Taiwan

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

First inhabited by Austronesian people, Taiwan became home to Han immigrants beginning in the late Ming Dynasty (17th century). 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.

Geography

Area

total: 35,980 sq km
land: 32,260 sq km
water: 3,720 sq km

Climate

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

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

23,588,613 (2023 est.)

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%

Languages

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

Religions

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

Population growth rate

0.03% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

semi-presidential republic

Capital

name: Taipei

Executive branch

chief of state: President TSAI Ing-wen (since 20 May 2016); Vice President LAI Ching-te (since 20 May 2020)
head of government: Premier CHEN Chien-jen (President of the Executive Yuan) (since 31 January 2023); Vice Premier CHENG Wen-tsan (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) (since 31 January 2023)

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)

Economy

Economic overview

high-income East Asian economy; most technologically advanced computer microchip manufacturing; increasing Chinese interference threatens market capabilities; minimum wages rising; longstanding regional socioeconomic inequality

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.143 trillion (2019 est.)
$1.113 trillion (2018 est.)
$1.083 trillion (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$47,800 (2019 est.)
$46,600 (2018 est.)
$45,400 (2017 est.)

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

Exports

$388.49 billion (2019 est.)
$383.484 billion (2018 est.)
$382.736 billion (2017 est.)

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.)

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)

Exchange rates

New Taiwan dollars (TWD) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
28.211 (2020 est.)
30.472 (2019 est.)
30.8395 (2018 est.)
31.911 (2014 est.)
30.363 (2013 est.)


Page last updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2024