Wang Ting-wei (left) helps compatriots from Taiwan apply for medical insurance in Fuzhou, Fujian province, in December. (Photo/China Daily)
Wang Ting-wei, from Taiwan, got a new job last month as an assistant to the director of a community designated for Taiwan compatriots in Fuzhou, Fujian province, the first such community on the Chinese mainland.
To help Taiwan residents working on the mainland settle and reduce their living costs, many cities have issued policies that allow compatriots holding a Taiwan residence permit to rent or buy public housing at prices lower than the market rate, to reduce their living costs.
In 2021, Fuzhou planned to offer 1,050 apartments with favorable rents to people from Taiwan, and so far more than 300 Taiwan residents in 206 households have moved into the community.
Qualified Taiwan applicants are able to enjoy a one-stop service that helps them deal with banking, gas and property management at the same time.
Wang was among the first residents to move into the community in January last year. The 43-year-old from Yunlin county of Taiwan came to Fujian, the closest mainland province to the island, around 2017 to seek job opportunities and work in the training industry.
"My neighbors come from different industries. Some have been working in the city for a long time, some have frequently traveled across the Straits, and there are many newcomers. Living together helps us meet new friends," he said.
A single person can apply for a 45-square-meter apartment that costs 900 yuan ($130) per month; if two people apply together, they can have a 55-sq-m apartment for about 1,100 yuan; and three people can have a 65-sq-m one for about 1,300 yuan, according to Wang.
"The price is overwhelmingly favorable for us, as the normal price for renting ranges from 3,000 yuan to 6,000 yuan. Moreover, the apartments are furnished so we can just move in with our belongings," he said.
"Information has spread through word of mouth and a new group of people moved in recently. People are interested in the apartment as it helps those of us from Taiwan have a stable life in a new city so as to focus our energy on our careers," he added.
Wang offered a lot of help to his neighbors when they moved in. When his neighbor is not at home, he picks up their parcels and takes care of their plants. Due to his warmheartedness, he was recommended by his neighbors to be their building manager in June.
To encourage Taiwan residents to participate in community governance, the community employed Wang as an assistant to the director in January.
He has participated in the organization of many festival celebrations and exchange activities with mainland residents.
Wang said there are still many problems to be solved, however, including the schooling of the residents' children and their own employment.
"We are making efforts to solve them one by one to help them feel at home living in the city," he said.
Apart from Fuzhou, many cities including Beijing, Guangzhou in Guangdong province, and Xiamen in Fujian have also offered Taiwan compatriots cheaper housing to rent or buy.
In 2019, Beijing started to implement the allocation plan of affordable rental housing for Taiwan compatriots and about 50 Taiwan residents have utilized it so far. Xiamen has allowed Taiwan compatriots to buy affordable housing since June.
Guangzhou has built public rental housing for young people from Taiwan and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, of which around 100 apartments have been utilized by Taiwan people, according to the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.
Gu Yehuacontributed to this story.