The industrial sector is of great importance to Taiwan’s economy. IT and electronics production in particular dominates. The focus on computers and various electronics components in particular has made the sector sensitive to changing demand in the outside world. The Taiwanese IT industry has faced increasingly fierce competition from South Korea, the US and China.
Taiwan’s industrial sector was dominated from the 1960s onwards by light industry producing textiles, plastics and electrical household appliances. During the 1970s, the heavy industry was expanded. At the same time, the production of radio and television sets, tape recorders and other household goods was developed. During the 1980s, the government changed its strategy and focused on high-tech industry. Taiwan became a leading manufacturer of electronics, not least in the computer sector and telecommunications.
Most of the industry is located in a corridor through western Taiwan, from Taipei in the north to Kaohsiung in the south. A large part of the production is found in business parks that the state has established.
The labor-intensive light industry has moved from Taiwan to countries with far less expensive labor, especially China. In recent years, large parts of high-tech manufacturing have also been relocated (see also Finance).
Tsai resigns as party leader after a loss in local elections
President Tsai Ing-Wen announces that she will resign as party leader for DPP after the party has declined sharply in the elections to 22 legislative assemblies in cities and districts. The opposition party KMT wins in at least 15 cities, while the DPP can only declare itself victorious in 6. Previously, the party had power in 13 cities, especially snowfall was that the DPP lost control of Kaohsiung, which it ruled over the past 20 years. Assessors believe that voters’ dissatisfaction with pension cuts, new labor laws and the cooled relations with Beijing are behind DPP’s defeat. Before the election, KMT highlighted the election as a distrustful vote against President Tsai and the party promised to work for relations with Beijing to become warm and peaceful again.
Majority vote against same-sex marriage
In three referendums held at the same time as the local elections, a majority of Taiwanese voters support proposals that stand against same-sex couples’ right to marriage and to have the same legal rights as a man and woman who marry. Seven million voters believe that only marriage between a man and a woman should be considered before the law and six million think that there should be a separate law for same-sex couples who want to live in a legally recognized relationship. Only 3 million supported the activists’ line that same-sex couples would have the same right to marry as heterosexual couples. The government had declared before the referendums that the results would not mean that the court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, which was adopted in May 2017, could be withdrawn.
The US sells military equipment to Taiwan
Taiwan will be able to purchase modern equipment for, for example, the US F-16 fighter aircraft and other US fighter aircraft. The $ 330 million deal was made public in September by the US Trump administration and has now been approved by the US Congress. This is the second time the US has been conducting a military trade exchange with Taiwan since President Trump took office in January 2017. China has expressed its “strong dissatisfaction and opposition” to the business deal.
US warships pass through the Taiwan Strait
The United States allows two US warships to sail through the Taiwan Strait to show, according to representatives of the US Department of Defense, the importance the United States attaches to “freedom of navigation” and a free and open sea. The whole thing is, according to the United States, an exercise (freedom of navigation exercise), but it should at the same time be seen as a mark against China and its attempt to assert its right to Taiwan and island groups in the South China Sea. In July, the United States conducted a similar exercise through the Taiwan Strait.
El Salvador chooses China
21th of August
Taiwan announces that diplomatic relations with El Salvador will be broken. This happens after El Salvador has chosen to establish relations with China instead. Thus, Taiwan has only 17 allies among the world’s countries.
Tsai holds controversial speech in the United States
President Tsai Ing-wen gives a speech at a library in Los Angeles, as she stops in the US on her way to Paraguay and Belize. It is the first time in 15 years that a Taiwanese president will speak in the United States. Beijing is reacting strongly, leaving an official protest to the United States. The US government responds by ensuring that the speech does not depart from the US a China policy.
Airlines are giving way to the press from Beijing
Airlines American Airlines, Delta and Cathay Pacific are the latest in the line of airlines giving in to China’s pressure and changing how Taiwan is categorized on its travel sites. China’s aviation authority has demanded that some 40 airlines ensure that Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao are listed as entities within China. Several airlines have done as Beijing requested, including SAS, British Airways, German Lufthansa and Air France.
Tsai calls for democratization in China
On the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre (Tiananmen), President Tsai Ing-wen stresses that Beijing should take responsibility for the events 29 years ago and see it as an opening for democracy development. She publishes the post on Facebook written with the simplified Chinese written language used on the mainland unlike in Taiwan.
Fine for Japanese company
The Japanese company Muji is forced to pay large sums of fines in China because it has specified Taiwan as its own country in terms of where goods were manufactured.
President Ma Ying-jeou receives prison sentence
15th of May
Former President Ma Ying-jeou is condemned for leaking information about an ongoing criminal investigation during his time as president. Taiwan’s Supreme Court believes he is guilty of violating the Security and Surveillance Act. Ma was acquitted the year before by a district court in Taipei.
Clothing companies apologize to China
15th of May
The US company Gap is criticized by Beijing for selling t-shirts with maps of China where Taiwan was not. Recently, China has forced several companies to apologize or pay fines because, according to Beijing, they have not made it clear that Taiwan is a province in China and not a country of its own.
Taiwan not invited to the WHO meeting
The Taipei government expresses disappointment that Taiwan has once again been excluded from the World Health Assembly (WHA) annual meeting. Taiwan has been running an intensive campaign to participate in the meeting since the beginning of the year, but after the invitations were sent out, it is clear that Taipei was not invited. Also last year, Taiwan was prevented from participating due to pressure from China.
Dominican Republic breaks with Taiwan
The Dominican Republic is Taiwan’s third diplomatic ally, breaking official relations and establishing ties with China. The Taipei government said in a statement that it was very upset by the decision.
Beijing wants to attract Taiwanese to China
The Chinese government presents about 30 different measures to give Taiwanese companies and individuals access to the Chinese market. Taiwanese will gradually be given the same opportunity to educate, do business and practice artistic activities as Chinese on the mainland. Beijing’s goal is to attract talented Taiwanese to mainland China and get them rooted there.
New American Taiwanese team encourages visits
The US Senate adopts a law (Taiwan Travel Act) that encourages visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels. Under the law, it should be recognized that high-ranking Taiwanese should visit the United States, meet with US officials and do business in the country. The law is expected to be met by protests from the Chinese government.
Head of Kinar Relations is replaced
Taiwan gets a new head of Mainland Mainland Council (MAC), which manages relations and contacts with Beijing. Chen Min-Tong was also a short-time head of the council during the independence tenure of Chen Shui-bian. The new boss is expected to take a tougher stance on China.
Disputes over routes between China and Taiwan
30th of January
After China opened four new routes in the Taiwan Strait without first negotiating with Taiwan, the Taipei government first responds by requesting a meeting with Beijing to discuss it all. But when no answer comes from China, Taiwan responds by refusing two Chinese airlines to put in 176 extra trips over the Chinese New Year. The airlines, which have already sold the journeys to over 50,000 Chinese travelers, are now forced to cancel the journeys. Taiwan claims that the new Chinese airlines threaten flight safety and is in violation of a joint agreement from 2015 that says new routes must be discussed before they are launched.