The island produces abundant food crops, although in recent years agricultural production has decreased due to rising costs and increased competition. Rice is the chief crop, followed by sugarcane, corn, fruits and vegetables, tea, and sweet potatoes, Pigs, chickens, and cows are raised and the island has a sizable fishing fleet. Industry, once concerned mainly with rice and sugar milling, has diversified to include a variety of light and heavy manufactures, significant telecommunications and other high-technology businesses, and an important service sector. Manufacturing accounts for 25% of Taiwan's gross domestic product, with service industries generating much of the rest.
There is food processing, petroleum refining, and the manufacture of electronics, armaments, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, vehicles, consumer products, and pharmaceuticals. Most industries are privately run, but the government operates those considered essential to national defense, such as steel and electricity. Railroad and bus lines are also government operated. Taiwan trades chiefly with China, Japan, the United States, and Hong Kong. Major exports are computers, electrical and electronic equipment, metals, textiles, plastic and rubber products, and chemicals; imports include machinery, electrical equipment, minerals, and precision instruments.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.