Taiwan - Country Commercial Guide
Education

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-09-15

Overview

Unit: USD thousands

Table 1 Unit: USD thousands

 

2018

2019

2020

2021

Taiwan Students in the U.S.

22,454

23,369

23,724

19,673

Taiwan Students’ Contribution to

U.S. Economy

$824,000

$874,771

$991,000

$875,000

Exchange Rate: USD

30.59

30.11

30.28

29.932

Sources: IIE Open Doors 2021 Report; NAFSA Economic Analysis for 2020-2021 Academic Year; Exchange rates: U.S. Treasury Department

According to the Institute of International Education’s 2021 Open Doors Report, Taiwan is the 7th leading source of students going to the United States, with 19,673 students from Taiwan during the 2020/2021 academic year, a 17.1 percent drop over the 2019/2020 academic year due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Incoming students from Taiwan to the U.S. contributed $875 million to the U.S. economy in 2021. Among Taiwan students studying in the United States in academic year 2020/2021, 40.9 percent were graduate students; 31.1 percent were undergraduates; 2.4 percent were non-degree students; and 25.6 percent undertook OPT (Optional Practical Training). The most popular fields of study for Taiwan students were STEM (50.7 percent), business and management (17 percent), fine or applied arts (8.1 percent), and social science (6.3 percent).

The educational reforms in Taiwan implemented in the early 2000s, which upgraded vocational and technical colleges to become universities, have resulted in an oversupply of universities, a devaluation of college degrees, and a mismatch of the labor supply to job market demand. These overcapacity issues are further complicated by Taiwan’s persistently low birthrate. It is estimated that by 2023, there will be 184,000 new college entrants, a huge decline from 271,108 new entrants in 2013. This 32 percent decline is a major concern as it could lead to a labor shortage in the future workforce and the forced closure of many higher education institutions.

With the goal of “bilingual by 2030,” Taiwan plans to incorporate new education models for English learning that will focus on speaking and listening, introduce technology to teach English remotely, promote cooperation and linkages between Taiwan and English-speaking countries’ colleges and universities, and encourage private enterprise to provide English services to the public.

According to statistics from the Taiwan Ministry of Education, a total of 60,307 Taiwan students went abroad to study or work in 2021. The United States remained the top study destination for Taiwan students, with 19,673 students, accounting for 32.6 percent of Taiwan students going abroad. Australia ranks second, with 15,582 students, and Japan third, with 7,174 students. Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, and New Zealand were also popular destinations among Taiwan students. Most Taiwan students choose to go to the United States to attend degree, certificate, or language programs. In contrast, most Australia-bound students take part in working holiday programs. Canada and Japan offer similar visas to allow Taiwan citizens to work and study in short-term programs.

Table 2:Taiwan Student Study Abroad Destinations in 2021

North America (mainly United States)

23,673

Oceania (mainly Australia)

16,219

Asia (mainly Japan)

9,722

Europe (mainly United Kingdom)

10,693

TOTAL

60,307

Source: Taiwan Ministry of Education (MOE)

Traditionally, English-speaking countries have dominated foreign education recruiting in Taiwan. However, in recent years, neighboring Asian countries and territories such as Hong Kong, China, and Singapore have stepped up recruitment efforts that target students from Taiwan, especially high school students. Aside from foreign recruitment efforts, other factors that contribute to this increase include parents’ dissatisfaction with inadequate prospects available to Taiwan youth, mainly regarding higher education, job opportunities, and compensation and benefits packages.

Despite many incentives offered by China and other Asian countries, the United States remains the top choice for Taiwan parents. This is further supported by the growing number of bilingual international schools operating in Taiwan that prepare students to study in the United States and at other foreign universities.

Because many of these students remain in the United States to continue their studies at the graduate level, graduate institutions may also expect growing demand in the future due to ongoing growth in the high school and undergraduate education markets.

For many Taiwan students, studying abroad at U.S. institutions remains an appealing alternative to studying in Taiwan. Although Taiwan schools are far more affordable than those in the United States, studying in the United States (or in other overseas locations) provides better employment opportunities after graduation. As a result, U.S. schools that emphasize post-graduation job placement are popular with Taiwan students.

Finally, U.S. schools would do well to promote their institutions to Taiwan students by hiring student recruitment agencies, developing active alumni networks, and reaching out to potential students through education fairs and social media.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • High schools and boarding schools
  • Joint-diploma programs with local high schools
  • Joint-degree programs with local universities
  • Programs containing a work or internship component
  • Programs in business, engineering, computer sciences, health care, education, and fine arts
  • Pathway or bridge programs.

Opportunities

Partnering with local schools is an effective long-term strategy for U.S. schools to recruit Taiwan students for joint-degree programs or short-term summer programs. As many Taiwan universities have established Mandarin centers to educate foreign students, U.S. schools should consider increasing cultural and language exchanges with Taiwan schools. Commercial Service Taiwan can help match U.S. schools with local universities or high schools.

Partnering with student recruiting agents also allows U.S. schools to have year-round exposure to the Taiwan market. Recruiting agents are one of the main resources used by Taiwan students and parents when planning study abroad activities. Commercial Service Taiwan can help U.S. schools pre-screen prospective agents and arrange one-on-one meetings in Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung.

Participation in education fairs may also be an effective tool to recruit Taiwan students. Fair organizers have a deep knowledge of the market and can greatly reduce U.S. schools’ marketing expenses. Local fair organizers also counsel students throughout the year and can follow up with prospective students.

Education Technology

Taiwan is an important market for education technology because of its growing interest in innovative approaches to learning. Educators are increasingly embracing education information technology (IT) to extend educational resources to a broader audience base and to foster a personalized learning environment. Areas of interest include game-based learning and AR/VR technologies for education or vocational training, K-12 STEM education (especially in robotics or coding education), language-learning technologies, mobile learning technologies, and simulation learning for medical training or vocational training.

In 2021, Taiwan’s smart education industry output reached NT$457.87 billion (US$15.25 billion), triple that of 2020, as educational content became much more digitally focused during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC) report. The strong growth in Taiwan’s smart education industry represents a sea of opportunities for U.S. education technology service providers whose digital content pair well with Taiwan’s hardware-based solutions.

Estimated 2021 output value in Taiwan

  • Service/content: 8.3 percent
  • Software: 6.9 percent
  • Hardware: 84.8 percent

Resources

U.S. firms interested in learning more about the Education market and seeking to expand their export opportunities to Taiwan are encouraged to contact CS Taiwan Trade Promotion Coordinator Ann Chen at Ann.Chen@trade.gov.