Taiwan is near Japan, Korea, and China those rising countries, and it is also easy to travel to ASEAN countries from Taiwan, which makes business trip easier; not to mention, the infrastructure like airports, high speed railway and MRT. Furthermore, the sound legal environment provides excellent protection for entrepreneurs about intellectual property and foreign investment, and strong IT cluster with numerous global leading brands draws a lot of foreigners trying to build their own company in Taiwan.
There are two entrepreneurs from French who wanted to set up a marketing company got a lot of help in the beginning with Taiwan’s entrepreneur visa and eventually successfully began their career in Taiwan with the company Pineapple Website Design.
Julien Ferard and Maxime Lefevre, two young men from France set up their own company Pineapple Web Design two years ago. Julien Ferard has studied in National Taiwan University for one year as an exchange student about 6 years ago, and afterwards, he would like to stay and tried to find a job in Taiwan. After working in a company for 4 years, Ferard decided to open a new company. As for Maxime Lefevre, he took a trip to Taiwan for a month as a backpacker, and also loved the culture here, wanting live here after that. Lefevre got hired in the same company that Ferard did in Taiwan, so that was how they met and then decided to set up a company together.
You might wonder why pineapple, why did they choose pineapple as the brand logo? “It’s because in Taiwanese and in Cantonese it means prosperity coming or prosperity arrives,” Ferard explained. Ferard and Lefevre think the graphics of the pineapple is quite sophisticated, so it’s really easy to make some designs and advertisements with the pineapple, and it’s also easy for clients to remember.
Both of them agree that’s tough for foreigners to set up a business in Taiwan, and the biggest difficulties might be getting the information since most of the information for opening a company is in Chinese, and the English access is really hard to retrieve. “But of course the entrepreneur visa for us is a big opportunity to set up a business in Taiwan, because we don’t need that much capital to start the company, we actually need much lower capital than if we didn’t have it. And there’s still the turnover that we are required to have, it’s much lower than if we had a normal company.”Ferard noted that with the visa, it became easier for a startup to deal with the capital required in the beginning.
Besides finance, with entrepreneur visa, setting up for foreign entrepreneurs in Taiwan becomes much easier. First, there is no need for entrepreneurs to set up a business before applying the visa.What’s more convenient is that with the visa, foreign entrepreneurs get residency for 1 year with unlimited entry, and able to extend visa without leaving Taiwan.
Now, there are about 6 Taiwanese companies delegating Pineapple Web Design to design the English website. Most of them are hotels or restaurants which requires English access to reservations or promotion for tourists from different countries. They are also surprised that some big companies didn’t really manage well the website or there is even nobody in charge of the website work. However, he also mentioned that some hotels are happy to see some people like them come in with some solutions for them, so that they can get out of this cycle with Booking.com and those other platforms. “So I think we got a great welcome with that, with the hotel industry. We are creating solutions for them, and I think that was a great experience.”
Besides those international hotels and restaurants, Pineapple Web. Design is trying to provide cheap website service to make it accessible for small business. Since Facebook is talking about closing business pages, and all those restaurants, all those bars and clubs, their biggest communication channel is Facebook, they will need something else. Furthermore, they are still working on the website that will be called Taiwan Tourism for offering civil service for foreigners that come to Taiwan to do some rafting, some hiking, some restaurants, some Taipei 101 visits, etc.
Julien Ferard and Maxime Lefevre appreciated the convenience staying in Taiwan with the Entrepreneur Visa, and also appreciated the assistance from FutureWard to help them break the obstacle of Taiwanese culture. Furthermore, they find more possibilities of development in the process of communicating with Taiwan’s startups.