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Regional Variation of Industrial Development in Taiwan

Chuan Lyu Lectures
Faculty of Oriental Studies
University of Cambridge
5:00PM, Tuesday, May 9, 2000
The Little Hall, Sidgwick Site

Subject: Regional Variation of Industrial Development in Taiwan

Professor Ts'ui-jung Liu
Director, Institute of Taiwan History, Preparatory Office
Academia Sinica, Taiwan


     This paper aims at giving an overview of Taiwan's industrial development in the past century with a focus on the manufacturing industry and its regional variation. Modern industry was introduced into Taiwan in the Japanese colonial period and its production value increased quite rapidly at a growth rate of 6.73 percent per year during 1902-1942. However, the industrial structure did not change very much throughout the colonial period despite that from 1933 the colonial government began to emphasize the heavy industry's development. After recovering from World War II, the industrial production value increased 12.71 percent annually during 1953-1990 and the share of heavy industry eventually exceeded that of light industry in 1978, indicating a transformation of industrial structure. In this paper I will first present a general view with time series data to show the changing structure of the manufacturing industry before and after World War Ii. I will then discuss regional variations using census data.

1. A Brief Overview

     Scholars have done many studies on Taiwan's industrial development with focuses on different aspects and periods. In recent years, Yeh Shu-jen, a professor of economic history at National Taiwan University, has done a succinct yet comprehensive study on Taiwan's industrial development in a historical perspective. (Yeh Shu-cheng, 1995) It is convenient to summarize her findings and arguments here to provide an overview of Taiwan's industrial development for a long period.

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