Taiwan is about the same size as the Netherlands, with around 23 million citizens a slightly bigger population, and is like the Netherlands an export driven economy. Another similarity with the Netherlands is that over 80 percent of the Taiwanese economy exists of small- and medium-sized companies, and that the majority of the economy consists of services.
Taiwan is one of the ‘Asian tigers’, together with Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, which successfully underwent the change from agricultural based economies, to manufacturing driven economies, to developed ICT hubs.
Taiwan maintains strong ties with the international business community and is an open economy, where about 40% of all consumer products are imported. Taiwan has been a member of the WTO since 2001, and is the world’s leading supplier of computer chips, responsible for the production of about 90% of the world’s computer chips.
Taiwan welcomes international trade and receives high rankings from the World Bank for its ‘Ease of Doing Business’, because of its strong legal environment with protection of Intellectual Property Rights, highly educated human capital and good business facilities.
Taiwan is a medium-sized market and easily accessible with high levels of disposable income. Due to the similar cultural and linguistic background with mainland China, Taiwan is also the biggest investor in mainland China.
Taiwan has seven major cities: Taipei, New Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan, Taoyuan and Hsinchu. Taipei is the main commercial, political and cultural centre. Kaohsiung is an industrial hub with the biggest port in Taiwan. Taichung, located in the middle of Taiwan, is known as the bicycle capital of the world. Finally, the city of Hsinchu is Taiwan’s high-tech and IT hub with the highest GDP growth in recent years. Tainan, the former capital, is noteworthy in terms of its historical links with the Netherlands, its traditional prowess in agriculture, and developing ICT industry.