Taiwanese Culture

Business Culture

Meetings

  • Rather than introduce oneself, there is a tendency in business meetings to be introduced by a third person, typically the host. If you are a guest, wait for this third-party introduction.
  • Typically, meeting schedules are not rigidly structured in Taiwan.
  • Business cards are generally exchanged after the initial introductions. Use both hands to offer and receive business cards, with the typeface facing the recipient. To demonstrate respect, take time to examine a business card before putting it away. It is typically believed that the way one handles another’s business card is indicative of the value placed on the relationship. Avoid writing on someone’s card whilst in their presence.
  • The Taiwanese have a very calm and considerate approach to business. They gently press their ideas forward and patiently wait for others to respond. If they disagree with an idea, they may remain silent as a way to avoid conflict.
  • Sometimes, there is a set agenda. However, it serves primarily as a guideline for the discussion and a springboard for other related ideas.
  • Completing a meeting to a satisfactory standard is considered more important than keeping time. In turn, a meeting may continue until the discussion is completed regardless of whether it extends well past the scheduled end time.


Guanxi

Much of the business culture in Taiwan revolves around relationships and friendships that are fostered and developed over time. ‘Guanxi’ is central to Taiwan’s business culture. These networks expand business opportunities and provide a strong sense of loyalty towards the company. Intertwined with guanxi is the notion of ‘classmate networks’. These networks are developed at school or university and usually carry over into later careers.


Face

Face plays a notable role in business interactions in Taiwan (see Interactions and Interdependence in ‘Core Concepts’). Face may be given through demonstrating respect and it can be lost through causing embarrassment or tarnishing one’s image or reputation. One notable way to denote respect is to allow more senior persons to speak first.


An important thing to note is that one can save their own or someone else’s face. A good course of action is to appropriately identify and accept responsibility for problems that arise. For example, one may say, “perhaps I did not explain myself clearly” or “that kind of thing happens in our country”. As all people and companies have face, it is important to remain level headed, keep promises made and be patient in interactions in order to preserve face.


Australians conducting business with Taiwanese need not be overly concerned about intricacies of face so long as the typical standards of politeness, punctuality and respect are observed in business interactions as they would be in Australia.


Considerations

  • As Taiwanese can be tough negotiators, it is crucial to be well prepared, having a substantive amount of knowledge on topics relevant to the company.
  • Punctuality is expected and Taiwanese value the meeting of deadlines by the set time.
  • Given the high value placed on relationships, sometimes there may be time allocated to non-business discussions.
  • Food plays a large role in the business culture in Taiwan, in part because dinners with business representatives and customers aid in developing networks and giving the local agent face. If alcohol is offered during business interactions, it is customary for individuals to drink only after a toast is made. Raise the glass with the right hand and preferably support it by the left. Common toast phrases are ‘ganbay’ (‘empty your glass’) and ‘sweiyi’ (‘as you please’). It is recommended to engage in small talk prior to discussing business-related topics when in this business environment.
  • On the Corruption Perception Index (2016), Taiwan ranks as 31st out of 176 places, receiving a score of 61 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the region’s public sector is somewhat clean from corruption.
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Taiwan
  • Population
    23,464,787
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Mandarin Chinese (official)
    Taiwanese
    Hakka Dialects
  • Religions
    Buddhism (35.3%)
    Taoist (33.2%)
    Christian (3.9%)
    Taoist or Confucian folk religion (10%)
    None or Unspecified (18.2%)
    [2005 est.]
  • Ethnicities
    Han Chinese [including Hoklo and Hakka] (95%)
    Indigenous (2.0%)
    Note: There are 16 officially recognised indigenous groups - the Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Hla'alua, Kanakaravu, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Sakizaya, Seediq, Thao, Truku, Tsou, and Yami people.
  • Cultural Dimensions
    58
    17
    45
    69
    93
    49
  • Australians with Taiwanese Ancestry
    18,528 [2016 census]
Taiwanese in Australia
  • Population
    46,822
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Taiwan.
  • Average Age
    32
  • Gender
    Male (42.4%)
    Female (57.6%)
  • Religion
    No Religion (38.5%)
    Buddhism (35.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (3.5%)
  • Ancestry
    Chinese (75.9%)
    Taiwanese (23.7%)
    English (1.5%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Mandarin (87.1%)
    English (5.5%)
    Min Nan (3.1%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 75.4% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    Queensland (38.1%)
    New South Wales (30.3%)
    Victoria (19.9%)
    Western Australia (6.0%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (52.8%)
    2001-2006 (19.2%)
    2007-2011 (23.0%)
Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/237/tw.svg Flag Country Taiwan