95+ Taiwan Facts & Statistics

We’ll dive into facts about various aspects of Taiwan. These will include history, technology, fun facts, and more. Keep reading to learn what’s in store.

I’ve learned a lot of impressive facts about Taiwan that make me wonder why they don’t play a larger role in the world stage. Keep reading to see what I found.


Key Takeaways

  • Taiwan produces 60% of the world’s semiconductors.
  • Food & beverage market to grow 3.7% by 2027.
  • $17,659 disposable income per capita.
  • 51.3% online shopping rate.
  • 6/10 people in Taiwan own scooters.
  • 55% recycling rate.
  • 9 national parks in Taiwan.
  • LGBTQ+ legal rights score: 85/100.
  • TSMC holds 61% global semiconductor foundry market share.

General Information

Official NameRepublic of China (ROC) / 中華民國 (Zhōnghuá Mínguó)
Common NameTaiwan /  臺灣 or 台灣 (Táiwān)
LocationIsland in East Asia, off the coast of China
CapitalTaipei / 臺北 or 台北 (Táibéi)
PopulationApproximately 23.9 million
Official LanguagesMandarin Chinese (Standard Mandarin), Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka, Formosan Aboriginal languages
GovernmentSemi-presidential republic
CurrencyNew Taiwan Dollar (NTD)
FlagRed flag with a blue canton containing a white sun with twelve triangular rays
Time ZoneUTC+8 (Coordinated Universal Time +8)
Country Code+886
National DayDouble Tenth Day (October 10th)
ReligionPredominantly Buddhist and Taoist, with a significant Christian minority.
National AnthemThree Principles of the People
Median Age42.5 years old
General information about Taiwan.

Geography

Here are some facts about Taiwan’s geography:

  1. Taiwan has an average of 226 earthquakes each year.
  2. Most quakes are between the magnitudes of 4.4 and 5.7.
  3. The country’s largest earthquake was  7.3 ML or 7.7 Mw in 1999.
  4. Has an average of 11 typhoons per year.
  5. 80.2% of the population lives in urban areas.
  6. The country’s total land area is 13,672 sq. miles (35,410 Km2).
  7. Taipei 101 was built to withstand wind speeds of up to 134 mph and the strongest earthquake in a 2,500-year cycle [1 PDF]
  8. 6 recorded instances of tsunamis have hit Taiwan since 1661.
  9. Has more than 268 mountain peaks.
  10. Taiwan’s highest mountain is Yushan. Standing at 3,952 meters (12,966 ft)
  11. Outlying islands: Taiwan governs several smaller outlying islands, including Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, Green Island, and Orchid Island.
    • There’s also Taiping Island, which is 1,637 km (2,634 miles) from mainland Taiwan. China (PROC), Vietnam, and the Philippines also claim this island.

Let’s move on to historical facts.


History

Check out these facts about Taiwan’s history:

  1. Despite being considered the nation’s founding father, Sun Yat-Sen allegedly visited Taiwan 3 times. 1900, 1913, and 1918 [2].
    • In 1924, Sun Yat-Sen visited Keelung Harbor but didn’t leave his boat.
  2. Tainan City was Taiwan’s capital from 1683 to 1887 under the Qing Dynasty [3].
    • Now it’s Taipei.
  3. Taiwan’s constitution labels the nation as the “Republic of China (ROC).” Or 中華民國 (Zhōnghuá Mínguó). However, most of the world knows the country as “Taiwan.”
  4. In the 17th century, the Dutch established a colony in southern Taiwan, followed briefly by the Spanish in the north.
  5. After the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, China (not the PROC) was forced to cede Taiwan to Japan.
  6. Despite political restrictions, Taiwan experienced rapid economic growth and became one of the “Asian Tigers” in the mid-’60s.
  7. Taiwan transitioned to a full democracy in the 1990s, culminating in the first direct presidential election in 1996.
  8. Sun Yat-sen studied in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  9. Sun Yat-sen had 4 wives from different countries [4 pretty disturbing].
    • Note: I heard he had 6 wives, but I couldn’t find information confirming this.
  10. Taiwan relocated many Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) statues to the Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park to address his controversial legacy.

Here’s a tidbit that deserves its own section.


Taiwan’s Past Name

Between the 13th and 17th centuries, Portuguese settlers came in contact with Taiwanese indigenous people and named the island Formosa.

1642

The Dutch and Spanish colonists lost control of the island to the Qing Dynasty (ancient China). Han Chinese immigrants fled to the island and renamed it Taiwan.

1885

It became the Republic of Formosa for a year until the Japanese Empire took control of Taiwan. After the Sino-Japanese war. Their rule lasted until 1945. They stuck with the name “Taiwan.”

The fallen Japanese Empire transferred the rule of Taiwan to the Republic of China, which the Kuomintang (KMT) led. Not the People’s Republic of China—what everyone calls “China.” 

After losing a civil war to the Chinese Communist Party, the KMT fled to Taiwan.

Today, Taiwan keeps the official name “Republic of China.” Why? This isn’t an article discussing geopolitical situations. You’d need to look elsewhere for that answer.


Taiwanese Culture & Pop Culture

Let’s brighten the mood a bit with some facts about Taiwanese culture:

  1. More than 15,000 Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, and Chinese folk temples spread throughout Taiwan’s cities and countryside.
  2. 22.3–2.4% of Taiwan’s population are indigenous peoples, while the Han ethnic group makes up 95% and new immigrants make up 2.6% [5].
    • When I mention Han Chinese, I also refer to subgroups like the Hakka people (in this scenario).
  3. It’s common in Taiwan for younger people to refer to elders as “aunts” or “uncles.”
    • 阿姨 (āyí) means a mother’s sister, and 叔叔 (shúshu) refers to a father’s younger brother. It’s a sign of respect and friendship.
  4. Taiwan has more than 300 night markets.
  5. Gift-giving is common for both personal and business occasions. For instance, you SHOULD NOT gift watches or shoes.
  6. While controversial for health reasons, betel nut chewing is a widespread habit.
  7. “Kawaii” culture from Japan influences Taiwan. Expect mascots for everything, an abundance of cute characters and products, and a tendency to adopt a high-pitched, cutesy voice.
  8. Taiwan is a major hub for Mandopop (Mandarin Chinese pop music), producing popular singers and bands throughout Asia, such as Jay Chou and Jolin Tsai.
  9. KTV parlors generate 37% of Taiwan’s entertainment tax revenue (2021).

Here are some interesting points that deserve dedicated sections.


1. Betel Nut Beauties

Around the 1980s, betel nut shop owners employed women and had them wear skimpy outfits. These women would then stand outside the shop and entice passing drivers to buy betel nuts.

Or you would have seen these women sitting inside glass boxes taking apart betel nuts.

Many girls found this gig an excellent way to get money due to dropping out of school or not having the best education. However, many Taiwanese people looked down upon many in these positions.

The business itself wasn’t ripe with prostitution. It may have happened in a few instances. But it’s not common. Nor are they places primarily run by gangsters.

In 2002 local governments began enforcing dress codes. Laws then erased betel nut beauty advertising. As it prevented girls from wearing outfits that were “too revealing.”

Here’s an interesting TEDTalk that covers betel nut girls in-depth:

I haven’t seen any betel nut girls throughout my time here.


2. Taiwan’s Funeral Pole Dancers

Since the 1980s, many Taiwanese families have hired pole dancers to perform at funerals, celebrating the lives of the deceased and attracting mourners.

You’d see them on stages or dancing on poles built into jeeps.

I once drove by one of these funerals. But it only happened for a second. I didn’t see much.

These funerals aren’t as common nowadays. But I don’t think they’re banned.

In 2017, 50 pole dancers brightened the gloomy mood of a Chiayi politician’s life [6].


3. Strange Taboos During Ghost Month

Some of Taiwan’s most popular ghost month taboos include:

TabooWhy it’s Bad
Avoid traveling along bodies of waterA water ghost may get you
Don’t fishYou may catch a ghost that morphed into a fish
Don’t whistle in the darkAttracts evil spirits
Avoid singing at nightAlso attracts spirits
Don’t take photos at nightA ghost may photobomb you
Avoid taking the last bus or trainSo a spirit won’t kidnap you
Don’t lean against wallsSpirits may absorb your energy
Avoid hanging clothes to dry outsideGhosts may possess your clothing
Don’t celebrate birthdays at nightGhosts will appear once you blow birthday candles
Taiwan ghost month taboos.

Taiwanese also refer to ghosts as Good Sisters (好姐妹) or Good Brothers (好兄弟).

Ghost month occurs throughout August when all the spirits enter our realm. Once September arrives, those spirits return “home.”

These superstitions are only for Ghost Month. The Taiwanese have plenty more interesting superstitions that I cover in a separate guide.


Technology

Check out these technology statistics and facts:

  1. Taiwan accounts for 18% of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity.
    • They produce 60% of the world’s semiconductors.
    • And 90% of the planet’s most advanced conductors.
  2. TSMC has a 61% market share of the global semiconductor foundry market (2024).
    • Samsung has an 11.3% market share.
  3. TSMC employees account for 1.8% of Taiwan’s newborns (2024).
  4. Taiwan’s TSMC has the 10th highest market cap out of all businesses globally [7].
    • At the time of writing.
  5. 18.98% 5G usage rate (2022) [8].
  6. 65.32% broadband penetration rate.
  7. 81.47% mobile penetration rate.
  8. 84.3% internet access rate.
  9. 34.27% mobile payment usage rate.
  10. 2.01% cryptocurrency holding rate.
  11. 23.56% e-book usage rate.
  12. 35.76% online game usage rate.
  13. 51.61% of social media users are on Facebook.
  14. Taiwan is home to more than 211 gaming companies (including MSI).

How do these numbers affect Taiwan’s economy? Let’s see.


Economy

Here are an overwhelming number of economic facts and statistics for Taiwan:

  1. Experts expect Taiwan’s food and beverage market to rise at a CAGR of 3.7% between the years 2022 and 2027.
  2. Convenience stores are Taiwan’s largest grocery channel, with a market size of USD 9.8 billion.
  3. 7-Eleven has a 59.7% market share (in 2022).
    • Family Mart has the second-highest share at 29.8%.
  4. Carrefour has the highest hypermarket market share at 20.6%.
  5. PX Mart has the highest supermarket share at 62.4%.
  6. Costco Taiwan has a sales CAGR of 9.6% between 2022 and 2027.
  7. Shopee has the highest e-commerce market share in Taiwan at 35.9%.
    • Momo shop has the second-highest at 14.4%.
  8. The average Taiwanese person in 2022 has USD 17,659 in disposable income per capita.
    • This number is expected to grow to $27,237 in 2032.
  9. Taiwan’s unemployment rate is 3.38%. Lower than the average global rate of 5.1% (2023).
  10. 3.43% economic growth rate (yoy) [9].
  11. The regular monthly earnings of all employees is NT$45,917 ($1,415 USD).
  12. Has USD 567.02 billion in foreign exchange reserves.
  13. Taiwan has a 51.3% online shopping rate.
    • 84.86% of those shoppers are ages 30-39 and use e-commerce apps.
    • 56.39% of total online shoppers are female.
    • 87.10% of them are graduate school students.
    • 61.58% live in Miaoli, Hsinchu, and/or Taoyuan.
  14. 29.7% of Taiwanese use food and beverage delivery services (e.g., Uber Eats).
  15. Food Panda has a 52% market share of food delivery services in Taiwan (2023) [10].
    • UberEats has a 48% market share.

Is food a big contributor to these numbers?


Taiwanese Food

Let’s see some facts about Taiwan’s food:

  1. The US leads Taiwan food and beverage imports at 20.6% [11 PDF].
  2. Meat is the largest food and beverages category in Taiwan with USD 4.92 billion worth of food consumed (in 2022)
  3. Taiwanese drank more than 2.85 billion cups of coffee (2021) with an average of 122 cups per person each year.
  4. The average Taiwanese person drinks 1.4 kg of tea each year.

Of course, I’m not going to forget to talk about bubble tea.


1. Bubble Tea Wars

In 1986, Taiwanese entrepreneur Tu Tsong experimented with mixing fen yuan (粉圓) with green tea. From there, he added large black tapioca balls in milk tea. Tu opened Hanlin the same year [12 HTTP link & Chinese-only text].

2 years later, Chun Shui Tang opened in Taichung. They also claimed the status of “the inventor of bubble tea.”

A 10-year court battle ensued. Eventually, Tu said something like, “it doesn’t matter who created it. [13 Chinese-only text]”


Fun Facts

These facts didn’t fit into any of the other categories:

  1. Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building from October 2004 until 2007 [14]. When the Burj Khalifa took its place.
  2. 24% of Taiwanese homes are single-person households.
    • 12.6% of households have 5+ people.
  3. New Taipei City is Taiwan’s largest city, with more than 4.5 million people.
  4. “4” is unlucky (it sounds like ‘death’), while “8” is prosperous (it sounds similar to ‘fortune’).
  5. 6/10 people in Taiwan own scooters (otherwise known as motorbikes).
  6. There are 365 cars per 1,000 people in Taiwan.
  7. Has a 55% recycling rate.
    • They recycle 73% of their plastic.
  8. The country burns the rest of its waste.
  9. Has 9 national parks.
  10. Taiwan is the 4th safest country in the world in 2024 (so far) behind Andorra, UAE, and Qatar.
  11. Has a score of 85/100 Equality Index score in legal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals.
  12. Has a forest coverage rate of around 60.71%.

Here’s a cool tidbit that deserves a separate section.


Taiwan Garbage Trucks Play Music

As Taiwanese garbage trucks approach pickup spots, they’ll play one of these songs:

1. Für Elise by Beethoven

2. The Maiden’s Prayer by Bądarzewska-Baranowska

A recycle truck will follow the trash trucks on most routes. I’ve heard 1 recycling truck play music, but I can’t find the song’s name. And since I don’t live by that route anymore, I can’t record a video of that specific truck.

Most recycling trucks won’t play music, though.


Animal Facts

And finally, here are some facts about Taiwanese animals:

  1. Has over 400 species of butterflies.
  2. Around 674 species of birds in Taiwan.
  3. Taiwan is home to the endemic Formosan black bear.
  4. Around 60 species of snakes, 16 of which are poisonous, 6 of them are lethal.
  5. The Formosan sika deer, once near extinction, has made a comeback thanks to conservation efforts.
  6. The Mikado pheasant, striking black and white plumage, is a highly protected endemic and unofficial national bird.
  7. The Taiwan blue magpie is supposedly the national bird, though apparently, the vote wasn’t formally accepted.
  8. More than 2,831 fish species.

Those are all the facts that I have for now.

Let me know if you have any statistics or interesting (non-political) facts about Taiwan that I should know about.