How to Start a Business in Taiwan
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How to Start a Business in Taiwan

About the Book

Taiwan can be a great place to live and run a business.

I hope this book will be a helpful tool for foreign entrepreneurs. Starting a business is always tough. It certainly is not a good way to just get a visa to stay in Taiwan. You have to have a real business plan with real goals and dreams to make it worth the energy, legal hassle and financial investment.

I have spent almost two years researching this book and collecting some great resources, and have tried to provide step-by-step 'how-to' instructions for anyone starting a business in Taiwan. I have tried to address all the important topics and not only give the facts and rules, but also share some advice and commentary from people who have done it.

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This book is on Goodreads.

Published on LeanPub on 2013 September 16.

Reviews and Testimonials:

⇒ ★★★★★ "This is an excellent book. One can tell that there is much time, effort and research put into it. This book is basically all a foreigner in Taiwan needs to start a business there. In the book there are Taiwanese business laws, Taiwanese legal issues, immigration issues, basic business, to even Taiwanese business culture. There are charts to help one out, web links to further help out, phone numbers and addresses of places that further help with the business. There is even personal business stories from entrepreneurs to help get an idea of what to expect. One aspect of the book I really liked was the chart with all the banks in Taiwan. It has all the banks listed with their ATM codes to help transfer money from one account to another using an ATM machine. For any foreigner in Taiwan that wants to start a business, I highly recommend this book." - Curtis Chang

⇒ "Taiwan is a country of entrepreneurs, and this book is an excellent tool to help foreign entrepreneurs to set up their business in Taiwan." - Adriana Archambault, General Manager, CCIFT - French Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan

⇒ "Taiwan is a great place to do business...economic freedom, the price and quality of manufactured products is reasonable...geographically being near to China and Korea." - Jake Morrison, Cogini

⇒ "I would love to see the foreign entrepreneur community in Taiwan continue to grow, and this book is a great tool to further cultivate that trend." - Revital Golan, Anemone Ventures

⇒ Review by Klaus Bardenhagen (Taiwanreporter): What to Expect from "How to Start a Business in Taiwan"

Ebook Profile: How to Start a Business in Taiwan - on Learn Chinese Business

About the Author

Elias Ek
Elias Ek

Elias Ek is the co-founder and President of business services company Enspyre which B2B Telemarketing and Phone Answering and services.

He is from Sweden but moved to the US in 1994. Since then he has also lived in Japan, and is since 2000 living in Taiwan.

Before starting Enspyre, Elias served as Director of International Marketing for notebook PC maker PaceBlade, marketing for B2B marketplace, and Marketing Manager for Tennessee rehabilitative initiative in corrections (TRICOR).

Elias received a Bachelor in Business Administration in Marketing and a Bachelor of Science in Radio/TV Broadcasting, both from Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee. He has also studied at Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall, Sweden and at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan.


Already as a 15-year-old, Mr. Ek had the idea to start a company. It didn’t work very well since few adults took a teenage boss for real. At the age of 18 he tried to buy a license for a commercial radio station from the Swedish government, but could not raise enough money.

During his years as a student in the US he co-founded several small internet businesses.

When he came to Taiwan, Mr. Ek and his wife first planned to start a coin laundry company but instead started another internet business instead. They sold this business for a profit before starting Enspyre in 2002.

In 2006 Enspyre organized the first ever seminar for foreigners interested in starting their own business in Taiwan. As co-chair of the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei SME Centre for 3 years Elias helped organize workshops and programs to help foreign entrepreneurs. He is currently active with the French Chamber of Commerce.

In 2011 Enspyre worked with Yushan Ventures to bring Startup Weekend to Taiwan and also sponsored Startup Labs.

About the Contributors

Tal Gory
Tal Gory


Erica Chang
Erica Chang


Cynthia Chang
Cynthia Chang


Hyeran Kim
Hyeran Kim


Leigh Tsai
Leigh Tsai


Priscilla Villela
Priscilla Villela


Tiffany Gentle
Tiffany Gentle


Kate Chen
Kate Chen


Benjamin Annius
Benjamin Annius


Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • To Taiwan With a Dog and a Suitcase
    • About Myself And Entrepreneurship
  • 1 Why Start A Business In Taiwan?
    • Hi-tech, Wealthy, Democratic Environment
    • Gateway To China
    • Fantastic Hardware Eco-system In Taiwan
    • Favorable Legal Environment
    • Great Location
    • Quality Workforce
    • Internet Usage
  • 2 The Value Of Foreign Entrepreneurs
    • Taiwanese Entrepreneurs In Other Countries
    • Foreign Entrepreneurs In Taiwan
  • 3 Getting Started
    • A Brief Look At Some Key Points
    • Being Foreign Is Not Enough
    • Other Legalities
    • Six Pieces Of Advice For Startups
  • 4 Cultural Issues
    • Initial Meetings
    • Sensitive Topics
    • Face
    • Giving Face
    • Losing Face
    • Saving Face
    • Punctuality
    • Suppliers
    • Drinking And Selling
    • Paying For A Meal
    • The Language Barrier
  • 5 Finding Employees, Salaries and Wages
    • Websites
    • Bulletin Board System (BBS)
    • Intern Programs
    • AIESEC
    • How Much To Pay and Salary Surveys
    • Minimum Salary for Foreigners
  • 6 Employee Benefits, Gifts And Celebrations
    • Holiday Gifts and Celebrations
    • Chinese New Year
    • Dragon Boat Festival
    • Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival
    • Burning Ghost Money and Praying
    • Late Fees
    • Employee Activity Committee
  • 7 Marketing in Taiwan
    • Chambers Of Commerce
    • Oriented Taipei
    • InterNations
    • Business Networking International
    • Exhibitions & Tradeshows
    • Media
    • Internet Usage
    • Mobile Internet
    • Social Media
    • Online Shopping
    • Telemarketing
    • Sponsoring Events
    • Selling To Foreigners In Taiwan
  • 8 Renting an Office
    • Where to Find an Office to Rent
    • Fraud Protection
    • Cost vs. Size
    • Deposits
    • Payment of Utilities
    • Cost of Rent
  • 9 Buying An Office
    • Costs Of Buying Property
  • 10 Outfitting Your Store or Office
    • Renovating
    • Furniture
  • 11 Setting Up A Website
    • Web Host
    • Registering a .tw Domain Name
    • Design and Language
  • 12 Resources
    • Information for Foreigners
    • The Handy Guide for Foreigners in Taiwan
    • Mobile Phones
    • Internet
    • Land Lines
    • Travel Agencies
    • Translators & Interpreters
    • Printing
  • 13 How To Finance Your Business
    • Bank Loans
    • Credit Cards
    • Business Incubators
    • Investors
    • Taiwan Venture Capital Association
    • Angels and Super Angels
    • Entrepreneur Events
    • Mutual Credit Associations
  • 14 Government Grants and Subsidies
    • SBIR
    • Salary Subsidies
    • Employee Education Support
    • Local City Incentives
  • 15 Money and Invoices
    • Methods of Payment
    • All About Invoices/Fapiao
    • Fapiao = Invoice?
    • Types of Fapiao
    • Fapiao Keeps Us Honest
    • Things About Hand-Written Fapiao You Should Know:
    • What If My Customer Doesn’t Pay?
    • Legal Action
    • Payment Order
    • Arbitration
    • Mediation
    • Going to Court
    • Collecting on a Debt
    • Collecting Debts From Foreign Companies
  • 16 Banking In Taiwan
    • Bank Codes
    • Wire Transfer Branch Codes
    • SWIFT Codes
    • Personal Bank Account
    • Credit Cards
    • Payroll Services
    • Online Banking
    • Checks
  • 17 Legal Issues in Taiwan
    • Civil Procedures Graph
    • Types of Proceedings
    • Court costs
    • Arbitration
    • Recognition Of Mainland China Judgment
  • 18 Lawyers and Legal Assistance
    • Communication
    • Legal Counseling
    • Other Legal Resources
  • 19 Visa, ARC, and Work Permits
    • Duration of Visa
    • Alternatives To Work Permits
    • Alien Permanent Residency Card (APRC)
    • Dependent/Family Residency By Getting Married
  • 20 Employment Laws
    • Labor Standards Act (LSA)
    • Working Hours And Pay
    • Leave
    • Annual Leave
    • Paternity Leave
    • Personal, Parental And Marriage Leave
    • Bereavement Leave
    • Family Care Leave
    • Severance Payment
    • Registration of Work Rules
  • 21 Insurance and Pension
    • Salary And Benefits Summary
    • National Health Insurance
    • NHI-Accredited Medical Services
    • NHI Premium Rate
    • The 2nd Generation National Health Insurance
    • How to apply for NHI for foreign employees
    • Labor Insurance
    • Ordinary Insurance Premium Rate
    • Occupational Accident Insurance
    • How to Pay
    • Employment Insurance (EI)
    • EI Premium Rate
    • Retirement Benefits
    • Labor Insurance Old-Age Benefits
    • Lump-Sum Old-Age Benefit
    • Pension for Foreigners
  • 22 Working With An Accountant
  • 23 Corporate Taxes
    • Fiscal Year
    • Corporate Income Tax
    • Value Added Business Tax
    • Filing of VAT Return
    • Non-Value-Added Business Tax (Non-VAT)
  • 24 Individual Income Tax
    • Non-Resident Status For Tax Purposes
    • Tax-Residents Of Taiwan
    • Filing Income Tax Return
    • Alternative Minimum Tax
  • 25 Intellectual Property: Trademarks
    • Introduction to Trademarks in Taiwan
    • Trademark Filing Fees
    • Trademark Search
    • How long does it take to have my trademark registered?
    • What do you need to prepare?
    • How and Where to Apply?
    • Trademark Offices
    • Trademarks Outside of Taiwan
  • 26 Intellectual Property: Patents
    • How to Apply for a Patent
    • Required Documents
    • Examination Procedures
    • Fees
    • Other Info
    • Using a Lawyer
  • 27 Picking Your Business Entity
    • Corporate and Non-Corporate Business Structures
    • Sole Proprietorship
    • Partnership
    • Branch Office
    • Representative Office
    • Corporations
    • Company Limited by Shares or Limited Company?
    • Responsible person, directors and supervisors
    • Tax Issues
    • Paid-in Capital
  • 28 Business Registration Processes
    • Preparing Documents, Notarizing And Certifying
    • Foreign Documents
    • Your Business Address
    • Pick Your Business Items
    • Decide And Reserve Your Company Name
    • Prepare The Company Seal
    • Open The First Company Bank Account, Remit Capital
    • Picking A Responsible Person
    • Representative Office Registration Procedures
    • Branch Office Registration Procedures
    • Company Registration Procedures
  • 29 Business Exit Strategies
    • Selling Your Business
    • Business Broker
    • Closing A Business
    • Bankruptcy
    • Inheritance – Write A Will
    • IPO - Going Public
  • 30 Interviews With Foreign Entrepreneurs
    • Anthony Ives
    • Jake Morrison
    • Thomas Tol
    • Park Gi Tae
    • Revital Golan
    • Chris Ke-Sihai
  • Appendix One: Bank Codes
  • About Enspyre
    • Business to Business Telemarketing
    • Seminar Invitations
    • Lead Generation
    • Surveys And Market Research
    • Phone Answering Services
    • Study in Sweden
    • Find Business Centers, Co-Workspaces or Virtual Offices
  • About Taiwan Business Consulting
    • Services
    • More info
  • Key Terms in English & Chinese

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