Should I work in Shanghai or Taipei?
Ervis Micukaj, lives in Shanghai (2013-present)
I am biased, because I am working / living here. Since 2013.
Why would I support Shanghai? So many reasons, but let me quote myself on some benefits and costs of living in Shanghai
Before coming to Mainland China, I wanted to get to Asia and always considered Tokyo as my first choice (had little clue about China). Due to serendipitous circumstances, I ended up in Shanghai and so far I am quite excited and happy about my choice. Below some of the advantages of Shanghai:
1.Shanghai is a fantastic place: making a list of the activities you can do is too long to even start.
2.Shanghai is the economic centers of China
3.Shanghai has plenty of international companies located in the city
4.Shanghai has a thriving international environment
5.Shanghai has people working out every single morning
1.People working out (or dancing) in the evenings too
1.You can like it and see it as a cultural shock, or it can annoy you when the old ladies (95%) occupy the whole square for their dances
6.Shanghai is ridiculous in terms of buying apartments and rental costs (Taipei is way way much cheaper)
7.Shanghai is massive
1.officially 24 mln people, practically around 30 mln people
2.official numbers change according to the needs
8.Shanghai and Taipei are safe and secure: in Shanghai I can go around at every time and I feel safer than most of the European countries I have visited
9.Shanghai has a fantastic transportation system
10.Shanghai is very organized and efficient
11.Shanghai is top notch in terms of economic growth / opportunities / chances
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46965.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
8.上海和台北的治安都不错: 在上海，任何时候我都可以去四处逛逛，我觉得比我去过的大多数欧洲国家，治安都 更好
Some things you may not like or literally love about Shanghai:
1.You need to speak the local language if you want to succeed
2.Ayi: get someone to clean / wash / dry / do you chores for 30 RMB per hour. With an ayi, you can focus on your job / friends / study / extra activities and the person will do all the chores for you.
3.Company HQs: international companies mostly choose Shanghai for China, not so much Taipei
4.Prices: Shanghai can be ridiculous in terms of prices (think Bitcoin prices and change the word with Shanghai apartments=same!), but it can get ridiculous cheap if you want.
1.Taipei: so much cheaper.
5.Youth: in Shanghai there is such a variety of young people from all over the world and it is so easy to meet people from everywhere.
6.Side gigs: most of my friends have a 40hrs job (plus OT), but have plenty of side gigs to grow professionally.
7.Pollution: Shanghai is terrible compared to Taipei. Nothing else to say here, unfortunately.
Dmitry Kvasov, lives in Shanghai
My personal choice is Shanghai, but here are some points to consider.
Shanghai (together with the rest of China, except Hong Kong and Macao) uses simplified characters, Taipei - traditional ones. It is not impossible to switch between them two, but still requires an effort. If language practice plays important role in your decision, you should consider this aspect.
Stuff to do (bars, museums, exhibitions etc)
Shanghai is definitely more rich in this respect. There are hundreds of things going on - from rock concerts and modern art exhibitions, to expensive shops and fancy coffee places. If you want to live in one of the most dynamic cities in the world - Shanghai is your choice. I am not saying Taipei has none - it does, but less than Shanghai.
Taipei people are way much nicer. I visited Taipei for a business trip after living in Shanghai for a while. It was quite a contrast - everyone is so polite and helpful, no pushing, no spitting, no cutting in line. Just wow.
In Shanghai - well, you'll get used to anything, right? Now I almost completely tune out those vibrant spitting noises that gave me shivers when I just arrived. And no longer I expect people to let me come out of an elevator before rushing in - who knows, maybe they ARE in a bigger hurry than I am.
Taipei is hotter. Summer Shanghai is also not quite unlike a frying pan, but it has more prominent seasons.
Peter Chuang, lived in Taipei
If you have a good job with decent pay lined up, definitely Taipei. Second to none in terms of lifestyle and friendliness. there's a quirkiness and artiness that is unique to Taiwan. If you don't have a decent job, don't bother, local pay in Taiwan is terrible, and you will find yourself struggling to make ends meet like most Taiwanese.
No one I know in Shanghai actually likes living there. Everyone is there for the money and business/career opportunities, which are second to none. People get burnt out eventually. Shanghai ppl are cut throat, and the lifestyle is grueling.
Yu-Hsing Chen, lives in Taiwan
Depending on the situation obviously, the the general answer is probably Shanghai assuming you have some career ambitions.
Taipei isn’t nearly as international or big, while the average living standard in Taiwan is a bit better ( especially if your not filthy rich. ) it’s not really a worthwhile trade off in the longer term.
If your working internationally I assume you have some career ambitions, then Shanghai is really the place to be.
Voronin Ivan, lives in Shanghai
Depends on what job you are looking for and your level of Mandarin fluency. If you are fluent in Mandarin (and I mean truly fluent), you will be competitive in Taiwan, but it is not a rapidly expanding economy. It's stable, the standard of living is relatively high, the food and culture is great, but it is less dynamic and exciting economically than Shanghai. If you want to develop career, Shanghai is still probably your best bet.
Gus Martin, AI Programmer at Capcom (2017-present)
What is your job? What are your qualifications? How experienced are you?
Now that you know those things, which of the two cities have a stronger presence of your desired industry?
Go to that one.
There may be better career prospects in Shanghai, and if your Chinese is good it’s probably the better option.
I would say it’s more down to personal preference than anything - would you prefer a more ambitious career path, or a more comfortable and familiar place to be?
Quora User, lived in Taipei
Taipei is notorious for its relatively low salary level. To be fair some people may think it is still acceptable, given the relatively lower cost of living. I cannot comment too much based on own experience but from living here and hearing things from others, salary level is what you should compare between the two cities. Especially i believe across different industries salary level difference between two cities will vary too.
However needless to say, Taiwan people should be more friendly and hospitable compared to those in China. Food is great. Safety level is also great.
Keep in mind Taiwan use traditional Chinese instead of simplified one. Need to take that into consideration as well.
I lean towards Shanghai though it’s not a clear winner as Taipei has some advantages.
Taipei pros: Mostly friendly and polite people (not in a fake way)
Taipei cons: stagnant economy (doesn’t feel like it’s booming at all), low wages/salaries for east Asia, doesn’t feel nearly as much of a hot spot that people from all over are flocking to, fewer people also means fewer opportunities for friends and dating, hot and humid for too long (Shanghai gets hot and humid as well but not for as long) and doesn’t really have 4 seasons, too much heavy rain/typhoons, despite having less air pollution a lot of the city looks gross honestly (buildings caked in black/brown/yellow), not a lot of remarkable architecture (most is pretty utilitarian and ugly), not much space to walk since many sidewalks are blocked with parked scooters and other things, if you learn Chinese (Mandarin) there, you’ll be learning the more difficult characters that only Taiwanese use rather than the simplified ones used in China and knowing the difficult ones won’t mean you’ll know the simplified ones by just looking at them.
台北的缺点: 经济停滞, 工资低，并未吸引世界各地的人蜂拥而来，湿热持续太久(上海也炎热潮湿，但持续的时间没那么长)和四季不分明，太多暴雨和台风，没有太多的非凡建筑(大多数非常实用，但外观丑陋), 没有足够的行走空间，很多人行道停放摩托车。如果你学习中文(普通话), 你将会学到台湾人才会使用的繁体字，而不是中国大陆使用的简体字。认识繁体字并不意味着你一眼就能看懂对应的简体字。
Shanghai pros: the city feels like it is booming and is the place to be right now in east Asia (though other cities in China may be growing more rapidly at this point), city feels a lot more spacious (it’s dense but doesn’t feel as dense as Taipei), wide variety of influence in the modern architecture (not just the tall ones, many newer residential buildings look classic European and North American influenced rather than “commie block” or utilitarian)
上海的优点: 这座城市发展迅速，人口密度大, 各种现代建筑
Shanghai cons: people are less friendly overall compared to Taiwanese (some seem outright rude with no manners or empathy), some people are really gross spitting a lot, making gross sounds, letting their kids urinate/defecate in public places, more expensive than Taipei and cost is still going up