Taiwan's rapid economic growth began after World War II in a phenomena known as the Taiwan Miracle. It has since become an advanced economy and is known as one of the Four Asian Tigers. This economic change also affected the look of the city. In the 1980s wages increased and the nation worked to attract a wealthy and sophisticated market. The city modernized with broad boulevards, stylish restaurants, and more elegant housing.
Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy. Though the economy, like so many aspects of the Republic of China (RoC), are tied up with China there is a decreasing dependence on foreign investment and trade. Most large government-owned banks and industrial firms have been privatized. Growth in GDP has increased about 8% during the past three decades. Inflation and unemployment are low and the trade surplus is substantial.
Taiwan's conservative financial approach insulated it from the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1999. The economy has also fostered small and medium sized businesses (unlike neighbouring Japan and South Korea). About one in seven people own their own business.
Taiwan is a member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Taiwan's top five trade partners are China, USA, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.
As the capital of the RoC, Taipei is at the centre of Taiwan's rapid economic development. It is now a global city with a focus on technology. The city also is an important producer of textiles and apparel. Some of the leading companies include: Shihlin Electric, CipherLab and Insyde Software. National brands such as: ASUS, Chunghwa Telecom, Mandarin Airlines, Tatung, and Uni Air are headquartered in Taipei City.
Tourism is a growing area of the economy. International visitors look to total about 5.3 million in 2010. The industry brings in about US$6.8 billion to Taiwan's economy.
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