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Taipei (/ˌtaɪˈpeɪ/), officially Taipei City,[I] is the capital[a] and a special municipality of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Located in Northern Taiwan, Taipei City is an enclave of the municipality of New Taipei City that sits about 25 km (16 mi) southwest of the northern port city of Keelung. Most of the city rests on the Taipei Basin, an ancient lakebed. The basin is bounded by the relatively narrow valleys of the Keelung and Xindian rivers, which join to form the Tamsui River along the city's western border.
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It was formerly established as Taipeh-fu and was the temporary capital of the island in 1887 when it was declared a province (Fukien-Taiwan Province). Taipeh was formally made the provincial capital in 1894. The romanized transcription of Taipeh was changed to Taihoku in 1895 when the Empire of Japan annexed Taiwan, based on the Japanese reading of the two characters. The writing in Chinese characters remained unaltered. Under Japanese rule, the city was administered under Taihoku Prefecture. Taiwan's Japanese rulers embarked on an extensive program of advanced urban planning that featured extensive railroad links. A number of Taipei landmarks and cultural institutions date from this period.
Following the surrender of Japan to the Allies during 1945, effective control of Taiwan was handed to the Republic of China (ROC). After facing defeat from Communist forces, the ruling Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to Taiwan and declared Taipei the provisional capital of the ROC in December 1949. Taiwan's Kuomintang rulers regarded the city as the capital of Taiwan Province and their control as mandated by General Order No. 1.
In 1990, Taipei provided the backdrop for the Wild Lily student rallies that moved Taiwanese society from one-party rule to multi-party democracy by 1996. The city has ever since served as the seat of Taiwan's democratically elected national government.
In 1885, as work commenced to govern the island as a province, Taipeh was thus temporarily designated as a provincial capital. The city officially became the capital in 1894. Nowadays, all that remains from the historical period is the north gate. The west gate and city walls were demolished by the Japanese while the south gate, little south gate, and east gate were extensively modified by the Kuomintang and have lost much of their original character.
As settlement for losing the First Sino-Japanese War, China ceded the island of Taiwan to the Empire of Japan in 1895 as part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. After the Japanese takeover, Taipei, romanized into English as Taihoku following the Japanese language pronunciation, was retained as the capital. It subsequently emerged as the political center of the Japanese Colonial Government. During that time the city acquired the characteristics of an administrative center, including many new public buildings and housing for civil servants. Much of the architecture of Taipei dates from the period of Japanese rule, including the Presidential Office Building which was the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan.
Upon the Japanese defeat following the nuclear bomb destruction of Hiroshima and its consequent surrender in August 1945, the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) assumed control of Taiwan. Subsequently, Taipei was established as a provincial city and a temporary Office of the Taiwan Province Administrative Governor was established in it. In 1947 the Kuomintang (KMT) government under Chiang Kai-shek declared island-wide martial law in Taiwan as a result of the 28 February Incident, which began with incidents in Taipei but led to an island-wide crackdown on the local population by forces loyal to Chiang. Two years later, on 7 December 1949, Chiang and the Kuomintang forces were forced to flee mainland China by the after defeat by Communist revolutionaries. The KMT-led national government that fled to Taiwan declared Taipei to be the provisional capital of a continuing Republic of China.
Taipei expanded greatly in the decades after 1949, and as approved on 30 December 1966, by the Executive Yuan, Taipei was declared a special municipality on 1 July 1967. In the following year, Taipei City expanded again by annexing Shilin, Beitou, Neihu, Nangang, Jingmei, and Muzha. At that time, the city's total area increased fourfold by absorbing several outlying towns and villages and the population increased to 1.56 million people.
Taipei City is located in the Taipei Basin in northern Taiwan. It is bordered by the Xindian River on the south and the Tamsui River on the west. The generally low-lying terrain of the central areas on the western side of the municipality slopes upward to the south and east and especially to the north, where it reaches the 1,120 m (3,670 ft)-tall Qixing Mountain, the highest (dormant) volcano in Taiwan in Yangmingshan National Park. The northern districts of Shilin and Beitou extend north of the Keelung River and are bordered by Yangmingshan National Park. The Taipei city limits cover an area of 271.7997 km2 (104.9425 sq mi), ranking sixteenth of twenty-five among all counties and cities in Taiwan.
In comparison to other Asian cities, Taipei has "excellent" capabilities for managing air quality in the city. Its rainy climate, location near the coast, and strong environmental regulations have prevented air pollution from becoming a substantial health issue, at least compared to cities in southeast Asia and industrial China. However, smog is extremely common and there is poor visibility throughout the city after rainless days.
While Taipei City is home to 2,524,393 people (2022), the greater metropolitan area has a population of 7,047,559 people. Even though the population of the city has been decreasing in recent years, the population of adjacent New Taipei has been increasing. The population loss, while rapid in its early years, was slowed by lower density development and campaigns designed to increase the birthrate in the city in the 2010s. As a result, the population rose 2010-2015.
In 2008, the crude birth rate stood at 7.88%, while the mortality rate stood at 5.94%. A decreasing and rapidly aging population is an important issue for the city. By the end of 2009, one in ten people in Taipei was over 65 years of age. Residents who had obtained a college education or higher accounted for 43.48% of the population, and the literacy rate stood at 99.18%.
Like the rest of Taiwan, Taipei is composed of four major ethnic groups: Hoklos, Mainlanders, Hakkas, and aborigines. Although Hoklos and Mainlanders form the majority of the population of the city, in recent decades many Hakkas have moved into the city. The aboriginal population in the city stands at 16,713 at the end of 2018 (
As Taiwan's business, financial, and technology hub, Taipei has been at the center of rapid economic development in the country and has now become one of the global cities in technology and electronics. This development is part of the so-called Taiwan Miracle which has seen dramatic growth in the city following foreign direct investment in the 1960s. Taiwan is now a creditor economy, holding one of the world's largest foreign exchange reserves of over US$403 billion as of December 2012.
Despite the Asian financial crisis, the economy continues to expand at about 5% per year, with virtually full employment and low inflation. The city's GDP stand at US$327 billion in 2014. As of 2013[update], the nominal GDP per capita in Taipei city is 5th highest in East Asia, behind Tokyo, Singapore, Osaka, and Hong Kong, but ahead of Seoul, as well as London and Paris, according to The Economist. GDP per capita based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in Taipei in 2015 was US$44173, behind that of Singapore (US$90151 in 2016 from the IMF) and Hong Kong (US$58322 in 2016 from the IMF; also based on PPP). The Financial Times ranked Taipei highly in economic potential (2nd, behind Tokyo) and business friendliness (4th) in 2015. The city is home to 30 billionaires, the 16th most in the world, ahead of many global cities such as Los Angeles and Sydney. Business Insider also ranks Taipei the 5th most high-tech city globally, the highest in Asia, in 2017. While the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2017 ranks Taipei as the smartest technology city globally.
Taipei's main development fields include the information and communications technology (hardware and software), biotechnology, general merchandizing (wholesale/retail), financial services, and MICE industries. Most of the country's major firms are based there including Acer Computers, Asus, CTBC Bank, Fubon Financial Holding, Tatung Company, D-Link, and others. 5 Global Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Taipei. The city also attracts many multi-national corporations, international financial institutions, foreign consulates, and business organizations to set up base there. Thus, Taipei has nearly 3,500 registered foreign businesses and attracts over 50% of the total foreign investment in Taiwan. Foreign companies with offices or regional headquarters in Taipei include Google, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, HSBC, Citibank, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, JP Morgan, PwC, and many others. Most financial and foreign firms like to reside in the central business district of Taipei, the Xinyi Special District. With Citi, JP Morgan, DBS Bank, Cathay Life Insurance, Shin Kong Commercial Bank, Hua Nan Bank, and soon Fubon Financial and Nan Shan Life Insurance all establishing skyscrapers in the area. Meanwhile, technology and electronics companies are often co-located in the Neihu Technology Park or the Nankang Software Park. The startup and innovation scene in Taipei is also very vibrant. In 2018 alone, Microsoft announced plans to invest US$34 million to create an artificial intelligence R&D center in Taipei, while Google announced it will hire 300 people and train 5,000 more in artificial intelligence for machines. Taipei is Google's biggest engineering site in Asia. IBM also announced in 2018 that it will develop a cloud research lab and expand its R&D center in Taipei with eyes on artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and cloud computing. According to the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Development Index, Taipei's entrepreneurial spirit ranks 6th worldwide and 1st in Asia. Taipei has more than 400 startups and numerous incubation centers, accelerators, venture capitals, and angel investors. The city's startup ecosystem is valued at US$580 million by Startup Genome in 2018.