That dollar amount reflects a 43% gain compared to $334.2 billion during 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of Taiwanese exported goods rose 6.8% from $447.6 billion in 2021.
Home to 23.3 million people or a tiny 0.3% portion of the overall global population, nevertheless Taiwan tallied 2.2% of the world’s total exports by value in 2022.
Note that the island of Taiwan was once known as Formosa and may be referred to as Chinese Taipei in some online publications.
Taiwan’s biggest export is electronic integrated circuits and related microassemblies. That commodity group represents almost four-fifths (38.4%) of the total shipments by value from Taiwan, Province of China.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, our estimates show that the new Taiwan dollar appreciated by 1.2% against the US dollar since 2018 but depreciated by around -6.7% from 2021 to 2022. Taiwan’s weaker local currency compared to 2021 makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
Taiwan’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 85.7% of products exported from Taiwan were bought by importers in: mainland China (25.3% of Taiwan’s global total), United States of America (15.7%), Hong Kong (13.5%), Japan (7%), Singapore (6.2%), South Korea (4.6%), Malaysia (3.6%), Vietnam (3%), Netherlands (1.8%), Germany (also 1.8%), Philippines (1.6%) and Thailand (also 1.6%).
From a continental perspective, 70.6% of Taiwan’s exports by value was delivered to fellow Asian countries while 17.5% was sold to importers in North America. Taiwan shipped another 8.6% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Oceania (1.9%) led by Australia, Latin America (0.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Africa (0.6%).
Given Taiwan’s population of 23.3 million people, its total $477.8 billion in 2022 exports translates to a robust $20,500 for every resident in the East Asian province. That dollar metric exceeds the average $19,200 for one year earlier in 2021.
Taiwan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Taiwanese global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Taiwan.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$245.8 billion (51.4% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $62.9 billion (13.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $23 billion (4.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $17.5 billion (3.7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $16.5 billion (3.4%)
- Vehicles : $15.8 billion (3.3%)
- Iron, steel: $12.2 billion (2.5%)
- Organic chemicals: $11 billion (2.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $10.4 billion (2.2%)
- Copper: $4.9 billion (1%)
Taiwan’s top 10 exports accounted for 87.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 70.9% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales were vehicles via a 15.8% gain.
Taiwan’s shipments of electrical machinery and equipment posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 12.1%.
The leading decliner among Taiwan’s top 10 export categories was the optical, technical and medical apparatus product group, incurring a -17% year-over-year slowdown.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Taiwan’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.
Products Generating Taiwan’s Best Trade Surpluses
Taiwan generated an overall $41.3 billion trade surplus from all goods bought and sold on international markets during 2022, down -36.1% from the $64.6 billion in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Taiwanese product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$118.6 billion (Up by 20.2% since 2021)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $13.9 billion (Down by -17.9%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $7.5 billion (Up by 10.1%)
- Vehicles: $5 billion (Up by 65.6%)
- Base metal tools, cutlery: $2.9 billion (Down by -1.1%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: $2.4 billion (Down by -3.3%)
- Manmade filaments: $2.1 billion (Up by 4.3%)
- Other base metal goods: $1.8 billion (Up by 2.5%)
- Toys, games: $1.7 billion (Down by -44.4%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $1.4 billion (Down by -25.3%)
Taiwan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of electrical goods including consumer electronics. In turn, these cashflows indicate Taiwan’s world-renown competitive advantages under the electrical machinery and equipment category.
Products Causing Taiwan’s Worst Trade Deficits
Below are exports from Taiwan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Taiwan’s goods trail Taiwanese importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$60.5 billion (Up by 52.2% since 2021)
- Machinery including computers: -$9.3 billion (Up by 2,600%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$6.4 billion (Up by 39.9%)
- Other chemical goods: -$3.4 billion (Up by 10.7%)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$2.8 billion (Down by -40.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$2.6 billion (Reversing a $3 billion surplus)
- Cereals: -$2.4 billion (Up by 34.7%)
- Oil seeds: -$2.3 billion (Up by 23.4%)
- Meat: -$2.1 billion (Up by 24.8%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$2 billion (Up by 38%)
Taiwan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products particularly crude oil, petroleum gases and coal.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Taiwan’s competitive disadvantages in the international energy market, but also represent key opportunities for Taiwan to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations on alternative energy sources.
Taiwan’s Major Export Companies
Forty-seven corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Taiwanese companies that Forbes included.
- Advanced Semiconductor (semiconductors)
- Asustek Computer (computer hardware)
- Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co. (automotive parts)
- China Steel (iron, steel)
- Delta Electronics (electronics)
- Formosa Chemicals (specialized chemicals)
- Formosa Petrochemical (oil, gas)
- Formosa Plastics (specialized chemicals)
- Hon Hai Precision (electronics)
- Mediatek (semiconductors)
- Nan Ya Plastics (diversified chemicals)
- Pegatron (electronics)
- Quanta Computer (computer hardware)
- Taiwan Semiconductor (semiconductors)
- Uni-President (food processing)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following companies are also examples of Taiwanese export companies.
- Acer Inc. (computers, smartphones, other electronics)
- Faithful Taiwan (wooden furniture, plastic bags, miscellaneous plastic articles)
- Hosoda Taiwan (automobile steering mechanisms)
- Swire Coca Cola Taiwan (soft drinks, green tea, sparkling wines)
- Taiwan Specco (furniture parts, mountings, seat parts)
Searchable List of Taiwan’s Most Valuable Export Products
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Taiwan during 2022. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2021.
|Rank||Taiwan's Export Product||Value (US$)||YoY|
|2||Computer parts, accessories||$19,348,258,000||+9.6%|
|3||Processed petroleum oils||$16,673,342,000||+71.8%|
|4||Computers, optical readers||$15,111,585,000||+25.8%|
|5||Phone devices including smartphones||$12,850,998,000||+25.9%|
|6||Unrecorded sound media||$8,832,814,000||-17.3%|
|8||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$6,119,634,000||+14.7%|
|9||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$5,761,811,000||-9.3%|
|13||Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools||$5,244,070,000||-39.2%|
|14||Machinery for making semi-conductors||$5,064,599,000||+4.5%|
|15||TV/radio/radar device parts||$4,978,788,000||-31.1%|
|16||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$3,193,297,000||+2%|
|18||Electrical converters/power units||$3,037,792,000||+13.4%|
|19||Flat-rolled stainless steel items||$2,638,681,000||+2.8%|
|20||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$2,398,531,000||+4%|
|24||Lenses, prisms, mirrors||$2,174,895,000||-3.8%|
|25||Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers||$2,130,588,000||+18%|
|26||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$2,118,255,000||-5%|
|28||Miscellaneous plastic items||$2,067,317,000||-2.9%|
|29||Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates||$2,016,498,000||-12.5%|
|30||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$1,961,181,000||-21.5%|
|31||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$1,813,810,000||+7.5%|
|33||Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters||$1,764,822,000||-5.4%|
|35||Synthetic yarn woven fabrics||$1,643,301,000||+6.9%|
|36||Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles||$1,631,878,000||+21.7%|
|37||Copper ores, concentrates||$1,630,716,000||+24%|
|38||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$1,627,738,000||-17.3%|
|39||Chemicals used in electronics||$1,609,463,000||+9.1%|
|40||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$1,580,613,000||+76.4%|
|42||TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras||$1,524,721,000||+12.4%|
|45||Vinyl chloride polymers||$1,478,755,000||-18%|
|46||Other measuring/testing machines||$1,442,594,000||-0.9%|
|48||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$1,374,296,000||+1.7%|
|49||Air or vacuum pumps||$1,346,428,000||+0.4%|
|50||Chemical industry products/residuals||$1,291,010,000||+26.1%|
|51||Other than warp-knit fabrics||$1,275,988,000||-2.8%|
|53||Base metal mountings, fittings||$1,230,120,000||+3.8%|
|56||Special hand tools||$1,201,442,000||-4.8%|
|57||Other machine parts, accessories||$1,194,843,000||-4.5%|
|58||Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$1,169,615,000||-7.7%|
|59||Whole fish (frozen)||$1,109,958,000||+11.4%|
|61||Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes||$1,084,571,000||+33.4%|
|64||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$1,036,428,000||-2.3%|
|66||Rubber/plastic article making machines||$1,019,571,000||-0.4%|
|67||Electric storage batteries||$1,000,408,000||+33.3%|
|71||Electric motors, generators||$919,777,000||+4.9%|
|72||Pneumatic hand tool||$915,490,000||-10.7%|
|73||Wide knit or crochet fabrics||$890,998,000||-2.9%|
|74||Saturated acyclic mono acids||$886,407,000||-5.5%|
|75||Self-adhesive plastic in rolls||$885,905,000||-9.9%|
|76||Synthetic filament yarn||$862,186,000||-9%|
|77||Rubber tires (new)||$854,828,000||-4.1%|
|78||Hand-operated spanners, wrenches||$847,261,000||+4.7%|
|79||Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms||$846,870,000||+5.6%|
|80||Copper waste, scrap||$808,183,000||+26.3%|
|81||Plastics-coated textile fabrics||$788,262,000||+8.4%|
|82||Other food preparations||$784,489,000||-6.6%|
|84||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$771,307,000||-0.8%|
|85||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$766,013,000||+9.3%|
|86||Flat-rolled other alloy steel products||$757,861,000||-3.5%|
|87||Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches||$745,538,000||-3.8%|
|88||Liquid pumps and elevators||$720,153,000||+9.7%|
|91||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$691,063,000||-0.4%|
|93||Assembling machine tools||$680,212,000||-24.7%|
|94||Electric or electronic assembly machines||$680,099,000||+42.6%|
|95||Radar, radio communication items||$671,162,000||-4.5%|
|96||Medication mixes in dosage||$671,103,000||+30.2%|
|99||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$649,218,000||+3%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$417.1 billion or 87.3% by value for all products exported from Taiwan during 2022.
Fastest-growing among Taiwan’s 100 most valuable exported products were electrical and optical circuit boards or panels (up 76.4% from 2021), processed petroleum oils (up 71.8%), electric or electronic assembly machines (up 42.6%) and gold (up 34.9%).
In macroeconomic terms, Taiwan’s total exported goods represent 29.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($1.622 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 29.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP compares to 30.6% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Taiwan’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Also, please note that these metrics include re-exporting activity.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Taiwan’s unemployment rate averaged 3.6% for 2022, down from an average 3.95% in 2021 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Taiwan’s capital city is Taipei.
See also Taiwan’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Taiwan’s Top 10 Imports, Taiwan’s Top Trading Partners and China’s Top 10 Imports
International Monetary Fund, Taiwan Exchange Rate against USD. Accessed on March 30, 2023
CEIC, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 30, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 30, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 30, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 30, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 30, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 30, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Taiwan. Accessed on March 30, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 30, 2023
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 30, 2023