Taiwan: The Heart of Asia

In December 2013, Google opened its first Asian data center in Taiwan, a feather in the cap for Taiwan’s burgeoning IT sector. IT has a long history with the economic identity of Taiwan; if you own a laptop from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS, or Apple, you are using a product made by Taiwanese computer suppliers. And while I.T. rightfully holds a prominent position in Taiwan’s economy, the economy is dynamic and shines in other fields as well.

With a land area just one-fourth the size of Georgia, Taiwan manages a GDP that is 17% larger. This small but prosperous nation is home to such diverse industries as the award-winning animation and visual effects company, Rhythm & Hues Studios, which invested $200 million to set up a visual-effects center in Taiwan. On the manufacturing side, Taiwan recently overtook Germany to become the world’s sixth-largest yacht maker. Such progress is the result of a business-friendly legal framework, open-market policies, and the strong credibility Taiwan has built as a place where productivity can thrive.

To fully harness the productivity potential it holds due to its relative position in Asia and among developed economies, Taiwan has also long worked closely with the U.S. to promote regional cooperation through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Among the 21 APEC countries, Taiwan holds the #10 spot. So strong is Taiwan’s economic reputation among the international community that, in its 2013 report, Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development rated Taiwan the 11th most competitive economy worldwide and 3rd in the Asia-Pacific region.

Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development rated Taiwan the 11th most competitive economy worldwide and 3rd in the Asia-Pacific region.

Strong economic competitive ratings signal that Taiwan is ready to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). With strong trade ties and similar economic philosophy, it is only natural that Taiwan is seeking U.S. support for TPP membership. Given the breadth and depth of Taiwan’s Asia-Pacific trading and investment relationships, Taiwan’s participation in TPP will not only create synergies but also open up new opportunities for the region’s economic vitality and continued growth.

And there is more to Taiwan than just business and technology. Taiwan is a land of breathtaking natural beauty. In 1544, Portuguese sailors called Taiwan “Ilha Formosa”, meaning “beautiful island.” Surrounded by ocean and situated on the edges of two tectonic plates, Taiwan boasts soaring mountains, lush forests, picturesque canyons, gorges, and white sand beaches, plus some of Asia’s finest lakes and valleys. Taiwan’s dynamic landscape along with its diverse plant and animal life make its scenery unique and inviting to urban socialites and naturists alike. Hiking, surfing, sailing and cycling are among the many popular outdoor activities to be enjoyed in Taiwan.

The richness of its natural resources and geographic position as regional trade partner makes Taiwan natural haven for exquisite cuisine, which incorporating influences from around the region. Characterized by natural freshness and exotic flavor, Taiwanese cuisine is one of the most highly rated worldwide. And no culinary tour of Taiwan would be complete without a visit to its famous street hawkers in its famous night markets—but come prepared with an empty stomach and a sense of adventure! Now, getting to Taiwan is as easy as getting around in Taiwan—since 2012 U.S. passport holders can visit Taiwan visa-free for up to 90 days. Major U.S. and international carriers serve major U.S. cities with passenger and cargo service, with connections through to Asia and beyond. But come see for yourself—Taiwan is open for business.