game change?
Taiwan's machinery industry has become a target for Chinese firms to study and poach personnel. Next year, the arrival of the "big players" will signal a new era of both cooperation and intense competition in the cross-strait machinery industry.
With massive quantities of Taiwanese agriculture and fish being exported to China, domestic food prices are on the rise. As of now, China decides the cost of dinner in Taiwan. In the age of ECFA, is Taiwan trading exports for inflation?
China Life is about to become the first Taiwanese insurance company to crack the China market through an equity participation arrangement with no management rights. On what calculus is China Life chairman Alan Wang relying?
In as little as a decade, China will eclipse the U.S. as the world's biggest economy. As America shares its superpower status with China, their often contradictory rivalry is becoming a decisive factor in the fate of Taiwan, and the world.
Taiwan's media is riddled with ads from the government of China, masquerading as news. Pan-blue or pro-green, Taiwanese news outlets are increasingly being painted red. Is the island's independent perspective for sale too?
In an exclusive interview, Huang Qifan, mayor of the inland metropolis of Chongqing, lays out his vision of a development model custom-made for his city, different from the one in play along China's coast.
Once regarded as a desolate wasteland, western China is now thriving, with companies from around the world eager to get a piece of the action. What are they doing to capitalize on this new "Journey to the West"?
Over the past decade this city deep in China's interior has been changing its own destiny. Can Chongqing realize its ambitions of opening up to the outside world and bring real development to China's wild west?
As Taiwanese manufacturers seek out new bases in China's interior, Zhengzhou is becoming a surprise favorite. A major transportation hub for central China, Zhengzhou is now attracting the likes of Foxconn and Synnex.
In this exclusive interview, Jonathan Watts, environment correspondent at the British newspaper The Guardian and author of the book When a Billion Chinese Jump, talks about the enormous challenges China faces in going green.
Like its many historical landmarks, the ancient city of Yangzhou experienced a century of decline. Yet the city has chosen a path of development that reconciles the traditional and modern, economics and the environment.
The people of Kunming both adore and abhor their municipal party secretary Qiu He. Governing with an iron fist, he has pushed the city onto the fast track of competitiveness, hoping to transform it from backwater to strategic hub.
For a decade, China has been absorbing Taiwan's venture capital, to the tune of US$45 billion. Scarfing up the cash of China's 600 million-strong middle class is the great opportunity, and the great challenge, for Taiwanese businesspeople.
Workers leaping off buildings, murderous rampages in kindergartens, desperate residents setting themselves on fire... as the shocking events fill the headlines, China must confront the widening gap between its haves and its have-nots.
China hopes to evolve from the world's factory to a major consumer nation. But measures to stimulate domestic consumption are causing severe social inequality. How can China reform its imbalanced urbanization policy?
Despite a late start, Taiwan's leading retailer is already a respectable challenger in Shanghai. Now it plans to enter the fray in China's first- and second-tier markets, offering consumers the alternative experience of Taiwanese-style service.
Last year, Master Kong, the biggest instant noodle brand in China, for the first time generated more revenues from beverages than noodles. Now it hopes to claim top spot in the Chinese soft drink market.
Racing champion, novelist, blogger and all-round fly in the ointment of Chinese officialdom, Han Han argues that the future of Shanghai lies, not in its World Expo, but in greater freedom of expression.
Alibaba, the world's largest e-commerce company, has vowed to start a revolution in Internet standards, cracking down on the rampant selling of fake products, so that Chinese consumers can shop online with peace of mind.
Stirring speeches, surprising sartorial choices, and a bottomless reserve of panache – the personal charisma of Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma is part of what makes his e-commerce company one of China's rising stars.
Underlying China's current economic might are a number of possible crises that could erupt simultaneously and cause its vaunted prosperity to vanish. Two top economists weigh in on the China of tomorrow.
In preparation for the selection of China's fifth-generation leadership, set to take place two years from now, a reshuffling of positions, from the provincial level up to the central government, is already underway.
On U.S. president Barack Obama's recent trip to China, the two countries agreed to joint initiatives on green energy. The main broker, who hails from Taiwan, is a major proponent of international cooperation to meet the challenge of climate change.
Taiwan once saw the world as the United States, but now all it sees is China, and forging a cross-strait economic agreement is the entirety of its current trade policy. Could Taiwan become another Hong Kong?
From the faculty to the student body, from research to academics, China's universities are shelling out big bucks on a range of "out-of-the-ordinary" reforms. Is Taiwan prepared for this all-out global battle for academic talent and brand prestige?
Two prestigious engineering universities with the same name, one in Taiwan and one in China, are embarking on an ambitious joint project that may place Taiwanese technology at the center of international R&D.
Chinese diplomas are not yet recognized in Taiwan, but that hasn't stopped Chinese schools from aggressively recruiting Taiwan's best students. What are the challenges posed by cross-strait education links?
China's influence is growing pervasive, and more than 70 percent of Taiwanese people are worried that further exchanges will compromise Taiwan's sovereignty. What is the source of this fear, and how should it be confronted?
The United States' global positioning system (GPS) is a demonstration of its vast national power. Now China wants in on the act too, relentlessly pursuing its own Beidou project. What changes will this new grand struggle in space bring?
Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the communists' banks are about to set foot in Taiwan. Far larger than their Taiwanese counterparts and reflecting China's national will, these new entrants in Taiwan's financial sector are potentially tenacious foes.
In an exclusive interview with CommonWealth Magazine, Cheng Siwei, former vice chairman of the PRC National People's Congress Standing Committee, shares his views on the challenges and opportunities of a rising China.
With the global economic slump, the often upbeat expectations of Taiwan's top execs have toned down considerably. While they believe increased economic ties with China will help their companies, they also are aware of the potential pitfalls.
The renminbi has infiltrated Southeast Asia, is increasingly accepted internationally, and may one day directly challenge the U.S. dollar. What opportunities and challenges will this bring for Taiwan and the world?
Taiwan's citizens are less confident in the future than at any time in the past 12 years, uncertain that their government's NT$500 billion stimulus package will generate jobs and unclear over where closer ties with China will lead.
In the space of a decade, Ningbo has taken Kaohsiung's place in the world's top ten container ports. How might Kaohsiung use the opening of direct transport links with China to regain its former glory?
Risking razor-thin profit margins, "bandit"electronics makers are diversifying and innovating. What business opportunities will Taiwanese manufacturers with a daring "bandit spirit"dig up next in China?
Once China's leading maker of "bandit cell phones"– low-end copies with extra features tailored for local tastes – Tianyu is overturning its uncool, low-quality image and staking a claim in the branded handset market.
Xiamen's fate has been closely tied to Taiwan in recent history and now, at the heart of a new economic zone selling its Taiwan connection, the city is trying to come to grips with its role as the face of China's Taiwan policy.
Lying just off the coast of Fujian Province, little Kinmen Island has been at the front line of opening links between China and Taiwan, but closer contacts also highlight residents' contradictory feelings regarding national identity.
Pummeled by the global economic storm, many "rootless" Taiwanese companies registered overseas are coming back to the island. And some, having sought shelter and hoarded supplies, were ready for the onslaught before its arrival.