Taiwan Travel Information

Photo In 1895, military defeat forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan, however it 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 that over five decades has gradually democratized and incorporated the native population within its structure. Throughout this period, the island has prospered to become one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The dominant political issue continues to be the relationship between Taiwan and China and the question of eventual reunification. Taiwan's climate is described as tropical and subtropical, and rainfall is abundant. The average annual precipitation is about 4,000 mm (about 160 in). During winter, northern Taiwan experiences the northeast monsoon, which brings heavy rain from October to March. The north is somewhat less wet in summer, when southern Taiwan receives heavy precipitation from the southwest monsoon. Typhoons occur between June and October. Frost and snow appear only at high elevations in the Chungyang Range. Summers are hot and humid, with an average temperature of 28°C (82°F). Winter lasts from December until February and is mild, with an average January temperature of 18°C (64°F). Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing guidance of investment and foreign trade by government authorities. In keeping with this trend, some large government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Real growth in GDP has averaged about 8% during the past three decades. Exports have grown even faster and have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. Inflation and unemployment are low; the trade surplus is substantial; and foreign reserves are the world's third largest. Agriculture contributes 3% to GDP, down from 35% in 1952. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved off-shore and replaced with more capital- and technology-intensive industries. Taiwan has become a major investor in China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The tightening of labor markets has led to an influx of foreign workers, both legal and illegal. Because of its conservative financial approach and its entrepreneurial strengths, Taiwan suffered little compared with many of its neighbors from the Asian financial crisis in 1998-99. Growth in 2000 should pick up a bit from 1999, backed by expansion in domestic consumption, exports, and private investment.

Important: Travel to Taiwan may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Taiwan visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: none
Capital city: Taipei
Area: 35,980 sq km
Population: 23,234,936
Ethnic groups: Taiwanese
Languages: Mandarin Chinese
Religions: mixture of Buddhist and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%
Government: multiparty democracy
Chief of State: President MA Ying-jeou
Head of Government: Premier Sean C. CHEN
GDP: 875.9 billion
GDP per captia: 37,700
Annual growth rate: 4%
Inflation: 1.4%
Agriculture: rice, vegetables, fruit, tea, flowers
Major industries: electronics, communications and information technology products, petroleum refining, armaments, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing, vehicles, consumer products, pharmaceuticals
Natural resources: small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos
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
Trade Partners - exports: China 28.1%, Hong Kong 13.8%, US 11.5%, Japan 6.6%, Singapore 4.4%
Trade Partners - imports: Japan 20.7%, China 14.2%, US 10%, South Korea 6.4%, Saudi Arabia 4.7%