Situated just 161 kilometres off the south west coast of China in the China Sea, Taiwan (meaning Terraced Bay) is a mix of mountainous land and bustling cities. The east of the island is particularly mountainous at Yushan National Park, while its capital city Taipei is up north.
While Taiwan is the island’s official title, it also has two others which are regularly used by other people. These are Formosa (Beautiful) and the Republic of China, the latter shedding some light on the country’s troubled past. In 1949 the Chinese Communists gained full control of the island in 1949, but in more recent years things have changed. Although it is still part of China, in 1996 the very first direct president elections were held and in 2000 the Democratic Progressive Party won the next presidential election, ending 55 years of Nationalist Rule.
Today approximately 85% of Taiwan’s population are Chinese. The country’s biggest industries are food crops such as rice, vegetables and fruit, along with fish. Manufacturing makes up approximately 40% of the country’s gross domestic product, while various service industries account for the remaining 60%.