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To which language should you translate 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. 

What the 150 top websites do

Of the top 150 website (Global by design ranking):

  • 74/150 translate into Traditional Chinese.
  • 35/150 translate into English.
  • 1/150 translates into Taiwanese Sign Language.

If you need others information, below you can find a selection of economic/social/cultural data



Official language
Mandarin Chinese 83.5%

Other languages
Hokkien 81.9%, Hakka 6.6%, Formosan languages 1.4%


Capital: Taipei
Currency: New Taiwan dollar
Population: 23.57m
Population density: 650/km2


GDP: 790.7 billion USD (2023)
GDP per capita: 33,907 USD ‎(2023) ‎
Exports: $ 351billion (2019)


Internet users: 90.7% penetration, 21.68 million
Unemployment rate: 4.1% (2020)
Literacy: 98.5 % (2018)


Numbering system
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

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), ranked 4th out of 25 East Asia & Pacific countries and is ranked 15th among 190 economies worldwide. (2022, 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, and Other top retail sites include and

Economic freedom
‘Mostly free’ (80.7 out of 100), ranked 2nd out of 39 in Asia & Pacific countries and ranked 4th out of 186 countries worldwide (2022, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal).

Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal

Service Imports (2017)
Service Exports (2017)

Source: OEC

The Top Export Opportunities for Taiwan by Relatedness

Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product by showing only products that Taiwan is not specialized in.

Taiwan's Most Complex Exports

The Product Complexity Index (PCI) measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters.

Source: OEC

Taiwan's Most Specialized Products

Specialization is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA), an index that takes the ratio between Taiwan observed and expected exports in each product.

Most used payment methods among online shoppers in Taiwan in 2018

Source: OEC

Source: Statista

Leading mobile payment applications among respondents in Taiwan in 2019
Frequency of making e-payments among respondents in Taiwan in 2020

Source: Rakuten Insight



Reach most of the online purchasing power

T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales. It estimates the market share of each country in relation to global e-commerce.

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Media language
Chinese, English

Information channels
The media environment in Taiwan is among the freest in Asia and is extremely competitive. The main terrestrial TV networks tend to be politically partisan. Multichannel satellite 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. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to exert influence on Taiwanese media, says US-based NGO Freedom House. It adds that key media owners have significant business interests in China or rely on advertising by Chinese companies, “leaving them vulnerable to pressure and prone to self-censorship on topics considered sensitive by Beijing”.

The press

United Daily News – Chinese-language
China Times – Chinese-language daily
The Liberty Times – Chinese-language daily
Taipei Times – English-language daily
Taiwan News – English-language daily


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

News agency

Focus Taiwan – English-language service of state-run Central News Agency (CNA)

Media data source: BBC

Internet Data

Internet users
90.7% penetration, 21.68 million

Share of web traffic by device
42.86% mobile phones, 49.92% computers (laptops and desktops), 7.24% tablet devices, others 0.02%

Average speed of mobile Internet connection
68.04 Mbps

Average speed of fixed Internet connection
124.14 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 125.7%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 100%

Most popular web search engines
Google (92.27%), Yahoo! (5.21%), Bing (2.26%), CocCoc (0.09%), Baidu (0.05%), other (0.11%).

Most used social media
Facebook (55.76%), Instagram (13.38%),  Twitter (13.11%), Pinterest (9.37%), YouTube (6.6%), reddit (0.69%), VKontakte (0.37%), other (0.69%).

Internet data sources: Datareportal/Statcounter

Social statistics

Life expectancy
80.4 yrs (2020)

Healthcare expenditure
6.1% of GDP

Corruption perceptions Index
Taiwan scored 68 out of 100, ranked 25 out of 180 countries worldwide.

World Happiness Index
Taiwan ranked 26 out of 146 countries, with a score of 6.512.

Cultural Curiosities

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. 

Social statistics sources: WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF

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

Languages research

Dialects in Taiwan


  • Min-Nan

  • Mandarin

  • Hakka

  • Saisiyat

  • Atayal

  • Taroko

  • Tsou

  • Bunun

  • Amis

  • Rukai

  • Paiwan

  • Puyuma

  • Yami

Languages in Taiwan

Formosan languages


  • East Formosan

  • Western Plains

  • Northwest Formosan

  • Atayalic

  • Bunun

  • Tsouic

  • Rukai

  • Puyuma

  • Paiwan

  • Malayo-Polynesian

  • Uninhabited

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

Photo credit: Henry Co, Unsplash