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Title: China's embrace of Taiwan : Taiwanese manufacturing and services industries in the Yangtze River and Pearl River Deltas of China
Author: Chiu, Jen-Ping
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2011
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Interaction between Taiwan and China has increased remarkably in recent decades. From being complete enemies in 1949 to the momentum created by the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement in 2010, both countries have come a long way. This thesis focuses on the extent of interaction and cooperation between businesses and Chinese local authorities in the Chinese Yangtze River Delta (YRD) and Pearl River Delta (PRD) and their impact on Taiwanese investment. The Chinese central government has expressly set out its policies of encouragement of specific preferential treatment, and the researcher seeks to answer: to what degree in fact local governments share central government objectives and implement such preferential policies in their areas (including by way of their own policies), and what are the factors governing their decisions. It also explains how the local authorities and local Taiwanese investors (taishang) have interacted. To that end, it analyses an important set of relationships: that between Chinese central and local governments; between the Taiwanese government and Taiwanese business elites; and between Taiwanese investors and Chinese local governments in the YRD and PRD. This study places trans-border interactions in the context of globalization, regionalism and economic integration. China's overriding goal of uniting Taiwan with the PRC has remained constant but the method of achieving this objective has modified, adapting to the global environment, and its vision of a growing economy through its more recent national plans. Emphasis is now on greater economic linkages with Taiwan's economy, thus creating Taiwanese dependence on China's prosperity. Beyond economic reasons it is also hoped that greater connections between Chinese and Taiwanese will strengthen their sense of shared identity, thus making for unification via a "soft landing". This thesis examines the opportunities and constraints that Taiwanese businesses in the YRD and the PRD have in practice encountered, in order to determine whether Chinese local bureaucrats are a help or hindrance in this broader political objective of preferential treatment. It compares Taiwanese businesses with other overseas investors in both secondary and tertiary sectors in the two localities. The research methodology used has included semi-structured elite interviews in China and Taiwan between 2008 and 2010 with relevant decision-makers, namely Taiwanese investors, non-Taiwanese foreign investors, Chinese and Taiwanese government officials. In order to obtain qualitative insights into Chinese local authorities' viewpoints, attitudes and strategy of their approaches to the Taiwanese businesses in China, as well as knowledge of how Taiwanese businesses develop their business activities in China, the main method of data collection in this thesis is therefore in the form of elite interviews. The research concludes that while Taiwanese investors generally do get preferential treatment from Chinese local governments as compared with other investors, there is no general rule which can give them assurance of this. From an examination of several criteria influencing local governments, it seems that much depends on personal relations (guanxi) with Chinese officials, Chinese society being still heavily influenced by traditional attitudes and relationships. Further, the application of laws is still guided by 'rule of man' instead of 'rule of law'. Company location, size and type of industry are other important factors in the application of the preferential policies. Moreover, the incentives that Taiwanese investors have previously received are gradually decreasing, mainly for two reasons. One is the evolution of Chinese central government's plans, aiming to achieve their objectives for economic development of the country, while also making for a wider distribution of wealth and giving greater support to Chinese domestic companies. The other is because of the increased role of local governments, allowing them to set their own initiatives; their response is found to have been to put their localities' interests first and act more independently and pragmatically to changes in their local circumstances. This thesis has made a contribution to the application of methodology by its in-depth analysis and diversity of people interviewed, and to existing literature by exploring the less-developed area of cross-strait political economy studies. However, the qualitative nature of this study and its reliance on a situation which is subject to constant change provide room for further examination by others with different backgrounds or may usefully be looked at again in the light of additional information, such as larger samples of interviews, a different methodology such as quantitative methods, different variables such as Chinese domestic companies, different regions of China, or developments in the countries and regions under study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Investments--China--Yangtze River Delta ; Investments, Taiwanese--China--Yangtze River Delta ; Yangtze River Delta (China)--Economic conditions