Airline cabin crew members from Taiwan attend an inauguration ceremony held by Xiamen Airlines on Aug 16. The company, based in Xiamen, Fujian Province, has hired 104 flight attendants from the island this year. (CHEN LIJIE/FOR CHINA DAILY)
City provides many benefits for islanders
The coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province－the nearest mainland city to Taiwan－is taking the lead in offering favorable policies to improve the lives of Taiwan residents who work or run businesses on the mainland.
By the end of last year, 120,000 Taiwan residents, including 2,400 students, were living in Xiamen, and 195 were recognized as high-end talents by the city, according to the local government.
Huang Kai-yun, who ran a music school in Taiwan for about 20 years, decided to move her business to Xiamen after visiting the city in 2016.
"I was attracted by the musical atmosphere and the many families who wanted to give their children a musical education. I also saw the difference in educational methods between the two sides, so I wanted to bring my music school to the mainland," she said.
At the end of 2016, Huang received a one-time subsidy of 80,000 yuan ($11,700) for starting a company in the mainland, along with a monthly subsidy of 6,000 yuan to cover the cost of renting premises.
"Starting a business in an unfamiliar place is not an easy task, but the help I received from the local government confirmed my decision," said Huang, who has now launched a second music school in Xiamen.
Technological talent from Taiwan has also been introduced to help boost scientific research and innovation in the city.
For example, San'an Optoelectronics Co has about 400 employees from Taiwan, with many being high-tech talents in the LED industry who have brought technologies and research experience to the company.
Senior engineer Hsu Chenko joined the company's branch in Wuhu, Anhui province, in 2008, and became the technical director of the headquarters in Xiamen in 2013.
"I was the first person from Taiwan in the company, and I thought it was a good opportunity because the company was growing and the mainland offered various living and working subsidies," the 46-year-old said.
High-end talent from Taiwan employed in Xiamen and recognized by the local government can now receive a work subsidy of 1.2 million yuan, and the policy is more favorable than those offered by authorities on the island or countries overseas, he added.
"I recommend young people from Taiwan who want to work in the mainland to come here as early as possible; they can even attend mainland colleges to adapt earlier," said Hsu, who has introduced many people to the opportunities in Xiamen.
The arrival of people from the island with technical experience to work in the mainland saw Xiamen start a system of professional appraisal which is used to assess salaries and working conditions.
Chang Gung Hospital, a medical brand from Taiwan, opened premises in Xiamen in 2008. Many of the physicians come from the island, and 17 of them have been awarded honorary titles by the mainland authorities to cement their standing in the local community.
Hu Chia-jui, 40, who joined the hospital in 2009 after graduating from the Medical School at Peking University, said the policies make people feel secure so they can concentrate on their careers.
"Doctors from the two sides have their own advantages and can learn from each other. Those from Taiwan usually have a stronger sense of service, which is welcomed in Xiamen," he said.
"There are good opportunities in the mainland and also competition. The mainland's medical development has made a lot of progress and the people work very hard."