Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Inflation vs. Salary in Taiwan for the Past Few Years

Recently on the Taiwanese news everyone is blaming current president Ma for prices of goods and services to be increasing too fast. When he was elected for the 2nd term, he promised an economic stability and better living quality for Taiwanese people. So far, all I can say these promises were false, probably spoken as a election talks to get enough votes to secure his position for another couple years. Since president here can only be elected twice, now the fruits can be observed.

How bad does it get? Bad, to the point many voters want to vote for President Ma to step down. Will this happen? Hard to say, but in my opinion, no - it is really too difficult to push it, and while most poorer folks are loosing due to price hikes, some do profit.

What is my take on this? Well, this is the way I see it:
- Gas prices went up by 10-15%. That's about extra NT1000 for me a month spending
- Coffee in 7/11 went up by 10% from NT50 to NT55. What I do? I don't drink it anymore.
- Coke in 7/11 went up from NT25 to NT29
- My favorite fry rice from NT70 to NT80.
- It get worse, 5 years ago I could buy 10 dumplings for NT35, today? NT50-80!

I go to supermarket, like Carrefour, or market, vegetables, fruits, meat all went up (mainly due to prices of gasoline.) On average, everything cost much more than just few months ago.

House market? Tripled in last 3 years. That means higher rent to pay or higher mortgage if you buying a house.

Now, what about the salary? Usually when the price go up, salary slowly increases as well. Unfortunately, for locals, the salary stays the same. What about foreigners? Suppose you are an English teacher - 5 years ago without experience you could make about NT600 per hour. Today? Same or less.

If couple years ago you were making here NT50,000 to NT70,000 a month as English teacher, that would be considered a lot. Today? Try to stay home, cook, have some entertainment - maybe you will save up enough for tickets back home. Compared to locals, who usually make NT25,000-NT35,000 after graduation, it is a lot, but considering they are staying with their family, so no need to worry about food and all the bills, it is really hard to save now.


  1. Hi, When I was on the web looking for info on using Kindle outside the US, it brought me here.
    I'm Taiwanese but have been living overseas for too long, so I guess I have got a lot to catch up about my country from your blog :)
    Pls keep updating, thanks.
    PS.I like the article about having pets in Taiwan.

  2. Hi Ciao,
    Thank you. Due to being very busy and working on some larger projects, I have limited time for this blog. However, I will make sure there are some quality posts on 2weeks to monthly basis. New post will be coming today.

    I have tons of ideas on what to write on, just lack of time. Any guest writers? :)

  3. Hi Mac,

    Having read your post I have just checked official figures:
    - average wage risen in 2010: 5.3 % and 2011: 4.3 % (whereas in the years before average wages have fallen)
    - inflation (consumer price index) 2010: 0.96 %, 2011: 1.42 %, 12 months in June 2012: 1.77 %.

    So, official figures do not fit to your/public perception (of course specific professions' salaries might not follow the average wage increase). Also, unemployment rate is steadily goning down in the last four years and the number of employed people is steadily increasing. The figures seem to direct right into the other direction. Strange.

    Thank your for your blog, finding your posts really interesting.

    Kind reagards


  4. Hello Martin,
    Thanks for the info.
    Yes, from the data it looks really good, but as you notice: those are average wages, while inflation also aggregate.

    For common folks, things are a bit different. Just visit your favorite restaurant and compare prices now and just 2-3 years ago, cost of basic needs like milk, bread, sugar, gas raised quite a lot in the recent years while the cost of electronics actually decreased.

    So what do we see here is that:
    Basic needs are increasing a lot
    Luxury items are actually decreasing in cost
    Totaling, inflation on paper look low.

    For average salaries, again usually executives gets higher pay, while common folks are left behind. They do get some increase in salary, but it is not the numbers you see above. Most popular job for foreigners in Taiwan is teaching English: 5 years ago basic pay for no experience was NT600 per hour, now should be about NT730 per hour, but it is not - numbers stay the same.

    Also, college graduates, their salary actually getting lower for the past few years, so again, averages do not tell the whole picture.

    Like I wrote earlier, things are getting tougher here, but it is still a very good place to come, live, and save up. :)

    Martin thanks for your comment, really appreciate it. It makes me feel excited to see that my blog is followed by some :). Puts me in the phase to wanting write more.

  5. i dont know man, i think its not that bad

    i mean all over the world things always go up

    life is good,

    i can buy 10 dumpling for 45nt here in taoyuan from so that is still way cheap for me

    salary in tw is high, at least for me so i am not complaining :-) but of course i always enjoy getting a better deal and lower prices.

    keep up the good job with ur blogs, and keep ur head up man, LIFE IS SO GOOD

  6. Came across you blog and truly loved it! Gave me some ideas of how life's going to be in Taiwan.

    Anyway, I'm Malaysian who's been abroad in Australia for 4 years. Got myself a Taiwanese boyfriend while pursuing my Bachelor's degree in Melbourne.

    I might be going over to Taiwan to get a job soon :( Felt a bit lost actually~ Cuz I can't read Mandarin Chinese. Wonder how you coped?

    1. Kath,
      Learning Chinese is not that difficult. By memorizing just 300 most common used words, you will understand approximately 65% of spoken Chinese. 10 words a day gives you 1 month!

      I recommend you check Tim Ferris Blog - you can search for him in Google.

      Chinese is quite easy. Writing Chinese characters takes time, but simple conversation mix with some English will get you rolling in no time!

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