TAIWAN
Largest City New Taipei (3,913,595)
Population 23.52 million (2016)
Official Language Mandarin Chinese
Currency New Taiwan dollar
Average Income
Estimated Taiwanese Population in New Zealand 17,000

Introduction

Taiwan is an island in Southeast Asia, located north of the Philippines off the Southeast coast of China. In July 2013, Taiwan and New Zealand signed a free trade agreement, making it an attractive place for Kiwis to do business.

Taiwan has a population of over 23 million people. Approximately 78% of its people live in urban areas. The largest city is the capital, Taipei, with 2.6 million people. Other major cities include Kaohsiung (1.5 million), Taichung (1.2 million) and Tainan (815,000). Most of the population and infrastructure are on the western coast of the island due to the rugged, mountainous terrain of the east. With a GDP per capita of $46,800, Taiwan is one of the most prosperous nations in Southeast Asia.

China has claimed sovereignty over the island since 1949. Due to China’s assertions that Taiwan is a province of China, Taiwan has official diplomatic ties with few nations. A notable exception to this is the USA, which in 1979 passed the Taiwan Relations Act promising to help the island defend themselves. Despite these sensitive relations between Taiwan and China, Taiwan has established itself as one of Asia’s largest traders. In recent years relations have softened somewhat, with the ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement) signed between the two nations in 2010.

Taiwan exported $284.9 billion worth of goods in 2015. The bulk of these exports were related to consumer electronics, such as electronics, semiconductors and televisions. China and Hong Kong collectively take approximately 40% of Taiwan’s exports, with the USA, Japan and Singapore its next biggest export partners. In 2015 Taiwan imported $228.6 billion worth of goods, most of which were energy related (petroleum, natural gas and coal).