Exporting to Taiwan

Taiwan is an advanced, hi-tech economy with a strategic location in the Asia Pacific region and close links to China. It has modern infrastructure and its banking, insurance and securities sectors are being liberalised.

Links to China

Since the early 2000s, Taiwan’s economic links with China have grown significantly. There are now frequent direct flights, major investments by Taiwanese companies in China, and high levels of trade across the Taiwan Strait. In certain sectors, Taiwan can be a platform for developing business with China, given cultural links and shared language. The current administration is also trying to develop stronger economic ties with South East Asia.

Innovation strategy

Taiwan’s administration has introduced an industrial innovation programme to promote sectors seen as key for its development. These include green energy, the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart machinery.

Hi-tech world leaders

Taiwanese firms are world leaders in several hi-tech manufacturing sectors, such as laptops, servers, smartphone components and solar panels. They’re renowned for providing contract manufacturing services.

Ease of doing business

15th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

New Taiwan dollar

Business language

Mandarin Chinese

You may need a translator

GDP per capita

$24,971

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

2.7%

(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT +8

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Taiwan have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Taiwan

Preparing to export

Tax

The corporate income tax rate is 17%. For more information, see the website of the Taiwanese Taxation Administration, Ministry of Finance.

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Taiwan, provided certain conditions are met.

VAT is applicable to general industries at a rate of 5%. For more information, see the website of the Taiwanese Taxation Administration, Ministry of Finance.

Regulations

Agricultural, industrial and mining products must follow requirements set by the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI).

BSMI also inspect imported agricultural, fishery and food products. You can find more information from the Department of Health and Welfare.

Operating in Taiwan

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

Taiwan joined the World Trade Organisation in 2002. The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office(website in Chinese) is responsible for the administration of patent, trademark and copyright laws.

Payment terms

Your contract should specify the terms for payment. If there’s any dispute, you’ll need to go through the Taiwanese legal system to resolve it. You may want to talk to a specialist about finance in Taiwan, including how to get paid. You can contact the DIT Team at the British Office in Taipei to help you find a local financial adviser.

Challenges

UK companies may face some challenges when entering Taiwan’s market. These include public construction regulations and issues entering particular sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and alcoholic beverages. It’s also worth remembering that the UK does not recognise Taiwan as a state and has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, so limited consular services are available to British nationals.

In addition, you should be aware of the ‘Guanxi’ or ‘connections’ (social or business) element of doing business in Chinese society, which is based on mutual interest or benefit.

You should be aware that Taiwan is in an earthquake zone. You may also find that business can be impacted by typhoons from May to September.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.