Taiwan - Country Commercial Guide

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

Last published date: 2022-03-30

Capital:  Taipei

Population:  23.57 million (July 2021 est.)

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity): $1.143 trillion (2019 est., in 2017 dollars)

Currency:  New Taiwan dollars (TWD)

Language:  Mandarin Chinese (official)


CIA World Factbook

24.04% of the Taiwanese population is under 25 years of age.



Education Market Unit:                                                                                    USD thousands






Taiwan Students in the U.S.





Taiwan Students’ Contribution to U.S. Economy





Exchange Rate:  USD1





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 (https://www.iie.org/opendoors), 19,673 students from Taiwan studied in the United States during the 2020/2021 academic year, a 17.1% decrease over the 2019/2020 academic year.  These students contributed $875 million to the U.S. economy.  Taiwan is the seventh leading source of students going to the United States and the second source of students per capita (behind Kuwait and followed by Hong Kong).  Of the Taiwanese students studying in the United States in the 2020/2021 academic year, 40.9% were graduate students, 31.1% were undergraduates, 2.4% were non-degree students, and 25.6% undertook OPT (Optional Practical Training).  The most popular fields of study for Taiwanese students were STEM (50.7%), business and management (17%), other fields of study (11.9%), and fine/applied arts (8.1%).

Taiwan’s early 2000s educational reforms, 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% 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 forms of English learning in education models focusing 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 71,488 Taiwan students went abroad to study or work in 2020.  The United States remained the top study destination for Taiwan students, with 23,724 students, accounting for 33.2% of Taiwan students going abroad.  Australia came in second, with 18,439 students, and Japan third, with 9,584 students. Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, and New Zealand were also popular 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.

Taiwan Student Study Abroad Destinations in 2020

North America (mainly United States)


Oceania (mainly Australia)


Asia (mainly Japan)


Europe (mainly United Kingdom)






Source: Taiwan Ministry of Education


Traditionally, English-speaking countries have dominated foreign education recruiting in Taiwan.  However, in recent years, neighboring Asian countries such as Hong Kong, China, and Singapore have stepped up recruitment efforts for Taiwan students, especially high school students. Aside from foreign recruitment efforts, other factors contributing 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. Since 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 as a result of 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, it is recommended that U.S. schools 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.



  • High schools and boarding 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



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 are able to follow up with prospective students. 

Education Technology

Taiwan represents an important education technology market because of its growing interests in innovative approaches to learning.  Educators are increasingly embracing education information technology (IT) as a way to extend educational resources to a broader audience base and an increasingly personalized learning environment. Areas of interests 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 2020, Taiwan’s smart education industry output reached NT$142.68 billion (US$5.11 billion), according to MIC report.  About nearly 50%, or NT$66.86 billion (US$2.39 billion), were contributed by exports of Taiwan’s smart education sector, indicating the sector’s strong international competitiveness.


Output Value in Taiwan

Estimated 2020 Output Value in Taiwan

Source: MIC (2020)


Estimation of Sub-category



Estimated (%)









Learning System


Tools (i.e. editing, data analytics, etc.)





Teaching Devices (i.e. projectors, tablets and etc.)


Infrastructure (i.e., Wi-Fi)




Source: Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (2020): https://www.trade.gov/market-intelligence



Participation in education fairs may also be a very effective tool.  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 are able to follow up with the students who visited the fair.  Taiwan’s major education fairs featuring U.S. schools include:


  • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) Fair:

  • Linden Education Fairs:

  • USEAS Study World (Online Counseling)




Wellington Chu, Commercial Officer

U.S. Commercial Service – Taipei, Taiwan

Phone:  +886 2 2162 2633

Email:  Wellington.chu@trade.gov


Ann Chen, Commercial Coordinator

U.S. Commercial Service – Taipei, Taiwan

Phone:  +886 2 2162 2653

Email:  Ann.Chen@trade.gov