Taiwan 1999Taiwan

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Taiwan - Introduction 1999
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Background: 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 native Taiwanese within its structure. Throughout this period, the island has prospered as one of East Asia's economic tigers. The dominant political issue continues to be the relationship between Taiwan and Mainland China and the question of eventual reunification.

Taiwan - Geography 1999
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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 referenceSoutheast Asia

Total: 35,980 km²
Land: 32,260 km²
Water: 3,720 km²
Note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy
Comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,448 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

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

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

Extremes lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Yu Shan 3,997 m

Natural resources: small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, and asbestos
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 24%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 5%
Forests and woodland: 55%
Other: 15%

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: earthquakes and typhoons


Taiwan - People 1999
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Population: 22,113,250 (July 1999 est.)
Growth rate: 0.93% (1999 est.)
Below poverty line: NA%

Noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Chinese

Ethnic groups: Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, aborigine 2%

Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects

Religions: mixture of Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 22% (male 2,515,398; female 2,338,506)
15-64 years: 70% (male 7,825,953; female 7,574,836)
65 years and over: 8% (male 989,040; female 869,517) (1999 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.93% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 14.63 births/1000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 5.32 deaths/1000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.02 migrant(s)/1000 population (1999 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

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
International agreements party to: none of the selected agreements
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.14 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 6.01 deaths/1000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 77.49 years
Male: 74.38 years
Female: 80.85 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.77 children born/woman (1999 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 94% (1998 est.)
Male: 93% (1980 est.)
Female: 79% (1980 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Taiwan - Government 1999
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Country name
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Taiwan
Local long form: none
Local short form: T'ai-wan

Government type: multiparty democratic regime headed by popularly elected president

Capital: Taipei

Administrative divisions: since in the past the authorities claimed to be the government of all China, the central administrative divisions include the provinces of Fu-chien (some 20 offshore islands of Fujian Province including Quemoy and Matsu) and Taiwan (the island of Taiwan and the Pescadores islands); note_the more commonly referenced administrative divisions are those of Taiwan Province_16 counties (hsien, singular and plural), 5 municipalities* (shih, singular and plural), and 2 special municipalities** (chuan-shih, singular and plural); Chang-hua, Chia-i, Chia-i*, Chi-lung*, Hsin-chu, Hsin-chu*, Hua-lien, I-lan, Kao-hsiung, Kao-hsiung**, Miao-li, Nan-t'ou, P'eng-hu, P'ing-tung, T'ai-chung, T'ai-chung*, T'ai-nan, T'ai-nan*, T'ai-pei, T'ai-pei**, T'ai-tung, T'ao-yuan, and Yun-lin; the provincial capital is at Chung-hsing-hsin-ts'un
Note: Taiwan uses the Wade-Giles system for romanization

Dependent areas


National holiday: National Day, 10 October (1911) (Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution)

Constitution: 1 January 1947, amended in 1992, 1994, and 1997

Legal system: based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President LEE Teng-hui (succeeded to the presidency following the death of President CHIANG Ching-kuo 13 January 1988, elected by the National Assembly 21 March 1990, elected by popular vote in the first-ever direct elections for president 23 March 1996); Vice President LIEN Chan (since 20 May 1996)
Head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) Vincent SIEW (since 1 September 1997) and Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) LIU Chao-shiuan (since 10 December 1997)
Cabinet: Executive Yuan appointed by the president
Elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 23 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2000); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier
Election results: LEE Teng-hui elected president; percent of vote_LEE Teng-hui 54%, PENG Ming-min 21%, LIN Yang-kang 15%, and CHEN Li-an 10%

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Yuan (225 seats_168 elected by popular vote, 41 elected on the basis of the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, eight elected from overseas Chinese constituencies on the basis of the proportion of nationwide votes received by participating political parties, eight elected by popular vote among the aboriginal populations; members serve three-year terms) and unicameral National Assembly (334 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: Legislative Yuan_last held 5 December 1998 (next to be held NA December 2001); National Assembly_last held 23 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2000)
Election results: Legislative Yuan_percent of vote by party_KMT 46%, DPP 29%, CNP 7%, independents 10%, other parties 8%; seats by party_KMT 123, DPP 70, CNP 11, independents 15, other parties 6; National Assembly_percent of vote by party_KMT 55%, DPP 30%, CNP 14%, other 1%; seats by party_KMT 183, DPP 99, CNP 46, other 6

Judicial branch: Judicial Yuan, justices appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: APEC, AsDB, BCIE, ICC, IOC, WCL, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation
In the us: none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of the US are maintained through a private instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) with headquarters in Taipei and field offices in Washington and 12 other US cities
From the us: none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through a private institution, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which has its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia (telephone:[1] (703) 525-8,474 and FAX:[1] (703) 841-1385) and offices in Taipei at #7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3, telephone [886] (2) 2,709-2000, FAX [886] (2) 2,702-7,675, and in Kao-hsiung at #2 Chung Cheng 3d Road, telephone [886] (7) 224-0154 through 0157, FAX [886] (7) 223-8,237, and the American Trade Center at Room 3,207 International Trade Building, Taipei World Trade Center, 333 Keelung Road Section 1, Taipei 10,548, telephone [886] (2) 2,720-1550, FAX [886] (2) 2,757-7,162

Flag descriptionflag of Taiwan: red with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Taiwan - Economy 1999
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Economy overview: Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing guidance of investment and foreign trade by government authorities and partial government ownership of some large banks and industrial firms. Real growth in GDP has averaged about 8.5% a year during the past three decades. Export growth has been even faster and has provided the impetus for industrialization. Inflation and unemployment are low, and foreign reserves are the world's third largest. Agriculture contributes less than 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 flu" in 1998.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4.8% (1998 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 2.7%
Industry: 35.3%
Services: 62% (1997)

Agriculture products: rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, vegetables, fruit, tea; pigs, poultry, beef, milk; fish

Industries: electronics, textiles, chemicals, clothing, food processing, plywood, sugar milling, cement, shipbuilding, petroleum refining

Industrial production growth rate: 7% (1997)

Labor force: 9.4 million (1997)
By occupation services: 52%
By occupation industry: 38%
By occupation agriculture: 10% (1996)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 2.7% (1998)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: NA%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $40 billion
Expenditures: $55 billion, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1998 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 July_30 June

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $122.1 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
Commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 21.7%, electronic products 14.8%, information/communications 11.8%, textile products 11.6% (1997)
Partners: US 24.2%, Hong Kong 23.5%, Europe 15.1%, Japan 9.6% (1997)

Imports: $114.4 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
Commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 16.5%, electronic products 16.3%, chemicals 10.0%, precision instrument 5.6% (1997)
Partners: Japan 25.4%, US 20.3%, Europe 18.9%, Hong Kong 1.7% (1997)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $80 million (1997 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: New Taiwan dollars per US$1_32.45 (yearend 1997), 27.5 (1996), 27.4 (1995), 26.2 (1994)

Taiwan - Energy 1999
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 134.906 billion kWh (1996)
By source fossil fuel: 63.2%
By source hydro: 7.1%
By source nuclear: 29.7%
By source other: 0% (1997)

Electricity consumption: 134.906 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Taiwan - Communication 1999
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system
Domestic: extensive microwave radio relay trunk system on east and west coasts
International: satellite earth stations_2 Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean); submarine cables to Japan (Okinawa), Philippines, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Middle East, and Western Europe

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Taiwan - Military 1999
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $7.446 billion (FY98/99)
Percent of gdp: 2.8% (FY98/99)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Taiwan - Transportation 1999
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 39 (1998 est.)
With paved runways total: 36
With paved runways over 3047 m: 8
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 12
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 6
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 6
With paved runways under 914 m: 4 (1998 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 3
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 2 (1998 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 36
Over 3047 m: 8
2438 to 3047 m: 12
15-24 to 2437 m: 6
914 to 1523 m: 6
Under 914 m: 4 (1998 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 3
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
Under 914 m: 2 (1998 est.)

Heliports: 2 (1998 est.)

Pipelines: petroleum products 615 km; natural gas 97 km

Total: 4,600 km (519 km electrified); note_1,108 km belongs to the Taiwan Railway Administration and the remaining 3,492 km is dedicated to industrial use
Narrow gauge: 4,600 km 1.067-m



Merchant marine
Total: 180 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,106,573 GRT/7,963,834 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 47, cargo 30, combination bulk 3, container 72, oil tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 9, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2 (1998 est.)

Ports and terminals

Taiwan - Transnational issues 1999
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Disputes international: involved in complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; Paracel Islands occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; claims Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai), as does China

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: considered an important heroin transit point; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamines and heroin


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