Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is an island of approximately 36,000 square kilometers, about the size of the Netherlands. It is situated southwest of Japan, north of the Philippines, and about 180 kilometers off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The ROC’s territory consists of Taiwan proper, as well as Kinmen, Matsu, Penghu and other minor islands.
Taiwan’s economy experienced rapid growth and industrialization following World War II. After martial law was lifted in 1987, the country embarked on a path of political democratization and economic liberalization. As a result, Taiwan quickly transformed from a manufacturer of basic goods to an industrial economy, and one of the most competitive countries in the global information communications technology sector. Politically, it has also evolved into a vibrant multiparty democracy. Today, Taiwan enjoys one of the highest standards of living in Asia and ranks among the top in terms of economic liberalization, freedom of the press, health care, human rights and political freedom.