Island's young people view mainlanders as challengers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 July, 2009, 12:00am

Most young Taiwanese adults view mainlanders as their main competitors, a wide-ranging survey on cross-strait attitudes has found. And mainlanders agree: they face their stiffest competition at home.

The Taiwanese-based Global View Magazine and two consulting companies surveyed 15,000 mainlanders and Taiwanese aged 20 to 35 online, asking 12 questions about their attitudes towards mainland economic prospects for the next five years, their life goals, their definition of success and their reaction when facing conflict.

Sixty-five per cent of the Taiwanese responded that their main competitors were on the mainland, while the mainlanders said that their main competitors were fellow mainlanders.

Ninety per cent on both sides were also optimistic about the mainland's continued economic growth.

Jennifer Tsai, managing director of OAV Beijing, one of the two consultants, said worldwide focus on the mainland and increased foreign investment there had an effect on the responses to the question of regional competition.

'The Taiwanese said they had lost any past competitive advantages with the mainland they once had,' she said.

Asked what their comparative advantages were, both mainlanders and Taiwanese chose 'being able to endure any and all hardship' as their greatest individual advantage, but that answer by mainland Chinese was 18 percentage points higher than that of the Taiwanese.

Mainland responders had chosen 'ambitious' as their secondary advantage, much higher than the Taiwanese had ranked it, Ms Tsai said. The Taiwanese think of their 'emotional quotient' as a strength, with that percentage three times as high as on the mainland.

'Growing up with different histories and economic and social backgrounds led the groups to two different mindsets,' Ms Tsai said.

'Young people on the mainland are self-confident and seek to be rewarded with high income and fame; the Taiwanese had less self-confidence, their desire for fame and fortune was lower, and they were less aggressive and ambitious towards work.'