Taiwan - Fact Sheet

Taiwan is a country of 22 million people with a democratic and multi-party system of government. Ethnically, the overwhelming bulk of Taiwan’s population is of ethnic Chinese origin with around 14% of the people claiming a recent “mainland” background. Mandarin Chinese is the official language although “Taiwanese” may become a second official language with the change of government on 20 May 2000.

The United States and Japan are Taiwan’s most important trading partners. The United States is Taiwan’s premier export destination while Japan is the source of much of Taiwan’s industrial raw materials and machinery.
taiwan map
Taiwan’s total trade with North America has shown remarkable consistency in terms of share of total trade - 23.5% in 1996 and 23.7% in 1999. Taiwan’s manufactured exports are increasingly dominated by high technology items, most notably products for the IT industry. Two-way trade with the United States exceeded US$50 billion in 1999; compared to Canada - US$2.9 billion and Mexico - US$1.4 billion.

The United States is also an important source of investment capital for Taiwan’s emerging high-tech industries and increasingly Taiwan’s companies are also investing into the United States.

Taiwan is the

  • Largest producer of desktop PC's monitors, scanners and moterhboards globally;
  • 3rd largest information technology industry center after the United States and Japan;
  • 3rd safest country in the world for investment according to the Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI);
  • 5th largest overseas market for U.S. cars;
  • 5th largest importer of U.S. agricultural goods;
  • 6th largest supplier of car parts;
  • 7th freest economy worldwide (Heritage Foundation)
  • 9th worldwide ranking for management (IMD);
  • 10th global ranking for science and technology (IMD)

Some Basic Facts

Government Title
The Republic of China on Taiwan (Most countries recognize the government of Peoples Republic of China as the sole legal government of China. Consequently all dealings with the Republic of China are unofficial in nature and government offices avoid use of the formal title.

Mandarin Chinese is the official language and hte language of instruction in schools. Taiwanese (closely aligned to the Hokkien dielect is widely spoken and remains the first language of approx. 80% of the population. The local language is especially prevalent in the centre and south of Taiwan but since the advent of the DPP government in 2000 is becoming more widely used at all levels.

Predominantly Buddhist and Taoist with some Christianity. Ther is total freedom of religion in Taiwan.

Capital: Taipei (for both government and business)
Currency: New Taiwan Dollar (NTD)
Time Zone: GMT + 8 hours (no daylight saving)
Fiscal Year: 1 July to 30 June
Key Statistics Area: 13,900 square miles (36,000 km2). Taiwan is smaller in area than the Netherlands
Coastline: 3,219 km
Population (1998): 67,764,033 (Source: 2009 Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators)
Population Density (A): 1,573 per mile2 (607.42 per km2), total land area
Population Density (B): 6,596 per mile2 (2,546.8 per km2), inhabitable land area
Birth Rate: 1.24%
Population Growth Rate: 0.98%
GDP: $263.77 Billion US dollars at current prices - 2009 (Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators)
GDP Growth Rate: Historically, from 1993 until 2011, Thailand's average quarterly GDP Growth was 0.98.
Labor Participation Rate: 58% (1988)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (1988)