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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

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Chinese Execs in Taiwan

Just to vary the discussion some (just so Mr. Shih doesn't hog the stage), I am curious about the political ramifications of almost 400 executives from China arriving in Taipei for Microsoft's Asia-Pacific conference:

It is also the largest gathering of Chinese executives ever to come to Taiwan. The number far exceeds the 30-person limit Taiwan's government had formerly placed on Chinese executives allowed to visit Taiwan.

I'm not sure I have an answer to this, though I'm sure some people see it as politically symbolic. Do you see this as a threat or a promise? Do you think Taiwan's government should be blocking this type of exchange (which is taking place anyway outside Taiwan) or welcome it with open arms?

UPDATE: The China Economic News Service has a detailed account:
According to existing regulation, foreign firms and domestic firms with annual revenue exceeding NT$30 million can invite mainland Chinese residents to visit Taiwan for commercial activities at an annual quota of 30. The MOEA decided to approve Microsoft’s application on a special case basis following formation of consensus for relaxing the quota restriction at the Conference on Sustainable Economic Development.

Joseph Wu, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, admitted that the existing quota restriction is inadequate since seminars or training workshops held by multinationals often involve large numbers of attendees. Wu revealed that MAC is revising the existing regulation and may complete the revised draft by the end of August.

With its fiscal year spanning July every year to the end of next June, Microsoft’s various departments have to start preparing next fiscal year’s business plan from May. Microsoft headquarters held its kick-off business meeting in Florida in early July, attended by ranking managers of the company’s branches throughout the world. The late August meeting in Taipei is part of the program for starting its marketing activities for the new fiscal year and is the first such gathering among Microsoft’s employees in the greater Chinese market.

Presently, Chen Yung-cheng, chief executive officer of Microsoft’s greater China operation, and Huang Tsun-yi, president of Microsoft’s greater China operation, both hail from Taiwan, being frequent travelers across the Taiwan Strait. It’s been an established practice for executives of Microsoft’s Taiwan branch to go China for attending meetings.

(updated by Michael. Tags added)

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5 Comments:

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Seeing how the US has tied any chance of a US-Taiwan FTA to improved X-strait relations (read: direct flights), Taiwan's government may be eager to show its magnanimous side. Of course, I have absolutely no evidence to back this up so I'll fall back on the old "lazy MoFA bureaucrat accidentally OK's visas for hundreds of Chinese businessmen" explanation.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Ha ha! I made the blog's first comment! Nyah nyah nyah!

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger Wulingren said...

I suppose it won't have a big affect on cross-strait or domestic politics beyond a symbolic lifting of restrictions and a step in the direction of direct flights.

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Taiwan Matters said...

It's interesting that this was not very widely reported in the local Anglais media, nor was the decision discussed in the local Chinese media in any big AFAIK, nor have I see it on TV.

Maybe that's progress that it's no big deal that 400 Chinese execs are comin' over.

Michael

 
At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, given how Australia got screwed by its "Free Trade" agreement with the US, I'm not sure exactly that Taiwan would stand to gain anything from one anyway.
Has anyone seen any coherent argument as to what Taiwan might gain from this?
At the moment it seems to me simply another example of the "if you repeat something often enough it becomes self-evident".

 

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