By Joe Hung
The China Post
November 18, 2007
When Chiang Kai-shek came to Taiwan to rule at the end of 1949, the island was still a traditional, pre-modern agricultural society, albeit there were rudimentary cement, aluminum, chemical, oil-refining, metal and shipbuilding industries.
The Japanese laid the foundation for Taiwan’s industrialization during the last three decades of their rule. Changes came with the removal of the Chiang government from Nanking or Nanjing to Taipei.
At least one million civilians came to Taiwan from China in 1949 and 1950. These “mainlanders” were teachers, factory owners, engineers, technicians, merchants, bankers, scholars and professionals. They filled the demand for managerial skills needed for industrialization, which Japan had purposely left on the island under its “agricultural Taiwan” policy. Many of them were entrepreneurs who also provided the “seed money” for Taiwan’s initial import-substitution manufacturing industry.