Ease of Doing Business Rank: 13
Taiwan, or the Republic of China, is an island nation in East Asia. It consists of a large main island and smaller islands in the Penghu archipelago, South China Sea, and near the Chinese coast.
It is surrounded by the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, Luzon Strait, and South China Sea.
China lies to the west, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan to the north, and the Philippines lie to the south.
Taiwan’s official languages are Mandarin Chinese, Standard Mandarin, and Taiwanese Mandarin. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely-spoken.
Additionally, many residents speak English since the state has many economic connections to the West. Minority languages such as the Hakka dialect of Chinese and Formosan languages are also spoken by indigenous peoples.
The 2019 population is approximately 23.75 million.
The majority of the population lives in urban centers near the coast. The largest cities are New Taipei (3.9 million), Taipei City (2.7 million), Keelung (7.0 million), Kaohsiung City (2.7 million), Taichung City (2.7 million) and Tainan City (1.8 million).
The top industries in Taiwan are electronics and information technology, research and development, manufacturing, communications, petroleum refining, chemicals, armaments, food processing, and textiles.
The Times Higher Education World Rankings lists 21 Taiwanese universities in the top 1,000 in the world.
Many countries do not differentiate Taiwan’s rankings from China’s as they do not officially recognize it as an independent nation.
The most common business entities in Taiwan are Limited Liability Company, Limited Partnership, and Company Limited by Shares.
The most commonly incorporated entity in Taiwan is the Limited Liability Company.
Taiwan offers tax incentives in free-trade-zones, processing zones, and science parks. Companies may also qualify for tax credits in specific industries such as biotech.
Taiwan also offers R&D credits of up to 15% of qualifying expenses incurred up to 30% of tax payable. Alternatively, companies may claim a 10% R&D credit against income tax payable within three years, starting with the current year.
As well, Taiwan encourages innovative R&D results by allowing individuals and companies to either deduct qualifying R&D expenses of up to 200% or claim R&D tax credits against income tax payable.
Qualifying Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) may either claim a credit of 15% of qualified R&D expenses or carry forward 10% of these expenses over the following two years.
Businesses may also benefit for mergers and acquisitions tax incentives which affect deed, securities transaction, stamp, and land value incremental tax. Tax concessions are applicable to new entities after a merger, spin-off, or acquisition, providing the company provides the same products or services.
Additionally, any unused valid operating losses are transferrable to the new entity based on the percentage of shareholder ownership. In some cases, major share transfers may also qualify for a tax exemption.
Companies that engage in, or appoint a free-trade-zone entity on their behalf, to procure, import, store, or deliver goods within a free-trade zone may also qualify for income tax exemption on the sales of goods.
Taiwan also credits foreign taxes paid on foreign-sourced income against total Taiwan income tax liability, within limits.
Taiwan has many large business districts including Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, and Taipei. Taipei is the capital city and financial center of Taiwan.
Even though the main island of Taiwan is less than 90 miles wide and 245 miles long, it doesn’t lack areas of natural wonders.
The Taroko Gorge is sometimes called the Grand Canyon of Taiwan. The landscape rises from sea level to peaks over 11,000 feet. Take a day trip to archipelago of Penghu, a tropical paradise with miles of sandy beaches. Visit the geysers at Yangmingshan National Park, just outside Taipei city.
Taiwan has many architectural marvels too. Taipei features the amazing Taipei 101 skyscraper. Visit the Longshan Temple in Taipei City, built by Buddhists in the 1700s. Fort San Domingo in New Taipei has roots in both the Dutch and Spanish occupations of the 17th century.
Taiwan also has a rich cultural heritage. The National Palace Museums showcase China’s imperial past and are two of the most visited museums in the world. The National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung features permanent botany, geology, anthropology, and a dinosaur exhibit.
The country’s indigenous groups such as the Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Thao, Tsou, and Yami contribute greatly to traditional dance, song, and craftwork in the nation too.
Little written records exist of Taiwan’s history before the arrival of Europeans. However, from archeological records we know Aboriginal people lived on the island for millennia before they arrived.
During the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company set up a base for rice and sugar plantations and starts hiring Chinese Han laborers. Later, the Spanish established bases in the north, but the Dutch ousted them in 1642.
In 1662, Ming loyalists flee the mainland after a Manchurian defeat. They drove the Dutch from Taiwan and seized control. However, the Chinese under the Qing dynasty seized western and northern coastal areas in 1683.
In 1683, the Qing dynasty of China annexed the island and declared it a province of their empire. However, the territory was ceded to the Empire of Japan in 1895 under the Treaty of Shimonoseki.
Between 1911 and 1912, the Chinese Civil War raged between factions and led to the overthrow of the Qing Empire and the establishment of the Republic of China.
After Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II, the Republic of China took control of Taiwan on behalf of the World War II Allies. In 1947, the ROC promulgated a new constitution set to take effect later that year.
However, by 1948 China was once again in a full-scale civil war. A temporary provision overrode the ROC constitution and expanded the Communist Party’s presidential powers.
The ROC and 1.2 million people from China fled to Taiwan in 1949. ROC forces later defeated communist invaders and declared martial law. Artillery fire continued until 1958.
Since that time, Taiwan continues to claim the have a legitimate claim to the area while China considers Taiwan a state under its control.
In 2015, President Ma and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met in Singapore to discuss top-level issues for the first time in 66 years. Nonetheless, Taiwan operates as an independent nation with a democratic government and strong economy.
Taiwan is primarily Buddhist (35.1%) and Taoist (33%). However, a small portion of the population affiliations include Christianity (3.9%), Yiguandao (3.5%), Tiandism (2.2%), Miledadao (1.1%), Zailiism (0.8%), and Xuanyuanism (0.7%).
According to the ROC, 95 to 97 percent of Taiwanese are of Han Chinese ethnicity from mainland China.
According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business, Taiwan is the 12th best country in the world for conducting business.
The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates Taiwan 10th globally and states, “A relatively well-developed commercial code and open-market policies that facilitate the flow of goods and capital have made small and medium-size enterprises the backbone of Taiwan’s economic expansion.”
World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings rate Taiwan 13th for ease of doing business in the world.