Three of Taiwan’s 10 largest companies that export products operate in the general electronics sector while another megacorporation targets the more specific semiconductor industry. Another trio of Taiwanese chemical industry players also rank among the East Asian state’s largest exports-related companies.
To give some global trade perspective on recent Taiwan-based company performance, the overall value of Taiwanese exports increased by 7.2% from US$313.2 billion in 2014 to $335.8 billion during 2018. From 2017 to 2018, the value of Taiwan’s exported goods appreciated by 5.7%.
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 2018 compared to May 2017.
- Hon Hai Precision (electronics): US$114.5 billion up 42.4% from 2017
- Taiwan Semiconductor (semiconductors): $70.3 billion, up 20.2%
- China Steel (iron & steel): $22.8 billion, up 8.6%
- Formosa Chemicals (specialized chemicals): $21.1 billion, up 24.9%
- Quanta Computer (computer hardware): $20.6 billion, up 13.2%
- Nan Ya Plastics (diversified chemicals): $19.7 billion, up 22.4%
- Far Eastern New Century (diversified chemicals): $17.4 billion, up 9.4%
- Pegatron (electronics): $16.4 billion, up 18.8%
- Chunghwa Telecom (telecommunications services): $16.1 billion, up 15.8%
- AU Optronics (electronics): $14.8 billion, up 10.9%
All 10 of these large Taiwanese companies grew their asset values from 2017 to December 2018, led by electronics giant Hon Hai Precision (up 42.4%) followed by Formosa Chemicals (up 24.9%), diversified chemicals seller Nan Ya Plastics (up 22.4%) and Taiwan Semiconductor (up 20.2%).
China Steel posted the mildest improvement, growing its asset base by 8.6%.
Sales is the life blood of most businesses, particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Just two of Taiwan’s largest export companies increased their year-over-year sales as of December 2018: Taiwan Semiconductor (up 14.4%) and China Steel (up 1.1%).
- Hon Hai Precision: US$154.7 billion, up 14.4% from 2017
- Pegatron: $39.2 billion, up 9.2%
- Quanta Computer: $33.6 billion, up 21.3%
- Taiwan Semiconductor: $33.1 billion, up 12.6%
- Formosa Chemicals: $12.3 billion, up 24.2%
- China Steel: $11.9 billion, up 30.8%
- AU Optronics: $11.2 billion, up 9.8%
- Nan Ya Plastics: $10.5 billion, up 23.5%
- Chunghwa Telecom: $7.6 billion, up 7%
- Far Eastern New Century: $7.2 billion, up 7.5%
China Steel posted the strongest sales improvement via a 30.8% increase. Other robust year-over-year increases included 24.2% for Formosa Chemicals, 23.5% for Nan Ya Plastics and 21.3% for Quanta Computer.
The weakest sales gains belong to Chunghwa Telecom (up 7%) and diversified chemicals supplier Far Eastern New Century (up 7.5%).
All 10 of Taiwan’s major export-oriented companies posted a profit as of December 2018.
- Taiwan Semiconductor: US$11.5 billion, up 10.6% from 2017
- Hon Hai Precision: $4.6 billion, down -0.2%
- Nan Ya Plastics: $1.9 billion, up 26.7%
- Formosa Chemicals: $1.9 billion, up 35.7%
- Chunghwa Telecom: $1.3 billion, up 8.3%
- AU Optronics: $1.1 billion, up 353.8%
- China Steel: $594 million, up 19.5%
- Pegatron: $483 million, down -19.5%
- Quanta Computer: $472 million, up 0.6%
- Far Eastern New Century: $265 million, up 35.2%
Eight of these 10 Taiwanese companies expanded their profitability since 2017. The top gainer was electronics competitor AU Optronics via its 353.8% bottom-line improvement as of December 2018. Formosa Chemicals grew its profits by 35.7% compared to 2017. Close behind was Far Eastern New Century with its 35.3% profit improvement followed by the 26.7% profit growth for another diversified chemicals provider, Nan Ya Plastics.
Two electronics suppliers endured profit declines, namely Hon Hai Precision (down -0.2%) and Pegatron (down -19.5%).
Five of Taiwan’s top 10 major export companies have their headquarters located in its capital city of Taipei, officially known as Taipei City.
- AU Optronics: Hsinchu
- 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
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 October 1, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings for Taiwan, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 1, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 1, 2019
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Taiwan. Accessed on October 1, 2019
Wikipedia, List of companies of Taiwan. Accessed on October 1, 2019