Taiwan is a small island located in eastern Asia, bordering the east china sea, the Philippine sea, the Taiwan strait, off the southeastern coast of china.
The population of Taiwan in 2004 was about 22.5 million people. The population growth rate is 0.62%. the birth rate is 12 births/1000 population as of 2004. The death rate is 6.4/1000 population.
The total sex ratio is 1.04 males per 1 females. The total infant mortality rate is 6 deaths/1000 live births. The life expectancy at birth is 77.4 years, while the total fertility rate is about 1.5 children born to one woman as of 2004. In 2004 the net migration rate was zero percent (Manthorpe, 74).
The ethnic groups comprise around 80% of Taiwanese (comprising Hakka ethnic group), Chinese-17%, aboriginal/native citizens-2% and other-1%. Mandarin Chinese is the official language although Taiwanese (Min) and Hakka languages are spoken. The population is predominantly Buddhist/Confucian-90%, yet there are some Christian communities (5%) and other religions -5% (Kim, 113).
Taiwan is a capitalist economy with the GDP for the year ended 2004 totally $606 billion (at purchasing power parity). With the official exchange rate, the GDP is $330 billion. The GDP growth rate for the same period had been 4% with the purchasing power parity/GDP per capita totally $26 thousand. The GDP derives 65% from services, 30% from industry and about 5% from agriculture. The labor force comprises 10 million with the unemployment rate totaling 5%. The population below poverty line is 1%. Speaking about the inflation, in 2005 it had been only 2%. As for the household income distribution, the lowest 10% of the population earn 6.5% of the total income, while the highest 10% of the population earn 42% of the total nation’s income (Kim, 113).
Speaking about communications one needs to note that Taiwan is highly advanced, completely digitized with more than 14 million telephone lines in use. The number of cell phone users reached 25 million.
The country possesses 40 airports and 3 heliports. Taiwan has a well developed pipeline for natural gas and a well developed railway system covering over 2500 kilometers. The roadways cover over 38 thousand kilometers with 90% of the roads being paved. The country has a small merchant maritime fleet totally 130 ships with 1000 GRT and over (Bender, 187).
Taiwan has small oil and natural gas reserves which account for approximately 12% of the total demand of Taiwan for natural gas and oil. The current account balance is over $15 billion with the exports totaling $186 billion and imports totaling $173 billion. The major export partners are China which accounts for 40% of all exports, the USA which accounts for 16% and Japan which accounts for 8% of all exports. The largest import partners are Japan (27% of all imports), the USA (14% of all imports), China (14% of all imports) and South Korea (which accounts for 8% of all imports).
Currently there exist no trade restrictions against Taiwan from other countries as well as there exist no restrictions in trade with other countries in Taiwan. The gross fixed investment in the Taiwanese economy reached 21% of the GDP with the government budget totaling $75 billion in 2005. The public debt accounts for 35% of the GDP (MacDonald, 201).
Taiwan is a modern country which adopts and develops modern technology related to electronics, medicine and semiconductors. The country is a regional leader in producing microchips for major IT and computer companies headquartered in the USA, Japan, and Europe. There is a trend of former Taiwanese suppliers of semiconductors and other electronics to the west to integrating upwards to become the major distributors of branded computer technology and electronics competing directly with the companies that formerly outsourced production to Taiwan.
Speaking about the international disputes, one should note disputes with China, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia over the Spratly islands located in the Chinese sea. Currently the islands are occupied by China yet claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
Taiwan at present is a regional transit point for heroin and other opiates, let alone methamphetamine. The drugs go from Taiwan to mainland china, Hong Kong and Japan.
Bender, Andrew, Lonely Planet Taiwan (Lonely Planet Taiwan), Prentice Hall, 2005.
MacDonald, National Geographic Traveler: Taiwan (National Geographic Traveler), McGraw Hill, 2005.
Manthorpe, Jonathan, Forbidden Nation : A History of Taiwan, NY Random House, 2004.
Kim, Vivien, Insight Guide Taiwan (Insight Guides), Wiley and sons press, 2004.
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