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Despite Taiwan's tech-fuelled economic boom, many people on the island struggle to make ends meet.   © Nikkei montage/Source photos by Reuters and Getty Images
Asia Insight

Taiwan's tech boom masks a daily struggle for the masses

Quarter of island's workforce gets by on minimum wage and cheap food

ERIN HALE, Contributing writer | Taiwan

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's tech sector is booming on the back of companies such as chip juggernaut Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., but the headline numbers for the rapidly expanding economy mask a daily struggle for much of the island's workforce.

To survive on Taiwan's minimum wage of 160 New Taiwan dollars ($5.75) an hour, 22-year-old Vivian Liao has found ways to eat for less than NT$200 a day. It takes some careful math, but Liao has two advantages on her side. As a university student, she gets a discount at campus stores, including the 7-Eleven where she works part-time. The other is Taiwan's takeout culture.

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