Taiwan Economy Stats


Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing government guidance of investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some large, state-owned banks and industrial firms have been privatized. Exports, led by electronics and machinery, generate about 70% of Taiwan's GDP growth, and have provided the primary impetus for economic development. This heavy dependence on exports makes the economy vulnerable to downturns in world demand. In 2009, Taiwan's GDP fell by 1.9%, due primarily to a 20% year-on-year decline in exports. GDP grew more than 8% in 2010, as exports returned to the level of previous years. Taiwan's diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and rapidly aging population are major long-term challenges. Free trade agreements have proliferated in East Asia over the past several years, but so far Taiwan has been excluded from this greater economic integration, largely for reasons of diplomacy. Taiwan's birth rate of only 1.2 child per woman is among the lowest in the world, raising the prospect of future labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues. Taiwan's population is aging quickly, with the number of people over 65 accounting for 10.8% of the island's total population as of the end of 2009. The island runs a large trade surplus, and its foreign reserves are the world's fourth largest, behind China, Japan, and Russia. Since President MA Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, cross-Strait economic ties have increased significantly. Since 2005 China has overtaken the US to become Taiwan's second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island's number one destination for foreign direct investment. Taipei has focused much of its economic recovery effort on improving cross-Strait economic integration. Three financial memorandums of understanding, covering banking, securities, and insurance, took effect in mid-January 2010, opening the island to greater investments from the Mainland's financial firms and institutional investors, and providing new opportunities for Taiwan financial firms to operate in China. Taiwan and the mainland in June 2010 signed the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), an agreement similar to a free-trade agreement deal that will increase cross-Strait economic ties by lowering tariffs on a number of goods. Taiwan's goverment has said that the ECFA will serve as a stepping stone toward trade pacts with other regional partners and announced the beginning of negotiations on such an agreement with Singapore in August.


  • Budget > Revenues: Revenues calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms
  • Budget surplus > + or deficit > -: This entry records the difference between national government revenues and expenditures, expressed as a percent of GDP. A positive (+) number indicates that revenues exceeded expenditures (a budget surplus), while a negative (-) number indicates the reverse (a budget deficit). Normalizing the data, by dividing the budget balance by GDP, enables easy comparisons across countries and indicates whether a national government saves or borrows money. Countries with high budget deficits (relative to their GDPs) generally have more difficulty raising funds to finance expenditures, than those with lower deficits.
  • Debt > Government debt > Public debt, share of GDP: Public debt as % of GDP (CIA).

    No date was available from the Wikipedia article, so we used the date of retrieval.

  • Exports: This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise exports on an f.o.b. (free on board) basis. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.
  • Exports > Commodities: This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued exported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value.
  • Exports per capita: This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise exports on an f.o.b. (free on board) basis. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Figures expressed per capita for the same year.
  • Fiscal year: The beginning and ending months for a country's accounting period of 12 months, which often is the calendar year but which may begin in any month. All yearly references are for the calendar year (CY) unless indicated as a noncalendar fiscal year (FY).
  • GDP > Composition by sector > Industry: The gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods produced by the industrial sector within a nation in a given year. GDP dollar estimates in the Factbook are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations. See the CIA World Factbook for more information.
  • GDP > Composition, by sector of origin > Services: This entry is derived from Economy > GDP > Composition, by sector of origin, which shows where production takes place in an economy. The distribution gives the percentage contribution of agriculture, industry, and services to total GDP, and will total 100 percent of GDP if the data are complete. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other private economic activities that do not produce material goods.
  • GDP > Per capita: This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measure is difficult to compute, as a US dollar value has to be assigned to all goods and services in the country regardless of whether these goods and services have a direct equivalent in the United States (for example, the value of an ox-cart or non-US military equipment); as a result, PPP estimates for some countries are based on a small and sometimes different set of goods and services. In addition, many countries do not formally participate in the World Bank's PPP project that calculates these measures, so the resulting GDP estimates for these countries may lack precision. For many developing countries, PPP-based GDP measures are multiples of the official exchange rate (OER) measure. The difference between the OER- and PPP-denominated GDP values for most of the weathly industrialized countries are generally much smaller. Per capita figures expressed per 1 population.
  • GDP > Per capita > PPP: This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population as of 1 July for the same year.
  • Inflation rate > Consumer prices: This entry furnishes the annual percent change in consumer prices compared with the previous year's consumer prices.
  • Population below poverty line: National estimates of the percentage of the population lying below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations.
  • Public debt: This entry records the cumulatiive total of all government borrowings less repayments that are denominated in a country's home currency. Public debt should not be confused with external debt, which reflects the foreign currency liabilities of both the private and public sector and must be financed out of foreign exchange earnings.
  • Unemployment rate: This entry contains the percent of the labor force that is without jobs. Substantial underemployment might be noted.
Budget > Revenues $78.38 billion 2013 39th out of 223
Budget surplus > + or deficit > - -2.6% of GDP 2012 84th out of 182
Debt > Government debt > Public debt, share of GDP 36 CIA 2014 99th out of 153
Exports $299.80 billion 2012 20th out of 189
Exports > Commodities electronics, flat panels, machinery; metals; textiles, plastics, chemicals; optical, photographic, measuring, and medical instruments 2013
Exports per capita $12,902.98 2012 26th out of 189
Fiscal year calendar year 2013
GDP > Composition by sector > Industry 29.6% 2012 81st out of 217
GDP > Composition, by sector of origin > Services 68.2% 2012 61st out of 189
GDP > Per capita $30,561.44 per capita 2007 28th out of 183
GDP > Per capita > PPP $38,400.00 2012 18th out of 188
Inflation rate > Consumer prices 1.9% 2012 166th out of 199
Population below poverty line 1.5% 2012 17th out of 17
Public debt 35.8% of GDP 2012 102nd out of 149
Unemployment rate 4.2% 2012 96th out of 112

SOURCES: CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 28 March 2011; CIA World Factbooks 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; Wikipedia: List of countries by public debt (List) (Public debt , The World Factbook , United States Central Intelligence Agency , accessed on March 21, 2013.); CIA World Factbooks 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. Population figures from World Bank: (1) United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects, (2) United Nations Statistical Division. Population and Vital Statistics Report (various years), (3) Census reports and other statistical publications from national statistical offices, (4) Eurostat: Demographic Statistics, (5) Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Statistics and Demography Programme, and (6) U.S. Census Bureau: International Database.; All CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 18 December 2008; CIA World Factbook 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; CIA World Factbooks 18 December 2003 to 28 March 2011


"Taiwan Economy Stats", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Taiwan/Economy

  • Taiwan has ranked last for population below poverty line since 2000.
  • Taiwan ranked #4 for GDP > per capita > PPP amongst East Asia and Pacific in 2012.
  • Taiwan ranked second for industrial > production growth rate globally in 2010.
  • Taiwan ranked #6 for budget > revenues amongst Densely populated countries in 2013.