To localize in Taiwan
What we know from our community
As compact as it may be, Taiwan is home to a variety of ethnic groups and customs. Currently, there are 46 languages (and their own dialects) spoken on the Formosa. Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language, which shares some similar traits with the one spoken in China. As a matter of fact, “Chinese” is a melting pot that contains many languages, and the one that people commonly refer to is exactly the Mandarin Chinese.
However, when it comes to writing system, there are two types – Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. The former is used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, and the latter is used in China. Attention! Hong Kong speaks Mandarin and Cantonese, therefore, their written text in Traditional Chinese is very different from the one used in Taiwan.
Traditional Chinese, as the name puts it, is the linguistic system evolving from the ancient Chinese culture. When it comes to localizing into ZH-TW, it is important to differentiate the usage of terms and expressions from those of ZH-HK and ZH-CN. For instance, potato is called 馬鈴薯 (malingshu) in Taiwan, whereas it’s called 土豆 (tudou) in China. Nonetheless, if you say 土豆 (tudou) to a Taiwanese, it doesn’t ring a bell in Mandarin, but since its sound is very similar to that of peanut (花生) in Taiwanese Hokkien, we will take it as peanut. Another example is the word 中文 (zhongwen). In Taiwan it means Mandarin, but it means Cantonese in Hong Kong.
Now, if you need others information about that country to make your decision, below you can find a selection of economic/social/cultural data
Mandarin Chinese 83.5%
Hokkien 81.9%, Hakka 6.6%, Formosan languages 1.4%
Moderate proficiency (EF) – 32 of 100 countries/regions in the world- 4/24 position in Asia.
Currency: New Taiwan dollar
Population density: 650/km2
GDP: 611.26 billion USD (2020)
GDP per capita: 25,25.81 USD (2019)
Exports: $ 351billion (2019)
Internet users: 86% penetration, 20.51 million
Unemployment rate: 4.1% (2020)
Literacy: 98.5 % (2018)
Arabic numbering system and point as decimal separator
Date format: yyyy-mm-dd
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 00886
Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal
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Facts and data
$264 billion (2019). Integrated Circuits ($42.1B), Crude Petroleum ($24.9B), Photo Lab Equipment ($13.4B), Petroleum Gas ($7.41B), and Refined Petroleum ($6.99B), importing mostly from China ($54.8B), Japan ($41.6B), United States ($30B), South Korea ($16.2B), and Singapore ($10B).
Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of age)
• 94% have an account with a financial institution
• 53% have a credit card
• 43% make online purchases
Ease of doing business
It is very easy to conduct business (rated 80.9 out of 100) 4th out of 20 Asia Pacific countries is ranked 13th among 190 economies worldwide. (2019, World Bank).
$351 billion (2019). Integrated Circuits ($114B), Office Machine Parts ($14.2B), Computers ($8.89B), Refined Petroleum ($8.79B), and LCDs ($6.78B), exporting mostly to China ($90.5B), United States ($49.2B), Hong Kong ($41B), Japan ($23.8B), and Singapore ($22.9B).
Main local online stores
ruten.com.tw, shopee.tw and taobao.com. Other top retail sites include momoshop.com.tw and books.com.tw
‘Mostly free’ (78.6 out of 100) 4th out of 40 countries in Asia Pacific 6th worldwide out of 186 countries (2019, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal).
Service Imports (2017)
Service Exports (2017)
Most Complex Products by PCI
Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters
Most Specialised Products by RCA Index
Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Taiwan observed and expected exports in each product
Export Opportunities by Relatedness
Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Taiwan is not specialized in
Most used payment methods among online shoppers in Taiwan in 2018
Leading mobile payment applications among respondents in Taiwan in 2019
Source: Rakuten Insight
Frequency of making e-payments among respondents in Taiwan in 2020
Source: Rakuten Insight
The media environment in Taiwan is among the freest in Asia and is extremely competitive. Outlets “reflect a diversity of views and report aggressively on government policy”, says Freedom House. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says Beijing exerts pressure on Taiwanese media owners and that Taiwanese journalists “are suffering from a very polarised media environment dominated by sensationalism and the pursuit of profit”. The main terrestrial TV networks tend to be politically partisan. Multichannel satellites and cable TV are very popular. There are more than 170 radio stations, many of them with specific music formats. Phone-in programmes are particularly popular. There are hundreds of newspapers, all privately-owned. There were more than 22 million internet users – nearly 93% of the population – by December 2018 (InternetWorldStats.com). Facebook and messaging platform Line are leading social media destinations. A 2019 Hootsuite/We Are Social survey found that 99% of Taiwanese internet users accessed a social network or a messaging platform at least once a month. Facebook was the most used social platform and Line was the most-used messaging app.
China Television Company (CTV) – commercial
Chinese Television System (CTS)
Taiwan Television Enterprise (TTV) – commercial
Formosa Television (FTV) – commercial
Public Television Service (PTS) – non-profit public broadcaster
Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC) – national and regional networks
CBS-Radio Taiwan International – national broadcaster; also beams services to mainland China and the rest of the world in various languages and Chinese dialects
International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) – English-language FM station
Focus Taiwan – English-language service of state-run Central News Agency (CNA)
Media data source: BBC
86% penetration, 20.51 million
Share of web traffic by device
43.7% mobile phones, 50.4% computers (laptops and desktops), 5.8% tablet devices, others 0.02%
Average speed of mobile Internet connection
Average speed of fixed Internet connection
Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 119%
Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 100%
Most popular web search engines
Google (93.54%), Yahoo (5.41%), Bing (0.95%), Baidu (0.05%), Ecosia (0.01%), Duckduckgo (0.01%)
Most used social media
Facebook (46.3%), Twitter(41.59%), Pinterest (5.4%), YouTube (3.53%), Instagram (2.67%), reddit (0.22%)
80.4 yrs (2020)
6.1% of GDP
Average age of the population
42.5 yrs (2020)
The Taiwanese often have money related conversations, questions about salaries or about the cost of clothes one is wearing are to be answered with honesty regardless of the figures. So do not be scared to discuss figures in a direct way when doing business there.
Many Taiwanese names have a direct meaning, for a foreigner it is a nice way to make small talk and break the ice to ask about it.
The Data Factbook is a work in progress project. Our community is helping us to fill it up always with new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write your advices at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dialects in Taiwan
Languages in Taiwan
The language research that you will find in the maps published in this section is a work in progress. Our community is helping us to fill it up with always new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write to email@example.com
Photo credit: Henry Co, Unsplash