During the last few decades, working abroad became a common phenomenon in the daily lives of Taiwanese people. It is estimated that around 850,000 Taiwanese business people, Taiwanese expatriates and their relocated family members are currently residing in China. For a long time, Taiwanese expatriates were seen as privileged migrants in China in terms of high-income earners and for being hired in a higher position in the Taiwanese companies than their Chinese coworkers. Yet this might gradually begin to change as many other Asian countries’ economy continue to rise while the recent economy in Taiwan remains relatively stagnant, pushing many young people to search for overseas jobs.
Empirical research on younger professionals working abroad so far tended to focus on those from less-developed regions moving to well-developed countries. Little attention was given to young professionals from developed countries migrating to less-developed areas. With empirical studies on various cities in China, this paper explores how the ambiguous position of young Taiwanese skilled migrants were shaped under work “transnationalization” and under the emergence of a new regional mobility/migration regime. By doing so, this paper will examine the process of “becoming an expatriate” for young Taiwanese skilled migrants in China. It will then illustrate the privilege status they enjoyed as expatriates in the host society, and it will analyze the changes between the social status of the “new” and “old” Taiwanese expatriates in China during the last two decades. Finally, it will also show the kind of disadvantages young Taiwanese skilled migrants face in terms of family arrangement and career building.
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