Taiwan, See : Flags, Maps


Formosa, de eerste kolonie van Japan, Reginald Kann

Taiwan (East & Southeast Asia)

Introduction ::Taiwan


In 1895, military defeat forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan. Taiwan reverted to Chinese control after World War II. Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China. Over the next five decades, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure. In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist to the Democratic Progressive Party. Throughout this period, the island prospered and became one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The dominant political issues continue to be the relationship between Taiwan and China - specifically the question of Taiwan's eventual status - as well as domestic political and economic reform.

Geography ::Taiwan

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Eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China

Geographic coordinates:
23 30 N, 121 00 E

Map references:

Southeast Asia


total: 35,980 sq km country comparison to the world: 138 land: 32,260 sq km

water: 3,720 sq km

note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined

Land boundaries:

0 km

taiwan postcard


1,566.3 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year


eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: South China Sea 0 m

highest point: Yu Shan 3,952 m

Natural resources:

small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos

Land use:

arable land: 24%

permanent crops: 1%

other: 75% (2001)


Irrigated land:

Total renewable water resources:

67 cu km (2000)

Natural hazards:

earthquakes; typhoons

volcanism: Kueishantao Island (elev. 401 m, 1,316 ft), east of Taiwan, is its only historically active volcano, although it has not erupted in centuries

Environment - current issues:

air pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal

Environment - international agreements:

party to: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status

Geography - note:

strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait

People ::Taiwan


23,024,956 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 49

Age structure:

0-14 years: 16.7% (male 1,996,905/female 1,844,611)

15-64 years: 72.6% (male 8,416,300/female 8,267,675)

65 years and over: 10.7% (male 1,183,382/female 1,265,474) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 37 years

male: 36.4 years

female: 37.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.213% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 183

Birth rate:

8.97 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 211

Death rate:

6.87 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 143

Net migration rate:

0.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 70

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.086 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female

total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 5.26 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 184 male: 5.53 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 78.15 years country comparison to the world: 50 male: 75.34 years

female: 81.2 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.15 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 221

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: Taiwan (singular and plural)

note: example - he or she is from Taiwan; they are from Taiwan

adjective: Taiwan

Ethnic groups:

Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, indigenous 2%


mixture of Buddhist and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%


Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.1%

male: NA

female: NA (2003)

Education expenditures:

Government ::Taiwan

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Taiwan

local long form: none

local short form: Taiwan

former: Formosa

Government type:

multiparty democracy


name: Taipei

geographic coordinates: 25 03 N, 121 30 E

time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

includes main island of Taiwan plus smaller islands nearby and off coast of China's Fujian Province; Taiwan is divided into 18 counties (hsien, singular and plural), 5 municipalities (shih, singular and plural), and 2 special municipalities (chih-hsia-shih, singular and plural)

note: Taiwan uses a variety of romanization systems; while a modified Wade-Giles system still dominates, the city of Taipei has adopted a Pinyin romanization for street and place names within its boundaries; other local authorities use different romanization systems; names for administrative divisions that follow are taken from the Taiwan Yearbook 2007 published by the Government Information Office in Taipei.

counties: Changhua, Chiayi (county), Hsinchu (county), Hualien,
Kaohsiung (county), Kinmen, Lienchiang, Miaoli, Nantou, Penghu,
Pingtung, Taichung (county), Tainan (county), Taipei (county),
Taitung, Taoyuan, Yilan, and Yunlin

municipalities: Chiayi (city), Hsinchu (city), Keelung, Taichung (city), Tainan (city)

special municipalities: Kaohsiung (city), Taipei (city)

National holiday:

Republic Day (Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution), 10 October (1911)


adopted on 25 December 1946; promulgated on 1 January 1947; effective 25 December 1947; amended numerous times

Legal system:

based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


20 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President MA Ying-jeou (since 20 May 2008); Vice President Vincent SIEW (since 20 May 2008)

head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) WU Den-yih (since 10 September 2009); Vice Premier (Vice President of Executive Yuan) Sean CHEN (since 17 May 2010)

cabinet: Executive Yuan - (ministers appointed by president on recommendation of premier) (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2012); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier

election results: MA Ying-jeou elected president; percent of vote - MA Ying-jeou 58.45%, Frank HSIEH 41.55%

Legislative branch:

unicameral Legislative Yuan (113 seats - 73 district members elected by popular vote, 34 at-large members elected on basis of proportion of islandwide votes received by participating political parties, 6 elected by popular vote among aboriginal populations; members to serve four-year terms); parties must receive 5% of vote to qualify for at-large seats

elections: Legislative Yuan - last held on 12 January 2008 (next to be held in December 2011 or January 2012)

election results: Legislative Yuan - percent of vote by party - KMT 53.5%, DPP 38.2%, NPSU 2.4%, PFP 0.3%, others 1.6%, independents 4%; seats by party - KMT 81, DPP 27, NPSU 3, PFP 1, independent 1; note - following the 2008 elections, several rounds of byelections were held to fill seats vacated as a result of corruption changes; seats by party as of December 2010 - KMT 74, DPP 33, NPSU 3, independent 2, vacant 1

Judicial branch:

Judicial Yuan (justices appointed by the president with consent of the Legislative Yuan)

Political parties and leaders:

Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [TSAI Ing-wen]; Kuomintang or
KMT (Nationalist Party) [MA Ying-jeou]; Non-Partisan Solidarity
Union or NPSU [LIN Pin-kuan]; People First Party or PFP [James SOONG]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

environmental groups; independence movement; various business groups

note: debate on Taiwan independence has become acceptable within the mainstream of domestic politics on Taiwan; public opinion polls consistently show a substantial majority of Taiwan people supports maintaining Taiwan's status quo for the foreseeable future; advocates of Taiwan independence oppose the stand that the island will eventually unify with mainland China; advocates of eventual unification predicate their goal on the democratic transformation of the mainland

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:

none; commercial and cultural relations with the people in the United States are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), a private nonprofit corporation that performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts

representative: Jason C. YUAN

office: 4201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016

telephone: [1] 202 895-1800

Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (branch offices): Atlanta,
Boston, Chicago, Guam, Houston, Honolulu, Kansas City, Los Angeles,
Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US:

none; commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a private nonprofit corporation that performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts

director: William A. STANTON

office: #7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan

telephone: [1] [886] (02) 2162-2000
FAX: [1] [886] (07) 238-7744

other offices: Kaohsiung

Flag description:

red field with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays; the blue and white design of the canton (symbolizing the sun of progress) dates to 1895; it was later adopted as the flag of the Kuomintang Party; blue signifies liberty, justice, and democracy; red stands for fraternity, sacrifice, and nationaliam, white represents equality, frankness, and the people's livelihood; the 12 rays of the sun are those of the months and the twelve traditional Chinese hours (each ray equals two hours)

note: somewhat resembles the flag of Burma

National anthem:

name: "Zhonghua Minguo guoge" (National Anthem of the Republic of China)

lyrics/music: HU Han-min, TAI Chi-t'ao, and LIAO Chung-k'ai/CHENG Mao-Yun

note: adopted 1930; the anthem is also the song of the Kuomintang Party; it is informally known as "San Min Cau I" (Three Principles of the People); because of political pressure from China, "Guo qi ee" (National Banner Song) is used at international events rather than the official anthem of Taiwan; the "National Banner Song" has gained popularity in Taiwan and is commonly used during flag raisings

Economy ::Taiwan

Economy - overview:

Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing government guidance of investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some large, state-owned banks and industrial firms have been privatized. Exports, led by electronics and machinery, generate about 70% of Taiwan's GDP growth, and have provided the primary impetus for economic development. This heavy dependence on exports makes the economy vulnerable to downturns in world demand. In 2009, Taiwan's GDP fell by 1.9%, due primarily to a 20% year-on-year decline in exports. GDP grew more than 8% in 2010, as exports returned to the level of previous years. Taiwan's diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and rapidly aging population are major long-term challenges. Free trade agreements have proliferated in East Asia over the past several years, but so far Taiwan has been excluded from this greater economic integration, largely for reasons of diplomacy. Taiwan's birth rate of only 1.2 child per woman is among the lowest in the world, raising the prospect of future labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues. Taiwan's population is aging quickly, with the number of people over 65 accounting for 10.8% of the island's total population as of the end of 2009. The island runs a large trade surplus, and its foreign reserves are the world's fourth largest, behind China, Japan, and Russia. Since President MA Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, cross-Strait economic ties have increased significantly. Since 2005 China has overtaken the US to become Taiwan's second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island's number one destination for foreign direct investment. Taipei has focused much of its economic recovery effort on improving cross-Strait economic integration. Three financial memorandums of understanding, covering banking, securities, and insurance, took effect in mid-January 2010, opening the island to greater investments from the Mainland's financial firms and institutional investors, and providing new opportunities for Taiwan financial firms to operate in China. Taiwan and the mainland in June 2010 signed the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), an agreement similar to a free-trade agreement deal that will increase cross-Strait economic ties by lowering tariffs on a number of goods. Taiwan's goverment has said that the ECFA will serve as a stepping stone toward trade pacts with other regional partners and announced the beginning of negotiations on such an agreement with Singapore in August.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$807.2 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 20 $745.4 billion (2009 est.)

$759.8 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$427 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

8.3% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 9 -1.9% (2009 est.)

0.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$35,100 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 36 $32,400 (2009 est.)

$33,100 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 1.4%

industry: 31.1%

services: 67.5% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

11.03 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 46

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 5.1%

industry: 36.8%

services: 58% (2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:

5.2% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 50 5.9% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line:

1.08% (2008 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: 41.1% (2002)

Investment (gross fixed):

21.5% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 70

Public debt:

31.4% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 87 33% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.3% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 31 3.5% (2008)

Central bank discount rate:

1.25% (February 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

2.56% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 153 4.06% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$331.7 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 14 $317.9 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$952.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 17 $891.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$661.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 19 $630.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$657.3 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 20 $354.7 billion (31 December 2008)

$654 billion (28 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:

rice, corn, vegetables, fruit, tea; pigs, poultry, beef, milk; fish


electronics, communications and information technology products, petroleum refining, armaments, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing, vehicles, consumer products, pharmaceuticals

Industrial production growth rate:

16% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 4

Electricity - production:

238.3 billion kWh (2008) country comparison to the world: 18

Electricity - consumption:

229.8 billion kWh (2008) country comparison to the world: 15

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production:

276,800 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 38

Oil - consumption:

910,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 21

Oil - exports:

359,800 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 36

Oil - imports:

931,300 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 17

Oil - proved reserves:

2.8 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 94

Natural gas - production:

360 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 70

Natural gas - consumption:

12.44 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 44

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 95

Natural gas - imports:

12.08 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 18

Natural gas - proved reserves:

6.229 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 85

Current account balance:

$39 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 10 $42.92 billion (2009 est.)


$277.6 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 17 $203.4 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

electronics, flat panels, machinery; metals; textiles, plastics, chemicals; optical, photographic, measuring, and medical instruments

Exports - partners:

China 26.6%, Hong Kong 14.4%, US 11.6%, Japan 7.2%, Singapore 4.2% (2009)


$250.2 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 18 $172.8 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

electronics, machinery, crude petroleum, precision instruments, organic chemicals, metals

Imports - partners:

Japan 20.7%, China 14%, US 10.3%, South Korea 6%, Saudi Arabia 4.8% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$382.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 4 $353 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$91.41 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 37 $75.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$65.38 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 49 $107.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$122.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 23 $145.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

New Taiwan dollars (TWD) per US dollar - 31.864 (2010), 33.061 (2009), 31.53 (2008), 32.84 (2007), 32.534 (2006)

Communications ::Taiwan

Telephones - main lines in use:

14.596 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 19

Telephones - mobile cellular:

26.959 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 33

Telephone system:

general assessment: provides telecommunications service for every business and private need

domestic: thoroughly modern; completely digitalized

international: country code - 886; roughly 15 submarine fiber cables cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2

Broadcast media:

5 free-to-air nationwide television networks operating roughly 75 TV stations; about 85% of households utilize multi-channel cable TV; national and regional radio networks with about 170 radio stations broadcasting (2008)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

6.336 million (2010) country comparison to the world: 15

Internet users:

16.147 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 24

Transportation ::Taiwan


41 (2010) country comparison to the world: 104

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 38

over 3,047 m: 8

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8

1,524 to 2,437 m: 11

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 4 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2010)


4 (2010)


gas 405 km (2009)


total: 1,582 km country comparison to the world: 81 standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 1,091 km 1.067-m gauge; 146 km .762-m gauge

note: the 146 km of .762 gauge track belongs primarily to Taiwan Sugar Corporation and Taiwan Forestry Bureau, some to other entities (2008)


total: 41,279 km country comparison to the world: 88 paved: 40,843 km (includes 976 km of expressways)

unpaved: 436 km (2008)

Merchant marine:

total: 101 country comparison to the world: 50 by type: bulk carrier 28, cargo 19, chemical tanker 2, container 27, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 2

foreign-owned: 2 (France 1, Vietnam 1)

registered in other countries: 574 (Cambodia 1, Honduras 2, Hong
Kong 26, Indonesia 1, Italy 11, Kiribati 5, Liberia 88, Marshall
Islands 2, Panama 337, Philippines 1, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 79,
Thailand 1, UK 11, unknown 8) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Chilung (Keelung), Kaohsiung, Hualian, Taichung

Military ::Taiwan

Military branches:

Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force, Coast Guard
Administration, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service
Forces Command, Armed Forces Police Command

Military service age and obligation:

19-35 years of age for male compulsory military service; service obligation 2 years; women may enlist; women in Air Force service are restricted to noncombat roles; reserve obligation to age 30 (Army); the Ministry of Defense is in the process of implementing a voluntary enlistment system over the period 2010-2015, although nonvolunteers will still be required to perform alternative service or go through 4 months of military training (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 6,218,009

females age 16-49: 6,038,964 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 5,094,111

females age 16-49: 4,980,454 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 166,141

female: 155,070 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

2.2% of GDP (in 2009, the Taiwanese president pledged to maintain defense spending at 3.0% or higher; projected 2.73% for 2011) (2009) country comparison to the world: 68

Transnational Issues ::Taiwan

Disputes - international:

involved in complex dispute with Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam over the Spratly Islands, and with China and the Philippines over Scarborough Reef; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants; Paracel Islands are occupied by China, but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam; in 2003, China and Taiwan became more vocal in rejecting both Japan's claims to the uninhabited islands of the Senkaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai) and Japan's unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea where all parties engage in hydrocarbon prospecting

Illicit drugs:

regional transit point for heroin, methamphetamine, and precursor chemicals; transshipment point for drugs to Japan; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamine and heroin; rising problems with use of ketamine and club drugs


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