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About Taiwan

General InformationTaiwan Image

•Population: 23.37 million
•Area: 36,194 square kilometers
•Ethnic groups: Han Chinese (97%), Aborigines (2%), Other (1%)
•Languages: Mandarin / Taiwanese / Hakka / Aboriginal
•Foreign Languages: English, Japanese
•Currency: New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)
•Time Zone: National Standard Time (UTC+8)
•Electricity: 110V, 60HZ

Geographic Environment

Geographic Location

Taiwan is located in between the southeastern coast of the Asian continent and the East Asian islands distributed among the western Pacific Rim. To the north lie Japan and the Ryukyu Islands; to the south are the Philippine Islands; to the west is Mainland China. Taiwan is a long and narrow island stretching from north to south. The island is about 395 km long and about 144 km in width with a total land area of around 36,000 square kilometers (about 14,400 square miles).

Topography

Taiwan is endowed with steep mountain ranges; therefore, great altitude differences occur throughout the island. The mountains mostly run from north to south. The highest point is Yushan Peak of the Yushan Mountain Range, which reaches an elevation of 3,952 meters above sea level making it the highest peak in Northeast Asia. Since mountain areas cover the majority of the island, Taiwan’s ecological resources are abundant. The plains of Taiwan are relatively narrow and found only in the western region and the longitudinal valley along the east coast. These also happen to be the most densely populated areas in Taiwan.

Climate

Taiwan belongs to tropical and subtropical climate zones that range from rainy to dry weather and hot to cool temperatures, depending on altitude and latitude.

Average temperature for the northern half of the island is about 21.7°C; average temperature for the southern half is around 24.1°C. The island is coldest from January through March with temperatures dropping to around 10°C. From June to August, hot weather prevails with temperatures rising up to 38°C. More moderate temperatures follow in the months between, with an average temperature of 25°C.

Taiwan's average annual rainfall is 2,515 mm.

Transportation

International Airports

•Taoyuan International Airport
•Taipei Songshan Airport

Land Transport

Taiwan High Speed Rail
Railway Train
Taipei Mass Rapid Transit
Airport MRT

People

Ethnicity

Taiwan has a population of about 23 million people which consists of various ethnic groups. The aborigines who have inhabited the island for around 8,000 years make up 2.3% of the total population; the Han Chinese who migrated to Taiwan in the seventeenth century constitute the rest of the population. The diversity of Taiwan’s culture and heritage formed with the integration of different ethnic groups and illustrate the harmony and prosperity possible among various religions, architecture, languages, lifestyles, and cuisines. Seventy percent of the population are concentrated in the five western metropolitan areas (Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung), among which the Taipei metropolis harbors Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan, and New Taipei City, the largest city in Taiwan.

Language

Despite coming from distant provinces with complex languages and ethnic backgrounds, new immigrants who migrated along with the Republic of China Government in 1949 can generally communicate in Mandarin Chinese. With the advent of public education, Mandarin has become the official language of Taiwan's various ethnic groups.

Since many Taiwanese are of southern Fujianese descent, Minnan (the Southern Min dialect) is also widely spoken. The smaller groups of Hakka people and indigenous tribes continue to preserve their own languages. Many elderly people can also speak some Japanese, as they were once subjected to Japanese education before Taiwan was returned to Chinese rule in 1945 after the Japanese occupation, which lasted for half a century.

Economy

After the 1960s, Taiwan underwent economic and industrial reforms, and experienced rapid social development. The economic achievements of the 1970s and 1980s allowed Taiwan to rank among the Asian Tigers and, in the 1990s, among developed countries.

Since the 1980s, the economic structure of Taiwan gradually shifted from labor-intensive industries to high-tech industries, wherein the electronics industry was particularly vital to the world's economy. Taiwan has excelled in the semiconductor, optoelectronics, information technology, communications, and electronics fields. At present, the economy is shifting toward nanotechnology, biotechnology, optoelectronics, and the tourism service industry.

Moreover, international trade is the economic lifeline of Taiwan. Japan and the United States were Taiwan's top two trading partners until 2005, when Mainland China took over as Taiwan's main import/export trading region, with Japan and the United States coming in second and third.

In recent years, the grim financial situations of the U.S.A. and European economies and the economic slowdown in China had a joint impact on the economic performance of Taiwan. In 2013, Taiwan's economic growth rate was 2.11%, the gross domestic product (GDP) was $489,132 million USD, the gross national product (GNP) was $503,264 million USD, with an average per capita GDP of $20,952 USD. In terms of commodity prices, the consumer price index increased 1.07% this October (2014) in comparison to the last year. As for the employment situation, the average number of employed is 1,109.9 million people as of this September (2014), which is 1080 more people than the previous year; the average unemployment rate is 3.96%.

For more information about taiwan, please visit About Taiwan.
 


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