October 2nd, 2012
04:46 PM GMT
Editor's note: The Outlook series spotlights a country to give a deeper understanding of the business, industry and consumer trends that fuel its economy. While exploring the current challenges and opportunities facing a country's economic progress, Outlook also seeks to provide an insight into its future development.
Roughly the size Portugal, Taiwan has become the world’s 18th largest exporter, according to the CIA World Factbook, and has been transformed from an economy largely reliant on agriculture to a powerhouse in the manufacture of computers, microchips, semi-conductors and other IT equipment.
Taiwan has plenty of niche players - small and mid-size businesses – some globally renowned technology brands and an improving infrastructure. A high-speed rail link completed in 2007 connects the island’s northern tip to the southern port city of Zuoying in 90 minutes.
But with its main industries highly reliant on exports (mainland China, Hong Kong and the U.S. are its largest export destinations), it is vulnerable to economic "shocks" like the global recession that saw its economy shrink in 2009. Despite a 5.2% growth in GDP in 2011, according to the CIA World Factbook, its exports have fallen over the past six months.
It also faces fierce competition from its Asian neighbors, especially from its largest trading partner, mainland China.
From next week CNN debuts a week of programming that looks at Taiwan in depth. Can the “Asian tiger” still roar in the global economy?
Taiwan fast facts:
Population: 23.1 million
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