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Hairstyling industry vexed by cross-strait pact

TAIPEI -- Some 200,000 workers in the hairstyling industry might be negatively affected after Taiwan opens the industry to Chinese firms based on a service trade pact the two sides recently signed, a labor union official said Wednesday.

Lin Cheng-han, chief of the National Federation of Hair and Beauty Business, said he did not know about the opening of the industry to Chinese businesses until he read about it in the newspapers and he added that the local sector will have a tough time ahead if Chinese companies start price wars here.

Among the 300,000-plus workers in the hairstyling business, 200,000 work in individual or family-run stores, while the rest work for large-cap chain stores, he said during a meeting with opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei.

Lin said that those individual and family-run businesses will bear the brunt once the local market is opened to Chinese companies.

“Every Chinese store in the market means one fewer Taiwanese business in the industry,” he said.

Lai Chen-chang, president of the National Taipei College of Business, said local chain hair salons use cash transactions and do not lack capital, while family-owned salons are run on a much smaller scale.

He said the government has no reason to open the sector to Chinese firms because China's hairstyling industry lags behind that of Taiwan and there is no lack of capital in the local industry.

Huang accused the government of rashly opening the industry to Chinese investors and he urged the government not to allow Chinese workers into Taiwan, nor permit them to work in Taiwan under the guise of “leadership training.”

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