Photos of Taiwan

Introduction

Background

First inhabited by Austronesian people, Taiwan became home to Han immigrants beginning in the late Ming Dynasty (17th century). In 1895, military defeat forced China's Qing Dynasty to cede Taiwan to Japan, which then governed Taiwan for 50 years. Taiwan came under Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang, KMT) control after World War II. With the communist victory in the Chinese civil war in 1949, the Nationalist-controlled Republic of China government and 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and continued to claim to be the legitimate government for mainland China and Taiwan based on a 1947 Constitution drawn up for all of China. Until 1987, however, the Nationalist government ruled Taiwan under a civil war martial law declaration dating to 1948. Beginning in the 1970s, Nationalist authorities gradually began to incorporate the native population into the governing structure beyond the local level. The democratization process expanded rapidly in the 1980s, leading to the then illegal founding of Taiwan’s first opposition party (the Democratic Progressive Party or DPP) in 1986 and the lifting of martial law the following year. Taiwan held legislative elections in 1992, the first in over forty years, and its first direct presidential election in 1996. In the 2000 presidential elections, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power with the KMT loss to the DPP and afterwards experienced two additional democratic transfers of power in 2008 and 2016. Throughout this period, the island prospered, became one of East Asia's economic "Tigers," and after 2000 became a major investor in mainland China as cross-Strait ties matured. The dominant political issues continue to be economic reform and growth as well as management of sensitive relations between Taiwan and China.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Area

total: 35,980 sq km

land: 32,260 sq km

water: 3,720 sq km

note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands

country comparison to the world: 138

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

1,566.3 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

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

Terrain

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

Elevation

highest point: Yu Shan 3,952 m

lowest point: South China Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 1,150 m

Natural resources

small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, asbestos, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 22.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 16.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 5.8% (2018 est.)

other: 77.3% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

3,820 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

67 cubic meters (2011)

Population distribution

distribution exhibits a peripheral coastal settlement pattern, with the largest populations on the north and west coasts

Natural hazards

earthquakes; typhoons

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

Geography - note

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

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Taiwan (singular and plural)

adjective: Taiwan (or Taiwanese)

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

Ethnic groups

Han Chinese (including Holo, who compose approximately 70% of Taiwan's population, Hakka, and other groups originating in mainland China) more than 95%, indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples 2.3%

note 1: there are 16 officially recognized indigenous groups: Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Hla'alua, Kanakaravu, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Sakizaya, Seediq, Thao, Truku, Tsou, and Yami; Amis, Paiwan, and Atayal are the largest and account for roughly 70% of the indigenous population

note 2: although not definitive, the majority of current genetic, archeological, and linguistic data support the theory that Taiwan is the ultimate source for the spread of humans across the Pacific to Polynesia; the expansion (ca. 3000 B.C. to A.D. 1200) took place via the Philippines and eastern Indonesia and reached Fiji and Tonga by about 900 B.C.; from there voyagers spread across the rest of the Pacific islands over the next two millennia

Languages

Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min Nan), Hakka dialects, approximately 16 indigenous languages

printed major-language sample:
世界概況  –  不可缺少的基本消息來源 (Mandarin)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Religions

Buddhist 35.3%, Taoist 33.2%, Christian 3.9%, folk religion (includes Confucian) approximately 10%, none or unspecified 18.2% (2005 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 12.42% (male 1,504,704/female 1,426,494)

15-24 years: 11.62% (male 1,403,117/female 1,339,535)

25-54 years: 45.51% (male 5,351,951/female 5,389,112)

55-64 years: 14.73% (male 1,698,555/female 1,778,529)

65 years and over: 15.72% (male 1,681,476/female 2,029,576) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 40

youth dependency ratio: 17.8

elderly dependency ratio: 22.2

potential support ratio: 4.5 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 42.3 years

male: 41.5 years

female: 43.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Birth rate

7.43 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 223

Death rate

7.8 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 95

Net migration rate

0.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 65

Population distribution

distribution exhibits a peripheral coastal settlement pattern, with the largest populations on the north and west coasts

Urbanization

urban population: 79.3% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.65% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

4.435 million New Taipei City, 2.731 million TAIPEI (capital), 2.272 million Taoyuan, 1.542 million Kaohsiung, 1.338 million Taichung, 857,000 Tainan (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.03 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.35 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 191

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.95 years

male: 77.93 years

female: 84.14 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.5%

male: 99.7%

female: 97.3% (2014)

Environment

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

Total renewable water resources

67 cubic meters (2011)

Climate

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

Land use

agricultural land: 22.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 16.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 5.8% (2018 est.)

other: 77.3% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 79.3% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.65% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 7.336 million tons (2015 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Taiwan

local long form: none

local short form: Taiwan

former: Formosa

etymology: "Tayowan" was the name of the coastal sandbank where the Dutch erected their colonial headquarters on the island in the 17th century; the former name "Formosa" means "beautiful" in Portuguese

Government type

semi-presidential republic

Capital

name: Taipei

geographic coordinates: 25 02 N, 121 31 E

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

etymology: the Chinese meaning is "Northern Taiwan," reflecting the city's position in the far north of the island

Administrative divisions

includes main island of Taiwan plus smaller islands nearby and off coast of China's Fujian Province; Taiwan is divided into 13 counties (xian, singular and plural), 3 cities (shi, singular and plural), and 6 special municipalities directly under the jurisdiction of the Executive Yuan

counties: Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu, Hualien, Kinmen, Lienchiang, Miaoli, Nantou, Penghu, Pingtung, Taitung, Yilan, Yunlin

cities: Chiayi, Hsinchu, Keelung

special municipalities: Kaohsiung (city), New Taipei (city), Taichung (city), Tainan (city), Taipei (city), Taoyuan (city)



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

National holiday

Republic Day (National Day), 10 October (1911); note - celebrates the anniversary of the Chinese Revolution, also known as Double Ten (10-10) Day

Constitution

history: previous 1912, 1931; latest adopted 25 December 1946, promulgated 1 January 1947, effective 25 December 1947

amendments: proposed by at least one fourth of the Legislative Yuan membership; passage requires approval by at least three-fourths majority vote of at least three fourths of the Legislative Yuan membership and approval in a referendum by more than half of eligible voters; revised several times, last in 2005

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Taiwan

dual citizenship recognized: yes, except that citizens of Taiwan are not recognized as dual citizens of the People's Republic of China

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

20 years of age; universal; note - in mid-2016, the Legislative Yuan drafted a constitutional amendment to reduce the voting age to 18, but it has not passed as of December 2017

Executive branch

chief of state: President TSAI Ing-wen (since 20 May 2016; re-elected on 11 Jan 2020); Vice President LAI Ching-te (since 20 May 2020)

head of government: Premier SU Tseng-chang (President of the Executive Yuan) (since 11 January 2019); Vice Premier SHEN Jong-chin, Vice President of the Executive Yuan (since 19 June 2020)

cabinet: Executive Yuan - ministers appointed by president on recommendation of premier

elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by simple majority popular vote for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 January 2020 (next to be held on 11 January 2024); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier

election results: TSAI Ing-wen elected president; percent of vote - TSAI Ing-wen (DPP) 57.1%, HAN Kuo-yu (KMT) 38.6%; note - TSAI is the first woman elected president of Taiwan

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Yuan (113 seats; 73 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 34 directly elected in a single island-wide constituency by proportional representation vote, and 6 directly elected in multi-seat aboriginal constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 11 January 2020 (next to be held on 11 January 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party - Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 34.0%, Kuomintang (KMT) 33.4%, Taiwan People's Party (TPP) 11.2%; seats by party - DPP 61, KMT 38, TPP 5

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and approximately 100 judges organized into 8 civil and 12 criminal divisions, each with a division chief justice and 4 associate justices); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 13 justices)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court justices appointed by the president; Constitutional Court justices appointed by the president, with approval of the Legislative Yuan; Supreme Court justices serve for life; Constitutional Court justices appointed for 8-year terms, with half the membership renewed every 4 years

subordinate courts: high courts; district courts; hierarchy of administrative courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [TSAI Ing-wen]
Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [CHIANG Chi-che, aka Johnny CHIANG]
Taiwan People's Party or TPP [KO Wen-je]
New Power Party or NPP [CHEN Jiau-hua]
Taiwan Statebuilding Party or TSP [TAN Ek-che]

International organization participation

ADB (Taipei, China), APEC (Chinese Taipei), BCIE, IOC, ITUC (NGOs), SICA (observer), WTO (Taipei, China);

note - separate customs territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: none; commercial and cultural relations with its citizens in the US 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, represented by HSIAO Bi-khim (since 20 July 2020); office: 4201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016; telephone: [1] 202 895-1800

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

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: the US does not have an embassy in Taiwan; commercial and cultural relations with the people of 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; it is managed by Director William Brent CHRISTENSEN (since 11 August 2018); telephone [886] 7-335-5006; FAX [886] 7-338-0551

telephone: (+886) (02) 2162-2000

branch office(s): American Institute in Taiwan
No. 100, Jinhu Road,
Neihu District 11461, Taipei City

other offices: Kaohsiung (Branch Office)

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 nationalism, and 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: similar to the flag of Samoa

National symbol(s)

white, 12-rayed sun on blue field; national colors: blue, white, red

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; also the song of the Kuomintang Party; it is informally known as "San Min Chu I" or "San Min Zhu Yi" (Three Principles of the People); because of political pressure from China, "Guo Qi Ge" (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

Economic overview

Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy that is driven largely by industrial manufacturing, and especially exports of electronics, machinery, and petrochemicals. This heavy dependence on exports exposes the economy to fluctuations in global demand. Taiwan's diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, rapidly aging population, and increasing competition from China and other Asia Pacific markets are other major long-term challenges.

Following the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed with China in June 2010, Taiwan in July 2013 signed a free trade deal with New Zealand - Taipei’s first-ever with a country with which it does not maintain diplomatic relations - and, in November of that year, inked a trade pact with Singapore. However, follow-on components of the ECFA, including a signed agreement on trade in services and negotiations on trade in goods and dispute resolution, have stalled. In early 2014, the government bowed to public demand and proposed a new law governing the oversight of cross-Strait agreements, before any additional deals with China are implemented; the legislature has yet to vote on such legislation, leaving the future of ECFA uncertain. President TSAI since taking office in May 2016 has promoted greater economic integration with South and Southeast Asia through the New Southbound Policy initiative and has also expressed interest in Taiwan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership as well as bilateral trade deals with partners such as the US. These overtures have likely played a role in increasing Taiwan’s total exports, which rose 11% during the first half of 2017, buoyed by strong demand for semiconductors.

Taiwan's total fertility rate of just over one 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 expected to account for nearly 20% of the island's total population by 2025.

The island runs a trade surplus with many economies, including China and the US, and its foreign reserves are the world's fifth largest, behind those of China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland. In 2006, China overtook 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. Taiwan since 2009 has gradually loosened rules governing Chinese investment and has also secured greater market access for its investors on the mainland. In August 2012, the Taiwan Central Bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cross-Strait currency settlement with its Chinese counterpart. The MOU allows for the direct settlement of Chinese renminbi (RMB) and the New Taiwan dollar across the Strait, which has helped Taiwan develop into a local RMB hub.

Closer economic links with the mainland bring opportunities for Taiwan’s economy but also pose challenges as political differences remain unresolved and China’s economic growth is slowing. President TSAI’s administration has made little progress on the domestic economic issues that loomed large when she was elected, including concerns about stagnant wages, high housing prices, youth unemployment, job security, and financial security in retirement. TSAI has made more progress on boosting trade with South and Southeast Asia, which may help insulate Taiwan’s economy from a fall in mainland demand should China’s growth slow in 2018.

Real GDP growth rate

2.71% (2019 est.)

2.75% (2018 est.)

3.31% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 105

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.5% (2019 est.)

1.3% (2018 est.)

0.6% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA- (2016)

Moody's rating: Aa3 (1994)

Standard & Poors rating: AA- (2002)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1,143,277,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,113,126,000,000 (2018 est.)

$1,083,384,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 22

GDP (official exchange rate)

$611.391 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$24,502 (2018 est.)

$50,500 (2017 est.)

$23,865 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 80

Gross national saving

34.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

35.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

36.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 36% (2017 est.)

services: 62.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 65.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -52.6% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 80.9 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 94.4 (2020)

Trading score: 84.9 (2020)

Enforcement score: 75.1 (2020)

Agricultural products

rice, vegetables, pork, cabbages, poultry, sugar cane, milk, eggs, pineapples, tropical fruit

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 4.9%

industry: 35.9%

services: 59.2% (2016 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 6.4% (2010)

highest 10%: 40.3% (2010)

Budget

revenues: 91.62 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 92.03 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

35.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

36.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data for central government

country comparison to the world: 149

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$65.173 billion (2019 est.)

$70.843 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Exports

$388.49 billion (2019 est.)

$383.484 billion (2018 est.)

$382.736 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Exports - partners

China 26%, United States 14%, Hong Kong 12%, Japan 7%, Singapore 7%, South Korea 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

integrated circuits, office machinery/parts, computers, refined petroleum, liquid crystal displays (2019)

Imports

$308.744 billion (2019 est.)

$305.428 billion (2018 est.)

$303.067 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 23

Imports - partners

China 21%, Japan 16%, United States 11%, South Korea 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

integrated circuits, crude petroleum, photography equipment, natural gas, refined petroleum (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$456.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$439 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Debt - external

$189.684 billion (2019 est.)

$196.276 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 42

Exchange rates

New Taiwan dollars (TWD) per US dollar -

28.211 (2020 est.)

30.472 (2019 est.)

30.8395 (2018 est.)

31.911 (2014 est.)

30.363 (2013 est.)

Energy

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 12,971,902

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 55.07 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 29,049,784

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123.21 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

dynamic telecommunications industry defined by excellent infrastructure and competitive mobile market; solid availability of fixed and mobile broadband networks; investors attracted to regulatory certainty, market maturity, an educated workforce, and ICT sector at the heart of economic development; 4G LTE service with fiber is the most popular platform; 5G to 80% of subscribers; government funds development of 5G and IoT market; concerns include China’s efforts to influence media and ICT policy (2021)

(2020)

domestic: fixed-line 55 per 100 and mobile-cellular 123 per 100 (2019)

international: country code - 886; landing points for the EAC-C2C, APCN-2, FASTER, SJC2, TSE-1, TPE, APG, SeaMeWe-3, FLAG North Asia Loop/REACH North Asia Loop, HKA, NCP, and PLCN submarine fiber cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

5 nationwide television networks operating roughly 22 TV stations; more than 300 satellite TV channels are available; about 60% of households utilize multi-channel cable TV; 99.9% of households subscribe to digital cable TV; national and regional radio networks with about 171 radio stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 21,845,944

percent of population: 92.78% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 34

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 5,831,467

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24.76 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 30

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 7 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 216

Airports - with paved runways

total: 35 (2013)

over 3,047 m: 8 (2013)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 10 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2013)

under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 2 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Heliports

31 (2013)

Pipelines

25 km condensate, 2,200 km gas, 13,500 km oil (2018)

Railways

total: 1,613 km (2018)

standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge (345 km electrified) (2018)

narrow gauge: 1,118.1 km 1.067-m gauge (793.9 km electrified) (2018)

150 0.762-m gauge note: the 0.762-gauge track belongs to three entities: the Forestry Bureau, Taiwan Cement, and TaiPower

country comparison to the world: 81

Roadways

total: 43,206 km (2017)

paved: 42,793 km (includes 1,348 km of highways and 737 km of expressways) (2017)

unpaved: 413 km (2017)

country comparison to the world: 88

Merchant marine

total: 407

by type: bulk carrier 36, container ship 49, general cargo 57, oil tanker 31, other 234 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 47

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Keelung (Chi-lung), Kaohsiung, Hualian, Taichung

container port(s) (TEUs): Kaohsiung (10,271,018), Taichung (1,660,663), Taipei (1,561,743) (2017)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Yung An (Kaohsiung), Taichung

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Taiwan Armed Forces: Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force; Taiwan Coast Guard Administration (a law enforcement organization with homeland security functions during peacetime and national defense missions during wartime) (2021)

note - the Armed Forces also have Military Police and Armed Forces Reserve commands

Military expenditures

2.3% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.1% of GDP (2019)

1.8% of GDP (2018)

1.8% of GDP (2017)

1.8% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 46

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Taiwan military has approximately 170,000 active duty troops (90,000 Army; 40,000 Navy, including approximately 10,000 marines; 40,000 Air Force) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Taiwan military is armed mostly with second-hand weapons and equipment provided by the US; Taiwan also has a domestic defense industry capable of upgrading some weapons systems and building surface naval craft and submarines (2020)

Military service age and obligation

starting with those born in 1994, males 18-36 years of age may volunteer for military service or must complete 4 months of compulsory military training (or substitute civil service in some cases); men born before December 1993 are required to complete compulsory service for 1 year (military or civil); men are subject to training recalls up to four times for periods not to exceed 20 days for 8 years after discharge; women may enlist, but are restricted to noncombat roles in most cases; as part of its transition to an all-volunteer military in December 2018, the last cohort of one-year military conscripts completed their service obligations (2019)

Transnational Issues

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