Three of Taiwan’s 10 largest companies that export products operate in the chemical industry. Another two of Taiwanese electronics industry players also rank among the East Asian state’s largest exports-related companies.
Other top global competitors headquartered in Taiwan involve the food, steel, semiconductors, computer hardware and telecommunications industries.
From a global trade perspective, the value of Taiwan’s exported goods equaled an estimated US$329.5 billion in 2019. Its most valuable exports include electronic integrated circuits (30.5% of Taiwan’s global total), refined petroleum oils (3.7%), computer parts or accessories (3.2%), computers (2.7%), solid-state storage devices (2.3%), mobile phones (also 2.3%), liquid crystal devices (2%), parts for modems (1.7%), printed circuits (1.6%), and semiconductor devices such as diodes and transistors (1.4%) according to the International Trade Centre.
Taiwan’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Below are leaders among Taiwan’s biggest exports-related businesses organized by asset value. Shown within parentheses is the primary industry in which each company operates. Also shown is the change in asset value as of December 2019 compared to 2018.
- Hon Hai Precision (electronics): US$110.8 billion, down -3.2% from 2018
- Taiwan Semiconductor (semiconductors): $77.5 billion, up 10.2%
- China Steel (iron & steel): $22.2 billion, down -2.6%
- Quanta Computer (computer hardware): $20.5 billion, down -0.5%
- Far Eastern New Century (diversified chemicals): $19.2 billion, up 10.3%
- Pegatron (electronics): $19 billion, up 15.9%
- Nan Ya Plastics (diversified chemicals): $18.5 billion, down -6.1%
- Uni-President Enterprises (food): $15.9 billion, up 7.4%
- Chunghwa Telecom (telecommunications): $15.9 billion, down -1.2%
- Formosa Chemicals (specialized chemicals): $13.3 billion, down -37%
Four of the above Taiwanese companies grew their asset values from 2018 to 2019 namely electronics firm Pegatron (up 15.9%), chemicals producer Far Eastern New Century (up 10.3%), Taiwan Semiconductor (up 10.2%) and Asia’s biggest food producer Uni-President Enterprises (up 7.4%).
Leading the asset decliners were Formosa Chemicals (down -37%), Nan Ya Plastics (down -6.1%) and electronics maker Hon Hai Precision (down -3.2%).
Sales is the life blood of most businesses, particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Five of Taiwan’s largest export companies increased their year-over-year sales from 2018 to 2019.
- Hon Hai Precision: US$172.8 billion, up 11.7% from 2018
- Pegatron: $44.2 billion, up 12.8%
- Taiwan Semiconductor: $37.8 billion, up 14.2%
- Quanta Computer: $33.3 billion, down -0.9%
- Formosa Chemicals: $20.9 billion, up 69.9%
- Uni-President Enterprises: $14.5 billion, down -1.3%
- China Steel: $11.8 billion, down -0.8%
- Nan Ya Plastics: $9.3 billion, down -11.4%
- Far Eastern New Century: $8.1 billion, up 12.5%
- Chunghwa Telecom: $6.6 billion, down -13.2%
Formosa Chemicals posted the strongest sales improvement via its 69.9% increase year over year. Other year-over-year increases include the 14.2% gain for Taiwan Semiconductor, trailed by Pegatron (up 12.8%), Far Eastern New Century (up 12.5%) and Hon Hai Precision (up 11.7%).
The biggest decliners were Chunghwa Telecom (down -13.2%) and Nan Ya Plastics (down -11.4%).
All 10 of Taiwan’s major export-oriented companies posted a profit as of December 2019, albeit some experienced diminishing amounts of black ink.
- Taiwan Semiconductor: US$13 billion, up 13% from 2018
- Hon Hai Precision: $3.7 billion, down -19.6%
- Formosa Chemicals: $1.2 billion, down -36.8%
- Chunghwa Telecom: $1.1 billion, down -15.4%
- Nan Ya Plastics: $746.5 million, down -60.7%
- Pegatron: $624.9 million, up 29.4%
- Uni-President Enterprises: $614.9 million, up 3.5%
- Quanta Computer: $515.7 million, up 9.3%
- Far Eastern New Century: $347.2 million, up 31%
- China Steel: $285 million, down -52%
Five of these 10 Taiwanese companies expanded their profitability since 2018. The top gainer was diversified chemicals supplier Far Eastern New Century via its 31% bottom-line improvement for 2019. Electronics competitor Pegatron grew its profits by 29.4% compared to 2018, trailed by Taiwan Semiconductor with its 13% profit improvement. Quanta Computer (up 9.3%) and food industry player Uni-President Enterprises (up 3.5%) generated single-digit increases in their black ink.
Profit declines were more severe for five of Taiwan’s top export businesses. Double-digit reductions were incurred by Nan Ya Plastics (down -60.7%), China Steel (down -52%), Formosa Chemicals (down -36.8%), electronics competitor Hon Hai Precision (down -19.6%) and Chunghwa Telecom (down -15.4%).
Five of Taiwan’s top 10 major export companies have their headquarters located in its capital city of Taipei, officially known as Taipei City.
- China Steel: Kaohsiung City
- Chunghwa Telecom: Taipei
- Far Eastern New Century: Taipei
- Formosa Chemicals: Taipei
- Hon Hai Precision: New Taipei City
- Nan Ya Plastics: Taipei
- Pegatron: Taipei
- Quanta Computer: Taoyuan
- Taiwan Semiconductor: Hsinchu
- Uni-President Enterprises: Tainan City
Note: Some of the above company offerings may include products other than the principal category shown within parenthesis under the Assets tab.
For example, Taiwan Semiconductor not only manufactures and sells integrated circuits and other semiconductor devices, the company engages in mask-making services. Taiwan Semiconductor also makes and sells solid state lighting devices and solar energy-related technologies.
Besides making notebook computers and other personal computer-related products, Quanta Computer also provides enterprise network systems, home entertainment, mobile communication, automotive electronics and digital home products.
See also Taiwan’s Top 10 Exports, Taiwan’s Top 10 Imports and Taiwan’s Top Trading Partners
Forbes Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top Taiwanese company compiled for this study: Hon Hai Precision. Accessed on August 27, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings for Taiwan, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 27, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 27, 2020
Investing.com, Uni-President Balance Sheet/Income Statement. Accessed on August 27, 2020
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Taiwan. Accessed on August 27, 2020
Wikipedia, List of companies of Taiwan. Accessed on August 27, 2020