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Taiwan dating arbitrage - then vs. now

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Taiwan dating arbitrage - then vs. now

Postby Rock » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:55 pm

A friend on what's app recently asked the following question to me:

If you had to guess why it is that 15 years ago, a larger percentage of girls in Taiwan were single than today?

Before I get to my answer, I will add that this person recently spend a signifiant amount of time in Taiwan, approached many girls, and made quite a few contacts and friends. But, in almost all cases, these contacts did not lead to any romance. Moreover, they tended to die off after a few weeks so even platonic friendships were not maintained.

Here is my answer to him with some additions and editing:

What I write on this is just conjecture (a guess) but it would seem to fit in with a lot of our current beliefs regarding how external changes effect the dating and mating environment.

1. Economics
Taiwan USD PPP GDP per head vs. that in USA (Taiwan / USA / Taiwan's percentage of USA level)
1985: 5,833 / 18,231 / 32%
2000: 21,590 / 36,433 / 59%
2016: 47,811 / 57,220 / 84%

Perceived wealth of a rather average American male in Taiwan before vs. now. Back 15-30 years ago, an English teaching wage seemed quite high by local standards. But it's remained fairly static over time in nominal terms even though local wages have climbed dramatically as per GDP figures above. So that gap has pretty much closed. And the USA as a country used to seem like a rich country relative to Taiwan. Not so anymore. Again, GDP figures above bear this out.

Once upon a time, any type of USA visa was quite coveted by Taiwanese (tourist, student, immigration) and challenging to obtain. Now Taiwanese enjoy visa free travel to USA at tourist level and student visas are a piece of cake. As for Taiwanese immigrants in USA, keep in mind that as of 2014, they enjoyed the second highest household income levels of immigrant groups in USA after Indians. That figure is $85,566 vs. just $60,256 for native born whites.

2. Taiwan crude annual birthrates per 1,000
1961: 38
1970: 27
2000: 14.4
2014: 8.6

If you go back a couple of generations, Taiwan had a fertility rate of over 4 children per woman. But as of last few years, this level has fluctuated around just 1 making it one of the lowest in the world.

Based on a lot of related posts on this forum, there seems to be a significant correlation between fertility rates and dating/mating opportunities in a given country for the HA crowd and even for the local males in those markets.

3. Smartphone, social media penetration, and connectedness with outside world
2000: People just starting to use the Internet for social contact (email) and simple cellphones. Taiwan was a late adopter in Asia of widespread low cost cellphone service.

2016: Virtually all young people have smartphones, chat apps, Facebook, etc. They are fully plugged into the world with no barriers or mystery. This has impacted the exotic and cultural value of western men in Taiwan.

There was a long period in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s (overlapping martial law era) where American pop and fashion culture was considered uber cool in Taiwan. In general, a decent looking American male was considered an icon of that culture which made him appear unique and attractive to so many of the local young women. But today, Taiwan females pretty much see us for what many of us are (lost losers trying to find ourselves in the Orient) and anyway, the USA ain't all that the way it once was. Add to this the economic emergence of China over last 15 years combined with social emergence of S.Korea. NE Asian males are significantly taller, healthier, and more confident in an international setting than they were a decade or two ago. In contrast, today's white males, especially those from Anglo countries are only fatter and more feminized than what used to be the case.

Remember, young people at any point in history are not just product of the current social environment but were also shaped during their formative years by things that happened the previous 1-2 decades and the values and attitudes transmitted to them from their parents who in turn were products of social environment from 20-40 years previously. So to get a handle on why young people might behave they way they do, you can examine not only how things have changed in last 15 years (today vs. 15 years ago) but also how things changed say 15 vs. 30-40 years ago.

Let's examine the premise of your question - that a higher percentage of Taiwan women were single 15 years ago than now. Are we sure about this? Perhaps it's true though maybe not to the degree your dating experience in Taiwan vs. that of your counterpart 15 years ago would suggest. Why? Well 15 or more years ago, some westerners had enough exotic, cool, and economic status to motivate certain girls to dump their local boyfriends for the chance to date them. Other local women would engage in casual relationships with westerners, sometimes pretending to be single even, just to satisfy their curiosity regarding those white skinned big nosed specimens. Not all boyfriends are created equally. A certain percentage of girls have contingent boyfriends or dating partners who they will replace if a guy comes along who moves her emotionally. Other girls will choose to remain single unless a guy she considers qualified comes along. And there are even those who make the choice to remain single and just enjoy male attention from many orbiters and perhaps sex or close friendship from a select few or not so few lol. So a certain percentage on the female side has been eliminated voluntarily. I would argue that the percentage of voluntarily single females to voluntarily single males in Taiwan over time has increased given all the factors already discussed.

Today's Taiwan provides much better environment for women's economic and emotional (validation and attention) needs than Taiwan did as you go back in time 15-30 years. Taiwan used to be a lower middle income country with much more of a third world feel than what it is now. It was a backwater and largely cut-off from the world. Traditional non-communist Chinese culture valued men over women and men in general were more masculine in attitude and outlook than now. Add to that how the general status and sexual market value gap of an average western man over an average local man has been all but eliminated over last two decades and it shouldn't be that surprising that the western dating handicap has been arbitraged away.

Attractive western guys will pretty much be on even playing field with attractive local guys (with exception of niches who won't date foreigners/non-NE Asians and those who only wanna date western guys, 2 groups I believe would be rather small as a percentage of young woman Taiwan population in 2016). The caveat is that Taiwan still has a lot more attractive women than USA on a percentage basis thanks to obesity epidemic in latter so Taiwan, especially Taipei, is a lot more target rich for a qualified western guy.
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Re: Taiwan dating arbitrage - then vs. now

Postby gnosis » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:15 pm

This is an excellent analysis. If you don't mind my asking, in a nutshell, how does the dating market in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 city in China compare with the dating market in Taiwan?
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Re: Taiwan dating arbitrage - then vs. now

Postby Rock » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:17 pm

gnosis wrote:This is an excellent analysis. If you don't mind my asking, in a nutshell, how does the dating market in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 city in China compare with the dating market in Taiwan?


Again, I'm only speculating. I only have months of personal experience in some of those mainland China markets myself and much of it is over 5 years old. But that side of equation can be fleshed out by some of the current/recent on-the-grounders in China including Winston. For now, I'll throw in my impressions:

1. Less accurate to generalize about China as it is Taiwan, even if you limit yourself to Tier 1 China, or Tier 2 China. Dating market in Beijing vs. Shanghai vs. Shenzhen vs. Guangzhou and their respective surrounding areas is probably gonna be significantly different in each case.

2. If you really work hard, I think you can still uncover some good arbitrage opps in many parts of China. There are so many classes, levels, and attitudes even contained within the greater urban area of a Tier 1 or Tier 2 city. So certain segments are laggards. But it isn't gonna be nearly as user friendly, especially if you don't speak and understand decent Mandarin.

Even for someone like myself who has Mandarin language (Taiwan style), I find it much less user friendly than Phils and perhaps even Thailand. If I moved to Shenzhen, I would face a learning curve. Then if I relocated to Guangzhou, another one, then to say Qingdao, a third, and so on. In some ways for some people (especially attractive younger guys and/or non Chinese speakers), Taiwan, especially Taipei, might be easier cus it's very user friendly and transparent. China really takes a lot of work and proactivity for someone who wants to achieve what is possible there.

3. From a historical context, China's young generation never got so enamored with western pop culture the way Taiwan's did. They never lacked the national confidence the way many in Taiwan did for quite sometime (lack of national identity). As in most countries, there is a segment who will not consider dating out of ethnic group or too far away from it (say non-Asian). I believe that group in China on a percentage basis is much larger than it's counterpart in Taiwan, especially since mainland Chinese still look to dating more as a means to marriage and many in the parent's generation of China would not allow or strongly resist the prospect of their daughter marrying a non-Chinese, esp. non NE Asian foreigner.

4. As an English teacher in China, you are both affluent and poor at the same time. It really depends on what your reference group is. It's a country with a lot of haves (very wealthy) and have-nots (virtually penniless). Many of the have-nots there still have it pretty rough. In any case, I do not think there is much prestige to the position even though technically you are a teacher. Chinese by-and-large understand that about any native English teacher can walk into such work with little in the way of talent or qualifications.

5. In Taiwan in the same position, you are pretty much middle class. English teachers who focus and put in the hours can pull in around US$2,000 or even upwards of US$3,000. Virtually all have at least bachelor's degrees from uni recognized by Taiwan's Ministry of Education. Taiwan's divide is more along the lines of who owns property vs. who rents. Those families who have property (and there are a lot of them) are mostly USD millionaires and multi-millionaires. Those who do not may get by on a family income of say US1,500 to 3,500 from salary and/or running small businesses. Young single women fresh out of school often earn from US$600 - 900 at non-professional level and maybe around US$1,500 if their job is a bit higher tier and requires some sort of professional degree or qualification.

6. Overall, I see the comparison of dating markets in Taiwan to China akin to comparing apples and oranges or more accurately like comparing something small, uniform, and transparent to something huge, heterogeneous, and difficult to fathom.
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Re: Taiwan dating arbitrage - then vs. now

Postby chanta76 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:53 am

Basically in nutshell Taiwan became a developed country with high income. What people has to realize is wealthy country is not a great place to go for happier abroad. This includes South Korea, Japan and Singapore. It's superficial and materialistic in those countries. If your young and good looking with high income you got a shot. Your middle age ESL teacher head to the Philippines because it's still poor. China has pockets of area that are still poor and traditional. You don't see too many posters talking about going to Shang-hai . Shanghai is also too superficial. Asia is very vast with different levels of easy access to almost impossible access.
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Re: Taiwan dating arbitrage - then vs. now

Postby gnosis » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:23 am

chanta76 wrote:Basically in nutshell Taiwan became a developed country with high income. What people has to realize is wealthy country is not a great place to go for happier abroad. This includes South Korea, Japan and Singapore. It's superficial and materialistic in those countries. If your young and good looking with high income you got a shot.



I understand what you're saying, but in Korea, young guys can do well without having lots of money. If you're decent looking (being tall helps), young, dress reasonably well, and aren't shy, you can be successful. As I've said elsewhere, when I was there, I didn't know any guys in their twenties or early thirties who couldn't get girlfriends. (Actually, there was one exception, but he had some personal problems/issues.)
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Re: Taiwan dating arbitrage - then vs. now

Postby Rock » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:17 am

One more telling stat I forgot to mention in contrasting China to Taiwan - average age of first marriage for girls is just 23.9 in China vs. 29.7 in Taiwan, almost a 6 year difference!
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Re: Taiwan dating arbitrage - then vs. now

Postby chanta76 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:21 am

gnosis,

Dating is one thing but I think in South Korea it got harder from what I hear. I think for me I got out just on time and the next generation is getting hit. Some of it has to deal with the gender imbalance and some of it has to deal with the rise of superficiality . Income does matter. Now if a guy is good looking he may get away with some but Korean girls will judge you base upon your back ground like what college you go to or what kind of work or what kind of family you have.

In Asia it's still customary for the guy to have money. Korea is no exception. For a Korean guy to get married he has to show that he can buy a house or pay rent.Now this is marriage we are talking about. I think this is part of the reason why there is lower level of marriage and baby making because of the economics of it.

Dating in Korea is not impossible because they have bars set up like booking club (but you need money to pay for bottle service ) or you can try the regular clubs. There is also that blind date thing if you lived in Korea you know what I'm talking about. If your into pua places like Sinchon or hong dae gives you so many girls to approach that it can be a number game and maybe you get lucky BUT saying that I'm comparing my time back in the 90's and early 2000's to recent years. It's like Thailand . Thailand is different today when I visited back in 2000 compared to what I read nowadays. Nothing stays static it's always dynamic and ever so changing.

If your an older expat South Korea will be harder country and this applies to western or kyopos unless you got something really going for you .
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