Taiwan Area Code

+886 is the dialing code for Taiwan.

Taiwan consists of a large and a few smaller islands in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Chinese mainland. In practice, Taiwan functions as an independent state even if it is recognized only by a few other countries. Since Chinese nationalists seized power in 1949, after losing the civil war against the Communists, China claims Taiwan as one of its provinces. Until 1971, it was Taiwan that held China’s place in the UN, including the Security Council, but since then the island has been diplomatically isolated. Taiwan has done pretty well anyway. It has a well-developed economy and is a leading manufacturer of high-tech goods.

  • Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Taiwan, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.

Geography and climate

The island of Taiwan or Formosa is located in the middle of the Cancer Circle in the Pacific Ocean east of the Chinese mainland. Taiwan (officially called the Republic of China) has in practice served as an independent state since 1949 but is only recognized as one by a few countries in the world (see Foreign Policy and Defense). Taiwan consists of a main island of the same name, the smaller island groups Penghu (Pescadores), Kinmen (Quemoy) and Matsu as well as various small islands. On the surface, Taiwan is much like Jämtland.

The main island is separated from the People’s Republic of China by the Taiwan Strait, which at its narrowest point is 13 km wide. However, some of the islands are very close to the mainland – the distance from Kinmen is just over two kilometers.

Country Facts


Cultivated land 22.7 %
Land area 35980 km 2

Population and health

Population development 0.23 ‰
Urban population (Urbanization) %
Death rate 7.11 per 1000 residents
Life expectancy: Women 83.33 years
Life expectancy: Men 76.85 years
Birth rate 8.47 births per 1000 residents
HDI index
Population 23415126
Infant mortality 4.44 deaths / 1000 births

Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com


Electricity, production 258000 million kWh
Energy consumption per resident kg. oil per resident
Natural gas, production 1294 million cubic meters
Crude oil, production million tons


Internet users 70.0 per 100 residents
Mobile subscriptions 130 per 100 residents
Passenger cars 324 per 1000 residents

Business and economics

Unemployment 3.8% of the workforce
GDP 46800 per resident
Primary occupations 5.0 %
Secondary profession 36.2 %
Tertiary professions 58.8 %

Taiwan consists largely of mountains, the eastern two-thirds being occupied by mountain ranges running in a north-south direction. More than 200 mountain peaks extend more than 3,000 meters above sea level. In the west, the country slopes gradually in plateaus towards the strait, hence the name Taiwan which means “terrace bay” in Chinese. Here the soil is fertile and intensively cultivated, and here most of the population lives.

More than half of the area is wooded. Both earthquakes and volcanic eruptions haunt the island, mainly the east coast.

Taiwan is surrounded by warm ocean currents and has a subtropical climate that, in the far south, turns into tropical. The northeastern winter monsoon (October – March) carries heavy rain to the north and east of the island.

The summer monsoon from the southwest gives the southern part calmer rain from May to September. Taiwan is in the path of the devastating cyclones, those in East Asia called typhoons.



35,981 km2 (2018)


Swedish + 7 hours

Capital with number of residents

Taipei 2,700,000

Other major cities

New Taipei City 3.9 million, Kaohsiung 2.7 million, Taichung 2.7 million, Tainan 1.8 (2013 estimate)

Highest mountain

Yu Shan (Mount Morrison, 3952 m asl)

Average Precipitation / month

Taipei 300 mm (June), 80 mm (Novermber)

Average / day

29 °C (July), 15 °C (Feb)



The Gambia ends diplomatic contact

The Gambia terminates diplomatic relations with Taiwan after 18 years. As a result, only three African countries have diplomatic contacts with Taiwan, which is recognized in total by 22 countries in the world. Beijing claims that there was no finger in the game and that the decision was made by Gambia President Yahya Jammeh.


Law changes after the death of conscripts

The vigorous protests and criticism of the military after a conscript died after military punishments (see July) lead to legislative changes. Military courts and prisons are closed and the military is no longer allowed to pursue legal proceedings against their own personnel in peacetime.

Sanctions against the Philippines are lifted

Taiwan cancels sanctions imposed on the Philippines in May after the death of a Taiwanese fisherman (see under May). The Philippines has then made an official apology and the fisherman’s family has received financial compensation. The sanctions stopped, among other things, Filipino workers from obtaining work permits in Taiwan and also affected Taiwanese tourism in the Philippines.

Another defense minister resigns

The new Secretary of Defense, Andrew Yang, is leaving only a few days after taking office. He is accused of plagiarizing a text in an article he has written.

MEPs in handgun

Crowds arise in Parliament when the Nationalist Party and the opposition come together for a vote on whether to hold a referendum on the construction of a fourth nuclear power plant in the country. The MPs box and hold water over each other before being dispelled by guards.


The Minister of Defense resigns after death

Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu resigns after it became known that a young conscriber had died after being forced to perform strenuous exercises in the blazing sun as a punishment. The incident triggers large demonstrations in the capital, and prosecution is brought against 18 officers for involvement in the case.


Chinese dissident visiting

Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng makes an 18-day visit to Taiwan, where he meets with opposition and discusses the human rights situation in China. Guangcheng’s trip is irritating in Beijing.


Conflict with the Philippines

The Taiwan government is vigorously protesting and demanding an apology since the Philippine Coast Guard killed a Taiwanese fisherman. The man sailed in sea areas in the South China Sea, which both Taiwan and the Philippines consider themselves entitled to. A few days later, the Philippines sends out a statement apologizing for the incident which is reported to be an accident. The Taiwan government does not accept the wording because it is believed that the many bullet holes in the fishing boat indicate otherwise. The Taiwanese government reiterates the demand for a formal apology, for compensation to the fisherman’s family and for an official investigation into the shooting. Taiwan also takes its representative to the Philippines and sends the Philippine representative to Taipei. In addition, Taiwan is holding a military exercise at sea in a march against the Philippines.


Controversial fishing permit

Japan and Taiwan agree that Taiwanese fishermen will be allowed to fish near the disputed archipelago Senkaku / Diaoyu (which both China and Taiwan and Japan claim). The agreement, which comes after close to two decades of negotiations, is met with outrage in Beijing.

Investment agreement with China

Agreement is reached on investment in the financial sector between Taipei and Beijing. It will be easier for companies from China to invest in the financial sector in Taiwan and Chinese banks will be allowed to buy larger items in local Taiwanese banks. At the same time, Taiwanese banks should more easily have the opportunity to start a second branch in Chinese cities.


New Prime Minister

In February 2013, Sean Chen resigns as Prime Minister and is succeeded by Jiang Yi-huah.


Conscription is abolished

Taiwan initiates a transition from a military-based system to a professional army. Men born after 1994 no longer have to do military service.

Taiwanese activists are chased away

A boat with Taiwanese activists planning to deploy a statue of a Taiwanese sea goddess on an island in the Senkaku archipelago (called Diaoytai in Taiwan and Diaoyu in China) is forced off by the Japanese coastal defense. The archipelago is controlled by Japan with both China and Taiwan claiming it (see China: Foreign Policy and Defense).