The Economy of Taiwan
During the past 12,000 to 15,000 years, Aboriginal peoples resided in Taiwan. The economy of Taiwan is still very much dependent on the Indigenous peoples.
During the past 60 years, Taiwan’s industry has become a powerful engine of the economy. The island is an export-oriented economy. The exports of Taiwan are largely made up of basic metals, rubber, plastics, mineral products, and electronics.
Although Taiwan’s economy has developed rapidly over the past 40 years, it still faces some challenges. Among these challenges, Taiwan’s economy is highly vulnerable to downturns in the world economy. The economy could slip in the second half of this year, especially if “global risk” increases.
In the early post-war years, Taiwan’s economy was dominated by SOEs, which took over Japanese firms after the war. They remained dominant until the early 1970s. After that, small firms started to emerge as the main players in Taiwan’s economy.
The textile and apparel industry was the leading sector in the early post-war years. However, it has since declined. In the early 1970s, textile and apparel industries contributed over 23 percent of the total manufacturing value added.
Taiwan’s economy has also seen labour shortages. This has forced companies to relocate factories and adopt automation. In addition, Taiwan has become more dependent on foreign fuel imports. It buys coal from Indonesia, Australia, and South Africa.
Taiwan’s industrial output index fell by 4.8 percent in September compared to a year ago. This was the first time that the index has dropped since March. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) released the latest industrial production index reading on 23rd September. It showed a non-seasonally adjusted growth of 3.7 percent in August.
Foreign fuel imports
Traditionally, discussion of Taiwan’s energy future has focused on the security of its energy supplies in the Strait of Hormuz and the United States’ energy exports to Taiwan. However, new dynamics are shaping the future of energy sustainability and affordability in Taiwan, as well as the wider Asia Pacific region.
One of the most important drivers of Taiwan’s energy future will be technological change. For instance, advances in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable energy technologies are creating dynamic new opportunities. However, to fully capitalize on these opportunities, Taiwan must first develop a robust investment climate, a policy reform agenda, and a broader suite of energy reforms.
Taiwan’s energy future also faces a number of traditional risks, such as political instability in oil-producing countries and temporary price swings. However, Taiwan’s economic growth has been fueled by foreign trade, which makes the country exceptionally vulnerable to energy market risks.
Taiwan is also facing an energy transition that requires rapid expansion of renewable energy technologies. Specifically, Taiwan has embarked on a path to decarbonization by shifting away from coal-based power. It plans to increase the use of wind power, photovoltaics, and natural gas.
The country’s energy transition also has to overcome challenges of scale. Currently, Taiwan imports nearly all its energy needs. It needs to diversify its fuel mix and hold down fuel costs. It also needs to implement policies that encourage world-class energy investments and promote international partnerships.
Among the key export markets for Taiwan are China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. The exports from Taiwan to these markets have been growing since 2016. In the future, Taiwan’s trade surplus will hit a new high of more than US$70 billion in 2022.
Taiwan’s imports from China have increased by 71% over the past five years. The finished products are shipped to North America and Europe. Taiwan has been buying more products from China to diversify its exports.
Taiwan’s imports from the United States have increased by 3.2 percent in the past year. The top purchases from Taiwan were electrical machinery and vehicles. The United States has ranked behind Taiwan and Southeast Asia in terms of goods exports to Taiwan.
Taiwan’s imports increased due to higher purchases of machinery and mineral products. Taiwan’s exports to mainland China and Hong Kong grew by nearly double in the past five years.
The United States ranked as the fourth-largest trading partner for Taiwan, behind China, Hong Kong and Japan. Taiwan’s trade with the United States increased by 13.6 percent in the past year.
Taiwan’s imports from China were more than double the previous year. Taiwan imported goods valued at $77.1 billion in 2020. The share of Taiwan’s imports from China was 21.6 percent in 2021. The share of Taiwan’s imports from ASEAN member states was 18.4% in 2020.
Taiwan’s exports to mainland China grew by nearly double in the past five months. Taiwan’s trade balance with China and Hong Kong was 86.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.
Aboriginal peoples on Taiwan for 12,000 to 15,000 years
Thousands of years ago, Taiwan was home to Aboriginal peoples. These peoples migrated to Taiwan from southern China and Austronesia. They have lived on Taiwan for at least 12,000 to 15,000 years.
In the early seventeenth century, the Dutch occupied Taiwan. They used the island as a base for trade with Japan. They subdued the area through military force and through treaties with local Aboriginal peoples. They were able to take over most of the island by the early 1700s.
In the late seventeenth century, the Spanish settled on the northwest coast of Taiwan. They gave the island the name Formosa. They traded meat for iron. Their trade in deerskins was lucrative. This trade, however, decimated the deer population. The aborigines’ livelihood was weakened, and many took up farming.
During the Qing dynasty, Taiwan became part of the Fujian province. The Han population increased dramatically during this time. They brought Confucianized beliefs with them, and many aborigines adopted their religious practices. They also assumed Han surnames. The influx of Han settlers may have increased birth rates.
Taiwan was formally ceded to Japan in 1895. During the Japanese occupation, more than half of the Taiwanese Aboriginal peoples were forced to move. This undermined their traditional governance and social structures.
During the Kuomintang period, the KMT maintained a high level of power in the aboriginal districts. Several bills promoted by aboriginal groups were passed by the government. After the transition to democracy, the KMT held power for another decade. It also adopted several human rights initiatives.
Abundant forex reserves
During the global financial crisis of 2008, Taiwan’s economy suffered a downturn. This led to a decline in foreign exchange reserves. However, Taiwan still ranks among the world’s top five foreign currency reserve holders. Its current account deficit is manageable. The economy has enough capacity to maintain financial markets stable, according to Taiwan’s central bank.
In addition to foreign currency reserves, Taiwan also has a strong banking system. The central bank maintains a stable money supply, and it also regulates the currency. Taiwan’s financial markets have experienced a downturn because of worries about a slowing global economy. The economy also experienced a recession in 2001. This was a result of a widening interest rate gap with the U.S. However, Taiwan’s economy recovered.
Taiwan’s economy is characterized by high growth in the service sector. Two thirds of the country’s GDP is generated by this sector, which includes health and social care, insurance, government services, education, and retail and wholesale trade. The economy also has a significant transportation sector.
Taiwan’s economy was once a major trading center in East Asia. However, it had a period of decline after World War II. Taiwan’s economy recovered after the global recession. However, it has been facing military tensions with China. Taiwan objects to China’s claims of sovereignty. The government has resorted to promoting exports as a way to boost economic growth.
Taiwan’s industrialization began with textiles and light industry. It then progressed to more labour-intensive production, including computers and integrated circuits. Small companies played an important role in the nation’s success in exports.
TSMC’s (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) shares in Taiwan continue to climb this year. The company surpassed all competitors’ growth estimates and reported higher-than-expected sales for the third quarter.
The Taiwanese company has a unique position as the world’s leading chipmaker, thanks to its advanced process technology. It has a supply chain that spans the globe, with most of its major suppliers based in China, the United States and Japan.
TSMC’s net revenue increased by 8% from the previous year, thanks to strong demand for its advanced nodes of silicon. TSMC’s operating margin grew to 46.2%, a higher-than-expected number for the company. TSMC’s share price increased by 3.73 percent in Taipei yesterday.
TSMC’s stock price is still down about a third of its value this year, but it has climbed by a healthy 3.5% in the last few weeks. The company’s capital expenditure budget for the year was reduced by 10%, compared to last year’s plan. TSMC said that its business is strong, but it’s being more conservative about investments in the future.
TSMC’s stock price has also been hurt by rising interest rates, inflation and concerns over the strength of global demand for semiconductors. Investors remain cautious ahead of the October inflation data. However, the market has recently found a bottom as the Fed’s hawkish stance has eased concerns about a recession.
While TSMC’s stock price has been lagging behind its peers, its earnings have been growing at a robust rate. The company’s EPS is expected to grow by an impressive 42% this year and 8% next year. Its forward dividend yield is also attractive at 2.3%.