Taiwan: Largest Non-UN Economy, Trade Profile Shaped by Bilateral Trade with China


Taiwan is the most economically successful state among countries that are not members of the United Nations. Taiwan’s GDP per capita of $25,000/person is nearly three times that of one of the strongest economies in the world: China. Taiwan also bypasses China based on purchasing power parity. We take a look at today’s Viz of the Day at Taiwan’s existing trade relations to better understand why its economy could be affected by evolving US-China relations.

Taiwan, an island off the southwestern coast of China, is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations. Today, Taiwan is home to 23.7 million people, a population comparable to that of Xinjiang, Beijing, and Shanghai. Despite a recent economic slowdown, Taiwan’s GDP per capita stands at $25,000, nearly triple that of China. In terms of PPP, Taiwan ranks 77th in the world; China ranks 108th.

While Taiwan is an economic success, the island remains economically dependent on China. China is Taiwan’s largest exports partner. Taiwan’s exports to China amounted to $89 billion in 2017 or about 28 percent of Taiwan’s total exports by value. In comparison, the total value of Taiwan’s exports to the US were $37 billion last year.

Taiwan Trade: Partner Dependence

For the past decade, China has been by far Taiwan’s largest export market. In 2017, Taiwan’s exports to China amounted to $89 billion, an estimated 28% of Taiwan’s total exports by value. In comparison, the total value of Taiwan’s exports to the US was $37 billion in the same year.

Taiwan Trade: Commodity Concentration
Taiwanese exports and imports are highly concentrated in electronic products, over half of which are delivered to/from China.

Data Sources

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