China has established itself as a key option for Taiwanese students looking for internship opportunities with companies during the long summer break, if the popularity of ongoing programs is anything to go by.
A group of 46 Taiwanese students, including university seniors and graduate and post-graduate students, recently arrived in Shanghai for 45-day training programs with Taiwanese enterprises in China.
They are among more than 160 Taiwanese students selected by the Management Institute in Taipei from over 300 applicants from around Taiwan who applied for the annual internship program, which is sponsored by the Taiwanese research organization.
Management Institute chairman Chen Ming-chang said the program, which is now in its sixth year, was initiated to offer Taiwanese students an opportunity to gain better knowledge of China’s market and learn how Taiwanese businesspeople start and operate their businesses there.
The institute, which is financed mostly by Taiwanese companies, also hopes those who join the program would work for the companies at which they interned after their graduation, he said.
Since the training program was launched in 2007, 623 college graduate and post-graduate students from Taiwan have interned at Taiwanese businesses operating in the Chinese provinces of Shenzhen, Dongguan, Xiamen, Tianjin, Wuhan and Shanghai.
The program covers the interns’ transportation expenses and living costs in China.
A spokeswoman for the institute said the number of students selected for internships had been on the rise because of growing interest, until this year. However, the slight drop-off this summer was not because of a lack of interest, but because Taiwanese companies in China are targeting students with greater technical skills, an attribute that fewer applicants possessed, the spokeswoman said.
One of the 46 students who arrived in Shanghai on Monday said that he was participating with the intention of working in China after graduating.
Liang Kai-chie, a senior finance major at National Taiwan University (NTU), said that while most of his classmates looked for internships in Taiwan or countries other than China, he decided to go to Shanghai, an international city that has drawn talent from around the world.
Liang said that during his father’s generation, studying at NTU and seeking additional education in the US was the dream of many Taiwanese students, but currently, “studying at NTU and traveling to the mainland [China] is becoming a more accepted option [for work],” he said.
He also said he believed Taiwan, as a small island, would have trouble preventing talented people from pursuing careers overseas.
“Staying in Taiwan is my last option” when seeking employment, he said.
Another student in the group, Lu Yi-hsiu from Tamkang University, chose to intern in Ningpo in Jiangsu Province.
“The times are changing and people should not ignore a big market like China,” he said.