Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China. Through decades of hard work and sound management, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure, and at the same time, Taiwan has transformed itself from an underdeveloped, agricultural island to an economic power that is a leading producer of high-technology goods. The island prospered and became one of East Asia's economic "Tigers by the end of 20th century. The dominant political issues continue to be the relationship between Taiwan and China - specifically the question of Taiwan's eventual status - as well as domestic political and economic reform. In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist to the Democratic Progressive Party.
Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing government guidance of investment and foreign trade. By 2010, Taiwan had a GDP, adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, of $821.8 billion, placing its economy as the 19th largest economy around the world. Exports, led by electronics and machinery, generate about 70% of Taiwan's GDP growth, and have provided the primary impetus for economic development. In 2009, Taiwan's GDP contracted 1.9%, due primarily to a 20% year-on-year decline in exports. In 2010 GDP grew 10.5%, as exports returned to the level of previous years.
Despite the success it has achieved in the past decades, Taiwan is in the face of new and long-term challenges arising from diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and rapidly aging. And closer economic links with the mainland brings challenges for the Taiwan economy. Free trade agreements have proliferated in East Asia over the past several years, but so far Taiwan has been excluded from this greater economic integration, largely because of its diplomatic status. Taiwan's Total Fertility rate of just over one child per woman is among the lowest in the world, raising the prospect of future labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues. Taiwan's population is aging quickly, with the number of people over 65 accounting for 10.9% of the island's total population as 2011.
Taiwan has focused much of its efforts on improving the cross-Strait economic relationship. In June 2010, Taiwan and the mainland signed the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), an agreement that the Taiwan authorities hope will eventually lead to a free-trade arrangement. Also, the Taiwan authorities have said that the ECFA will serve as a stepping stone toward trade pacts with other regional partners.
HolidaysJan 1-3 - Founding of the Republic of China and New Year's Day
Jan 3 - Bank Holiday
Feb 9-11* - Chinese New Year
Mar 29 - Youth Day
Apr 5 - Tomb-Sweeping Day and Anniversary of President Chiang Kai-shek's Passing
Jul 1 - Bank Holiday
Jun 22 - Dragon Boat Festival
Sep 28* - Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
Sep 28 - Teacher's Day (Confucius' Birthday)
Oct 10 - National Day
Oct 25 - Taiwan's Retrocession Day
Oct 31 - Birthday of Chiang Kai-shek
Nov 12 - Birthday of Dr Sun Yat-sen
Dec 25 - Constitution Day
Ps: These festivals' dates(*) given above are approximations which are subject to change every new year.
Country Code: 886
Outgoing International Code: 002
CIA - The World Factbook - Taiwan
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Government Information Office
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Employment in Taiwan