In Taiwan, to do business legally, you need a business. However, many people run the risk of being fined by running businesses under the table. You see it at almost every night market in Taiwan; when the cops come, lots of people scatter.
Maybe you want to live in Taiwan but you want to make money in a way other than teaching English. Personally, we know a few foreigners who have done this, and to be honest, we even thought about doing it.
We have a close friend who came to Taiwan to sell a certain fried street food. Taiwan already sells tons of this street food, and they aren’t that special. And when people see them at twice the price of a normal crappy piece of fried street food, no one is going to buy it. These same friends tried to sell stupid clothing at night markets, without success.
Once upon a time, we also wanted to sell pancakes. Then we found out that you need a license to sell them. The police can fine you, and prevent you from coming back to Taiwan. Also, people can get a 20,000 NT reward from the police for turning you in, and you can be fined up to 70,000 NT.
The best we have seen so far is our Taiwanese friend who constantly sells women’s clothing at a night market. She has been fined many times by the police, but it hasn’t affected her profit margins too much.
If you want to sell stuff in Taiwan, we recommend going the legal way. Selling pancakes is not going to help you renew your ARC and stay in Taiwan (Unless you want to fly to Hong Kong every 3 months). From what we have seen, foreigners that illegally sell stuff in Taiwan always end in failure, so do yourself a favor and do things legally.
When starting a business as a foreigner in Taiwan, one will quickly find that there are many barriers and red tape in the way. However, there are a number of foreigners who have found a way to sidestep these problems via Taiwanese spouse. Through our surveys on this subject, we have found that this is the most popular way to start a business for foreign small business owners, especially restaurant owners.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.