TAIWAN

 

Name of country

TAIWAN

Region

Eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China

Population

23,572,052 (July 2021 est.)

 General Introduction

Taiwan is the most densely populated country in the world, with 23 million people, and it's $1.25 trillion economies is the 22nd largest in the world, with a highly skilled and educated workforce.

Taiwan had a $625 GDP output in 2018, and it is a powerhouse for electronics, expos, and the home of electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn, which manufactures products for Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. Taiwan's currency is the New Taiwan dollar. The Taiwanese government encourages significant foreign direct investment (FDI) in a variety of sectors.

Economy

Taiwan has a robust and developed capitalist economy. Taiwan is the seventh-largest economy in Asia and the 20th largest in the world as measured by purchasing power parity. Taiwan is classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank.

Over the past 40 years, Taiwan's economic growth has been driven by exports. Known for its manufacturing capabilities, Taiwan's economy has in recent years transitioned to technology and capital-intensive service industries such as electronics and information technology, which now make up approximately 35% of Taiwan's industrial structure. Most businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises, often run by families.

Dominant Industries

Dominant industries include semiconductor manufacturing, information technology, and electronics. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the world's most valuable semiconductor company and one of Taiwan's most important companies. Global brands originating from Taiwan include:

  • Acer (personal computers).
  • Asus (personal computers).
  • Giant (bicycles).
  • Merida (bicycles).
  • Evergreen (shipping).
  • Yangming Marine (shipping).
  • Trend Micro (security software).

Taiwan is also present in emerging industries, producing solar panel batteries and LED panels, and leading Asia in offshore wind power. It is estimated that 75% of Tesla's supply chain is located in Taiwan.

Population and Language

Approximately 23.7 million people live in Taiwan. The most widely spoken language is Mandarin Chinese written in traditional characters. Taiwanese (also known as Hokkien), Hakka dialects and approximately 16 indigenous languages are also spoken and recognized (along with sign language) as national languages, although proficiency varies across the country. English literacy is higher in large cities and among younger individuals.

Business Culture

Business culture in Taiwan is typically hierarchical in nature, with power and authority commonly being wielded based on seniority and age. People in senior positions are often referred to by their title and surname rather than their first names. Business etiquette is not as rigid as in Japan and South Korea. When meeting and greeting each other, business people shake hands and exchange business cards. Because the economy is largely geared towards exports, many Taiwanese businesspeople are familiar with global business etiquette.

There are between ten to 15 public holidays a year. Some are observed on fixed dates on the Gregorian calendar, others are based on the lunar calendar and therefore do not have a fixed Gregorian calendar date. The most important holidays include:

  • Lunar New Year, (January or February).
  • Dragon Boat Festival (June).
  • Mid-Autumn Festival (September or October).

The fixed-date holidays include:

  • New Year's Day (1 January).
  • 228 Peace Memorial Day (28 February).
  • Labour Day (1 May).
  • National Day (10 October).

Other

Due to its political situation, Taiwan is not a member of the UN but has codified UN Covenants on human rights into domestic law. Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Taiwan plans to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Key Business and Economic Events

Until May 2021, Taiwan had avoided lockdowns and the suspension of economic activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. GDP actually grew 2.98% in 2020 due to an increase in exports. In particular, demand for semiconductors, personal computers, and laptops reached new highs as people around the world switched to working from home.

Political Events

Taiwan has seen the repatriation of businesses from China in light of the US-China trade war and enjoyed an increase of USD42 billion in investment by Taiwanese companies returning from China between 2019 and February 2021. The local economy also benefited from:

  • Greenfield investments by foreign companies, particularly in offshore wind.
  • Foreign companies reconfiguring their global supply chains to avoid US sanctions on doing business in China and/or with Chinese companies.
  • Elections are held every four years, typically in January and November. The President, Vice President and the Legislature (Legislative Yuan) are directly elected. Local elections for city and county government posts are often held at different times from presidential and legislative elections. There may also be by-elections. The next presidential election will be held in 2024.

New Legislation

Recent noteworthy legislative changes include amendments to the:

  • Civil Code. The age of the majority was lowered from 20 to 18.
  • Act Governing Electronic Payment Institutions. The recent amendments: expanded the permitted uses of electronic payments; and consolidated regulation of electronic payment service providers.
  • Labour Standard Act. Violations of the act are publicly disclosed and the information in such disclosures has been expanded beyond the names of the company, its owners, and the relevant responsible persons to include: the nature of the violation; the penalty assessed; and the date of the penalty assessment.

Securities Investor and Futures Trader Protection Act. Changes in this statute have broadly increased investor protections. Through the Securities and Futures Investors Protection Centre, investors can now sue individuals who previously acted as directors or supervisors even after the individuals have left their posts.

Securities and Exchange Act. Any company listed or traded over-the-counter is now required to disclose the average compensation of all its employees, as well as the compensation paid to the company's directors and supervisors.

Wifi Speed

At an average connection speed of 85.02 Megabits per second (Mbps), Taiwan has the fastest Internet speed in the world.

 Electrical outlet

Taiwan has the same electrical standard as the US and Canada. The power plugs and sockets are of type A and B. The standard voltage is 110 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

Per Capita GDP

$24,502 (2018 est.)
$50,500 (2017 est.)
$23,865 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Climate

tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); persistent and extensive cloudiness all year

Residence-by-Investment

Taiwan provides four types of resident golden visas for investment to foreigners interested in investing in Asian economies.

Investment

You can apply for a Resident visa for Entrepreneurs if you want to start a business and live in the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan).

In Taiwan, you must establish a company with at least NTD500,000 in paid-in capital. To renew your residency permit in the second year, your company must have a turnover of at least NTD3,000,000.

Alternatively, you can obtain an entrepreneur visa if you receive funding of at least NTD2,000,000 from foreign or domestic venture capital or any government-recognized crowdfunding platform, or participate in a national entrepreneurial park such as the Taiwan Startup Stadium, or hold patents in or outside Taiwan, or win startup or design competitions such as IDG Demo Show, Red Dot, iF design, or invest at least NTD1 million in an innovative project.

If you meet one of the above requirements, you will be granted a one-year residency visa. To apply for an extension, your business must meet the NTD3,000,000 turnover requirement (from the previous year or 3-year average), or business expenditure of at least NTD1,000,000 (from the previous year or 3-year average), or employ at least 3 ROC nationals, or demonstrate some other category of operational performance that leads the competent authority to determine that the enterprise is contributing to Taiwan's economic development.

It should be noted that there are three resident visas available for each business venture.

Your dependents may be granted residency based on your residence permit.

You can apply for a permanent residence permit after 5 years of continuous legal residency. To qualify, you must be physically present in Taiwan for at least 183 days per year, have a monthly income that is at least twice the minimum wage set by the Council of Labor Affairs, and have a net worth of more than NTD5,000,000.

Alternatively, if you have invested NTD15,000,000 in a business and created 5 full-time jobs for ROC nationals over a three-year period, or if you have invested NTD30,000,000 in ROC government bonds over a three-year period, you may apply for Permanent Residency. You will not be required to be physically present in Taiwan during your residency under this scheme.

You can apply for naturalization after 5 years of continuous legal residency. Each application is handled on a case-by-case basis, but typically you will be required to be a tax resident for at least 5 years, have no criminal history, pass an exam of the Chinese-Mandarin language, laws, and regulations, be a skilled professional, and demonstrate an ability to financially support yourself (twice the minimum wage and net worth over NTD5,000,000).

Processing Time

Processing time is 4-9months

Key Benefits

  • Citizenship Benefits
  • The right to live and work in Taiwan at all times
  • Access to educational and healthcare benefits
  • Visa-free or Visa on arrival to 134 countries, including United States, Schengen Area, United Kingdom
  • Visa-free access to the United States

Permanent Residency Benefits

  • The right to live and work in Taiwan, without any time limit
  • Be eventually eligible for citizenship
  • Access to healthcare and education system

Temporary Residency Benefits

  • Set up a profitable business
  • Peaceful, democratic and politically stable country
  • Business-friendly policies
  • Extremely safe, modern and livable country
  • High quality of life
  • Be eventually eligible for citizenship
  • Low crime rate country
  • Well-connected airport
  • Access to funding
  • Enormous potential for start-ups and Internet entrepreneurs
  • Territorial tax system

Requirements

If you have obtained funding from a Venture Capital firm or crowdfunding platform:

  • An investment commitment letter or similar documentary evidence signed by the promoter of a yet-to-be-established startup and the domestic or overseas venture capital firm(s)
  • A photocopy of the corporate registration document (or equivalent written evidence of lawful establishment), or document confirming amendment of the corporate registration document, of the domestic or overseas venture capital firm(s).
  • A detailed breakdown of share subscriptions paid by shareholders from the legal representative of a newly-established startup (in existence for less than one year) in which a domestic venture capital firm(s) has invested.
  • A detailed breakdown of share subscriptions paid by shareholders from the legal representative of a newly-established startup.
  • A photocopy of a document issued by an overseas competent authority authorizing the overseas venture capital firm to undertake investment activity.
  • Documentary evidence verifying the securing of funding from a government-approved international fund-raising platform.

If you participate in a ROC national entrepreneurial park:

  • A photocopy of the collaboration agreement, contract or MoU etc. (covering the provision of incubator services, operational guidance, or business cultivation etc.) signed by the applicant and the park or incubator in which the applicant has received approval to locate itself.

If you have been awarded a patent either in Taiwan or overseas:

  • A photocopy of a patent certificate issued by Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office, MOEA or a photocopy of a patent certificate issued by a patent issuing agency in a foreign country.

If you have been awarded in a leading domestic or overseas business start-up or design competition, or have had an application approved to participate in a government project to encourage overseas entrepreneurs to invest in Taiwan:

  • A photocopy of a Ministry of Science and Technology Innovation & Startups Award of Excellence certificate, or
  • A photocopy of a Small and Medium Enterprise Administration (MOEA) Taiwan Innovation Competition (TIC) award certificate, or
  • A photocopy of a DEMO God Awards award certificate, or
  • A photocopy of a Red Dot Awards award certificate, or
  • A photocopy of an iF Design Awards award certificate, or
  • A photocopy of a Good Design Awards (G-Mark awards) award certificate, or
  • A photocopy of an IDEA award certificate, or
  • A proposal for an entrepreneur venture in Taiwan that has been approved by the Taiwanese government.

If you have invested at least NT$1 million in the enterprise:

  • An investment authorization letter, and a letter confirming the amount of investment, issued by the government agency responsible for approving foreign investment (or another agency commissioned to undertake this task on its behalf).
  • The corporate registration document (or document confirming amendment thereof) or permit allowing establishment of a foreign-owned company (or document confirming amendment thereof).

Procedures and Time Frame

STEP - 1

Contract Signing
A service contract will be signed if clients fulfill the application requirements.

Document Preparation
Document preparation concerning business name registry, business nature confirmation, and visa application should be done.

Landing in Taiwan
Applicants should land in Taiwan for account opening.

Application for Investment
The application should be submitted to the relevant government department.

Fund Transfer
After the application is reviewed and confirmed by the relevant department, applicants can complete the transfer of investment.

Company Registration
The registration of the company is completed afterwards.

Submission of Application
Applicants should land in Taiwan for the application for Resident Visa for Investment.

Obtaining Resident Visa
The resident visa will be granted upon successful application.

Natural Resources

small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, asbestos, arable land

Ethnic Groups

Han Chinese (including Holo, who compose approximately 70% of Taiwan's population, Hakka, and other groups originating in mainland China) more than 95%, indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples 2.3%

Languages

Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min Nan), Hakka dialects, approximately 16 indigenous languages

Religion

Buddhist 35.3%, Taoist 33.2%, Christian 3.9%, folk religion (includes Confucian) approximately 10%, none or unspecified 18.2% (2005 est.)

Median Age

total: 42.3 years
male: 41.5 years
female: 43.1 years (2020 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 79.3% of total population (2021)
rate of urbanization: 0.65% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Physician density

In 2019, Taiwan's health personnel density ranged at around 138.4 doctors and nurses per ten thousand inhabitants.

 Government type

semi-presidential republic

Unemployment Rate

3.73% (2019 est.)
3.69% (2018 est.)

Taxes

Headline Personal Income Tax Rate (highest marginal tax rate)

  •  40%

Headline Corporate Income Tax Rate (excluding dividend taxes)

  •  20%

Individuals who have a domicile in Taiwan and spend at least 31 days in Taiwan are considered tax residents. In addition, foreign individuals who stay at least 183 days in Taiwan are also considered tax-residents, regardless of their permanent domicile.

Tax-residents and non-residents are subject to tax on their Taiwanese-source income.

Tax residents’ income is subject to personal income tax at progressive rates up to 45% on income exceeding NTD 10,310,001. Non-residents are taxed at a flat rate of 18% on income derived from salaries and wages and 20 % on the rest.

Foreign source income may be subject to tax at a flat rate of 20%, if foreign-sourced income is equal to or more than NTD1 million, with basic income exceeding NTD6.7 million. A tax credit may be available for foreign tax paid.

Interest income is usually subject to a final withholding tax of 15%. Dividends received by a tax resident are taxed only once, at the personal level.

Capital gains from the sale of real estate are usually treated as ordinary income and subject to normal personal income tax rates. However, if a taxpayer fulfills certain requirements, taxable income under NTD4,000,000 may be tax-exempt and over NTD4,000,000 may be subject to a reduced rate of 10%. Capital gains from the sale of shares are not subject to taxation.

Taiwan's Executive Yuan announced plans to vote Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules into legislation in 2018, however as of 2019, details have not yet been announced and the law has yet to be promulgated.

Taiwan levies a land value tax at progressive rates from 1% to 5.5% on urban and rural lands. A transfer tax between 4% and 6% is levied on the transfer of real property deeds. There is an estate and gift tax on worldwide assets of Taiwanese-domiciled individuals. There is no tax on net worth in Taiwan.

V.A.T. standard rate is 5%. Certain products and services are zero-rated.

Regarding corporate taxation, resident entities are subject to a 20% tax on their worldwide income, irrespective of source. Taxable income up to NTD120,000 may be tax-exempt and undistributed profits may be subject to a surtax of 5%.

Currently, Taiwan has:

  • 33 double taxation agreements, including with Japan, Singapore, India, UK, France, and Germany.
  • 13 international transportation income tax agreements.

In general, these agreements cover corporate and individual income taxation and follow the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model Tax Conventions.

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