Digital Media in Taiwan

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The Quickest Glimpse into the Digital Media Scene in Taiwan

  • An analysis of the Digital and Social Media activity online and in the Political, Economical, Technological, Environmental and Legal aspects in Taiwan.
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Taiwan (台灣), also known as Formosa, is a tropical island located in Eastern Asia, north of Philippines and off the southeastern coast of mainland China. With a population of 22.8 million, it is one of the most densely populated places globally. The official language of Taiwanese is Mandarin Chinese with Taiwanese and Hakka dialects. New Taiwan Dollars (TWD) is the official currency. Being one of Four Asian Tigers, Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing government guidance of investment and foreign trade. Exports, led by electronics and machinery, generate 70% of its GDP growth with China (28%), Hong Kong (13.8%) and US (11.5%) as its top 3 export partners. This provides primary impetus for economic development while also exposing the country's economy to volatile upturns and downturns due to world demand. [1]

Despite its geographical proximity to China, Taiwan's social media landscape portrays a different scene from that of the mainland. This is apparent from the practice of freedom of speech in Taiwan versus the strict censorship culture adopted by China. Indeed, Taiwan is home to liberal and competitive media industries in Asia. While its traditional media landscape is prevalent and strong, the nation's broadband infrastructure and emergence of web 2.0 services has remarkably resulted in a gradual paradigm shift. Today, Taiwanese people leverage on various social media platforms for information and connection, on top of the norms of traditional media and offline life.

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Digital Literacy


Taiwan has been very progressive in its efforts to liberalise the telecommunications industry and to create a positive regulatory regime. Despite the odd bout of bureaucratic bickering, structural reforms have been achieved. At the same time, Taiwan’s telecommunication infrastructure has been upgraded significantly, undergoing a series of network modernisation projects over the last decade or so. Thus, Internet growth has been phenomenal in Taiwan. The proportion of population who are Internet users has exceeded 75%. Some 80% of all homes in Taiwan own PCs and around 70% of homes have Internet connections. The market has moved rapidly away from dial-up access to broadband, mainly on DSL subscriptions, and over 60% of all Internet connections are broadband. Going into 2008 broadband penetration had been lifted to over 20%. There are currently a large number of ISPs, although a handful of big ones continue to dominate the market.

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Taiwan’s mobile market has been a remarkable phenomenon. By early 2002, the country had reached the milestone of one mobile service for every person on the island. After peaking at a penetration of 114% in late 2003, the penetration was sitting at around 105% going into 2008.

Consistent with the performance of its impressive mobile sector, Taiwan moved energetically into the ‘next generation’ of mobile services. Following the awarding of five licences for 3G services in 2002, one of the new licensees, APBW, launched its CDMA2000 1x service in 2003. The market newcomer passed the ‘one million subscribers’ milestone in late 2006, having grown fivefold in just three years. Three other 3G licensees launched their 3G services in 2005 and now account for nearly 15% of the total mobile subscriber base.[3]

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Digital Media Platforms


In Taiwan, blogging is ranked as the fifth favourite online activity by Taiwanese. The blogosphere is extensive with content creators from a wide age range due to the encouragement of freedom of speech. Through blogs, people post contents about Taiwan's current affairs, their personal life, passion for certain topics such as travelling, photography, politics and such. Examples of top Taiwanese blogs are as follows:[4]

Big Sound Portnoy, David on Formosa, Hungry in Taipei, Taiwan Matters!, Taiwan Blogs, Michael Turton

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Contrary to the popular usage of Twitter, majority of active Taiwan microbloggers use other platforms such as Plurk . Commonly, Taiwanese are well-known to plurk instead of tweet.


Plurk is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates (otherwise known as plurks) through short messages or links, which can be up to 140 text characters in length. Updates are then shown on the user's home page using a timeline which lists all the updates received in chronological order, and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. Users can respond to other users' updates from their timeline through the website, by instant messaging, or by text messaging. According to Alexa, as of November 21, 2010, 44.6% of Plurk's traffic comes from Taiwan. Plurk is also ranked 23rd in Taiwan and 1,177th worldwide.

In addition to being a social networking and microblogging site, Plurk also played unique role during certain happenings in Taiwan. An example is its role during Typhoon Morakot in 2008. During this period, people published instant messages to gather goods and volunteers through the platform. A special account, the Typhoon Page, was even established to collate and republish these information that was spread by individuals on Plurk. This platform helped in showcasing the latest situation visually. The page helped in presenting each area's immediate needs for food and volunteers.[6]

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Social Networking Sites

Social Networking.png The top 2 social networking site in Taiwan is Facebook and


Facebook Logo.png Facebook is also becoming highly popular among the Taiwanese online community, with a huge increase in usage in the past 6 months. This is generally considered to be a new trend in social networking among the Taiwanese domain, rivaling in popularity with and Currently, its penetration of the online population is 62%.

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Wretch (Chinese: 無名小站) is a Taiwanese community web site; in Chinese, its name means Anonymous Lil' Site or Nameless Lil' Station. It is the most well-known blog community in Taiwan with thousands of users registered. Wretch provides free album, blog, and Bulletin Board System hosting services. Four languages, including English, are available. A more extensive VIP version is offered. It is the top visited site in Traditional Chinese languages and the second in Taiwan after Yahoo! Taiwan according to Alexa. The domain attracted at least 4 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a survey.
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Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) / Forums

The top 3 online forum platforms in Taiwan are PTT BBS, Mobile01 and

PTT Bulletin Board System

PTT Bulletin Board System (PTT, 批踢踢實業坊, telnet:// is a terminal-based bulletin board system based in Taiwan. It was founded by students from the Department of Information Engineering of National Taiwan University, and is currently administrated by the Electronic BBS Research Society. PTT is arguably the largest BBS in the world with more than 1.5 million registered users. During peak hours, there are over 150,000 users online. It has over 200,000 boards with a multitude of topics, and more than 40,000 articles and 1 million comments are posted every day. Although using what most users will consider “primitive” in terms of user interface, its popularity is also partly due to its simplicity and ease of use.



Mobile01 is an online forum for users to discuss over anything and everything related to technology and the latest gadgets, ranging from mobile phones to iPads.

Backpackers.gif is a platform where travel enthusiasts can find answers to various tourism questions in the forum. It also contains a wiki that is partly joined by users of online travel Raiders wikipedia. Additionally, travellers can find help in searching for cheapest airfare and hotel prices through this platform.

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Instant Messaging

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Instant Messaging is among the top online activities for Taiwanese. Nearly 7 million (66.9%) of Taiwan's internet user population are leveraging on certain digital platforms to connect to their friends and network, on top of their offline connection. The top 2 Instant Messenger in Taiwan are MSN Messenger and Skype.

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Video-Sharing Websites

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Vlog.pngI'm Vlog is one of the top video log sites in Taiwan. Through this platform, users can view movie trailers, TV shows and shared videos by members. The site also allows facilitation of comments sharing, chatting and discussions among users.

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Search Engines

Search Engine.png Despite Google being commonly chosen as a favourite globally in the field of search engine, Yahoo Taiwan is the most preferred search engine in Taiwan.

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Online Gaming

The online gaming market in Taiwan is expanding and thriving, and expected to hit record numbers of sales as each year passes. Data has shown that the development of online gameplay has the potential to show even more dramatic expansion in the media and entertainment market in the Taiwanese market. Taiwanese video game companies are developing an wider range of products that reach beyond the traditional teenage and early twenties demographic. There is an increasing trend of video games which have integrated mobile and social networking technologies within their features. In addition, developments of online elements allow gamers to not only multiplay with other users internationally but also can interact with them in real-time through voice communication from a headset. Available for free download, or sold on disk for a nominal NT$40 at the island’s 9,500 convenience stores, online games enjoy an enormous user base.

Big spenders in the Taiwanese gaming market are game publishers and developers. Two of them - Gamania and Soft-World - dominate the domestic massive multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMOG, market and are positioning themselves as regional digital entertainment platforms. Often aligned with or outright owned by these leaders are smaller players, a few of the notables being the casual game portal FunTown (owned by GigaMedia) and MMOG developers IGS, UserJoy, Wasabii, Lager and more. Interestingly, the global big three console game makers - Sony with its PlayStation, Microsoft with Xbox and Nintendo with Wii, are conspicuously absent in this market. A revenue of NT$11.6 billion is forecasted for online games by the end of 2009, with predictions that end-users spending will grow 10 to 12 per cent a year. With the prospect of onling gaming having the capability to generate large revenues, it is not surprising that companies have been more interested with incorporating interactive play and online gaming components in their marketing strategies.

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Citizen Journalism

Social media is becoming increasingly pertinent in Taiwan. The way people consume information is undergoing profound change and the methods through which information is conveyed are changing as well. News that used to be transmitted via traditional media channels is now available on individual blogs. And through various social media channels, these individuals' opinions will be spread and amplified by other users. Citizen journalism is growing in Taiwan due to widespread dissatisfaction with the range and quality of traditional news sources. The Director of Taiwan Public Television Service International department, Mr. Lin Leh-Chyun, said that citizen journalism could play an important watchdog role over traditional media in terms of timeliness and depth of coverage.

Although citizen journalism will not be able to replace the role of traditional media, it has brought about much competition and has altered the traditional business model of mainstream media. Almost all Taiwanese traditional media now have websites and most allow comments on their sites. The major newspaper websites, as well as many TV channels, provide blog services to everyone. In addition, amongst the news that Taiwanese watch or read everyday, more than 30% are from the web and the numbers are rising. The Taiwanese traditional media has been trying to adopt the web and absorb more citizen journalism spirits in order to 1) cut cost, and 2) follow the trend. Traditional media still owns the biggest channels of communication; while citizen journalism is not only an alternative news channel, but also an engine of revolution to traditional media. UDN and Chinatimes are the forefront in this trend with AppleDaily and Libertytimes also showing commentary on their sites.[9]

Peopo, a citizen journalism site presented by Taiwan's Public Television Service, supports citizen journalism and illustrates in many ways Taiwan's open media environment. The platform is built from a blog system, every story can be shown on both blog and Citizen Journalism Platform. The service combining Audio, Visual and Web functions, is an Multimedia platform including three elements - video, photos, and text. Peopo is not just an internet platform in which it combines TV channels、internet platform, workshops ,and other activities. The service implements the mission of citizen media and continuing education. It also gets many supports and responses from NPO、NGO、continuing education centers、and major universities all over Taiwan. They have joined the service in real action, in order to voice out and create their influences. In addtion, each year, PeoPo gives awards for the best citizen reports.

In 2008, the PeoPo Citizen Journalism Forum was organized by the public television service together with PeoPo Citizen Journalism Portal and Department of Radio, TV, & Film of Shih Hsin University. The forum saw the participation of several bloggers, social workers, elites from mass media industry in Taiwan to prospect the status of citizen journalism in Taiwan. Topics in the forum mainly focused on participation and progression of citizen journalists, elites in this forum also did a simple SWOT analysis on the development of citizen journalism in Taiwan.

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Traditional Media Platforms

Unlike its Asian counterparts, Taiwan's traditional media platforms, especially the newspapers, have the luxury of liberation since Taiwan's democratization in 1987. With the policy on freedom of press and speech[10], conversations including topics on the government and military, are openly discussed by the mass media. Currently, in a market of 23 million, Taiwan’s media landscape is bustling. It houses seven 24-hour news stations, more than 4,000 magazine publishers, approximately 200 radio stations, and about 2,500 newspaper publishers. Additionally, it houses 21 AM radio stations, 143 FM stations, and 76 television broadcast stations (5 television networks with 46 digital and 30 analog stations). Taiwan also has the highest density of Satellite News Gathering (SNG) trucks in the world. Cable TV usage stands around 80% in Taiwan. The majority of the population still receives their news from cable TV because of cheap subscription rates, though the Internet is beginning to take over. Programming is mostly in Mandarin and Taiwanese, with some foreign language channels in Korean and English. With the current landscape, there is intense competition among traditional print, broadcast and digital media.

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An Analysis of The Political, Economical, Sociological, Technological, Environmental and Legal Aspects in Taiwan


How is Social Media utilized in the Political Environment?


In the age of digital media, Taiwan’s 2012 presidential candidates have prepared themselves to do battle in the labyrinth of social media networks. President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT) and Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have readied their campaigns to appeal to “digital natives,” voters who were born in the 1980s. These natives can mobilize their power in a virtual world of technology by cross-using new media such as Plurk, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube to set off a revolution in the real world.

Chen Shun-shao, associate professor of Journalism and Communications at Fu Jen Catholic University, told Commonwealth monthly that it used to be hard for social media to influence political power in Taiwan, but now it is the norm. The appearance of social networking media has changed and transformed today’s political campaign strategies. The internet is fast becoming a key advertising channel in Taiwan due to increased internet reach from 54% to 74% between 2003 to 2007 respectively and a rise in internet daily usage from 21% to 35% during the same period. Internet marketing enjoyed strong growth of 21.8% in 2006 amidst the dampening advertising sector. Besides, the internet advertising market was estimated to grow by 30.6 % to NT$4.896 billion following Google’s foray into the Taiwanese market in 2007. In contrast, other forms of media such as newspapers, radio and magazines have seen market share decline. A 2007 survey conducted by Yahoo! Taiwan revealed that 75.6% of Taiwanese enterprises have decided to invest some of their marketing budgets in internet-based initiatives. However, there is still room for growth as online advertising accounted for slightly over 6% of Taiwan's total advertising market value in 2007.

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Candidates and Their Social Presence

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Ma Ying-Jeou

Party: Kuomintang (KMT)

Single Minded proposition: Rapprochement with Mainland China

Social Media Profile: President Ma is a relative latecomer to the social media revolution, having joined Facebook in early 2011 and Twitter and Plurk last September. Mr. Ma’s policies of rapprochement with mainland China seem to sit well with Taiwanese OEMs whose core manufacturing business is based across the Strait, however the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party in Taipei City have enraged Android users and developers over their spat with Google. Paid-for apps are not currently allowed in Taiwan due to issues over consumer protection laws. Will this sway the 2 million or so Android users to vote differently?

Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP): Tsai Ing-wen

If elected Tsai would have be Taiwan’s first female president

Single Minded Proposition: Formal independence from the mainland

Social Media Profile & Appeal: Tsai is popular among youth voters and the DPP stronghold in the southern regions of the country, but she’s also a savvy social network user, enabling her message to permeate through the Taiwanese web space. She joined YouTube in late 2008 and Plurk in mid 2010. Her YouTube channel is ranked 15th in Taiwan this week, showing her preference for slick video content that is shared across social networks

James Soong, Chairman of the People First Party

The former Governor of the now defunct Taiwan Province, Soong is perhaps a bit long in the tooth (he’s 69) and seen by many as a firm outsider in this year’s race to the Presidential Palace.

Single Minded Proposition:

Social Media Profile and Appeal: Soong has only dabbled with social media, relying on traditional channels to spread his message

When campaigns rolled out in year 2000, it was the first time ever that the Internet was being used to reach out to the public. In the next election, political campaigns reverted back to traditional modes of communication mostly because of the nature of the candidates involved.

Up till recently, we begin to see another shift, now including leveraging heavily on social and digital media to reach out to the public:

Please refer to Case Study: Inter-cultural bridges - “Support Taiwan” campaign[11]

Looking Forward Campaign Taiwan's presidential election is January 14, 2012. Taiwan needs a president that will take the country into the future instead of looking into the past. A past that is not even Taiwan's past. Please join us in supporting Dr. Tsai Ing Wen for president.

Please note: This is an UNOFFICIAL campaign and is not related to Dr. Tsai Ing Wen in any way shape or form. This event was created by's I Love Taiwan project (

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Overview of Economical State in Taiwan

The case of a very successful developing country -- Taiwan -- is examined in order to assess the importance of market phenomena and governmental policy leadership for promoting development. In their analysis of postwar Taiwan, therefore, the authors reject the temptation to dichotomize 'state versus market', and instead argue strongly in favor of a 'state and market' approach. The ability to accommodate and manipulate economic market forces was central to Taiwan's economic miracle because the island's businesses became highly competitive on world markets and carved out a niche of comparative advantage in the global economy. Much of the credit for this, furthermore, rests with the flexible production of small private firms. However, the state also played a significant role in boosting the island's competitiveness by promoting several structural transformations of the economy, creating a good business environment for entrepreneurs, channeling foreign capital into a few vital sectors, and financing infrastructure and human capital development. A key factor in the state's positive role, in turn, appears to be regime autonomy. That is, until quite recently, the government has been rather autonomous from social forces and unconstrained by electoral politics and popular accountability.

Online spending of Internet users in Taiwan

Lead generation and internet marketing entrepreneurs can be highly successful in Taiwan if they try to understand the preference of Taiwanese internet users and how they spend their time online. The longest amount of time is spent online searching or collecting information which represents 57.2% of time spent online by Taiwanese internet users. This is followed by email, instant messenger and online shopping which account for 46.4%, 36.8% and 27.1% respectively. In a report looking at the online spending of internet users in Taiwan, mainland China, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, Taiwan was top in terms of the amount of money spent online using a Visa card over a 12 month period. It reported that the average Taiwanese online shopper spent $4,041 during the same period compared to $2,577 in mainland China. The internet in Taiwan differs from most other parts of the world in terms of search engine market share with Yahoo having a greater percentage at 51.12% and Google controlling only 47.61%. Bing, Baidu and PC Home follow with 0.89%, 0.19% and 0.09% respectively. The two top search terms in Taiwan are “facebook” and “yahoo” even on Google search.

Women and white collar workers the biggest online shoppers

Office workers aged 30-39 years and women of all ages are the biggest online shoppers in Taiwan, according to a survey conducted between June and October 2011 by the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute. The survey, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Department of Commerce, received responses from 28,499 online retailers. According to Euromonitor International forecasts, internet retailing will be worth US$2.8 billion in Taiwan during 2011, up 15.4% year-on-year, with apparel (US$1.2 billion) and consumer electronics (US$723 million) the biggest categories. [12]

Advertising Campaigns using Digital/Social Media- Economics

One of the most successful campaigns to date in Taiwan is ICL MSL “Reebok No Pants Day” in Taiwan. [13]

This Reebok ‘No Pants Day’ marketing campaign is definitely one worth taking a look at. Could you imagine going to work or walking to the nearest Starbucks, only to find pantie-clad models walking around promoting a gym shoe? Nude or relatively nude marketing is a surefire way of grabbing attention fast. This Reebok ‘No Pants Day’ campaign shows models riding subways pantless and looking completely confident while doing so.

Whilst the marketing campaign could do so much, the main success factors were attributed to the citizens of Taiwan, taking pictures and videos of the happenings and posting it online. This resulted in an explosion of views and generated interest of:

Total of 295 Media Clippings, 10,000,000++ views on YouTube, 98 Tv News broadcasted in Prime Time reaching millions of people in Taiwan, with an advertising value of up to NT$37, 276, 796, total PR value up to NT$110, 830, 388 and a Return of Investment rate of 98 with sales being boosted 20% after the campaign. [14]

This example goes to show the increasing presence of Taiwanese people going online, sharing videos and pictures and the effectiveness of using social/digital media to spread the word, proving to be the most efficient, effective and not to mention cost effective way available. Therefore, it is important for companies to fully utilize social/digital media to interact and reach out to customers.

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Top 10 Taiwanese Brand on Facebook


Median Age in Taiwan 10.9% of the Taiwanese population is older than 65. Median age: total: 37.6 years Male: 36.9 years Female: 38.3 years (2011 est.) [15]

Taiwan Unemployment Rate The unemployment rate in Taiwan was last reported at 4.2 percent in January of 2012.. Unemployment rate is defined as the level of unemployment divided by the labour force. The labour force is defined as the number of people employed plus the number unemployed but seeking work. The nonlabour force includes those who are not looking for work, those who are institutionalised and those serving in the military. (source: national statistics republic of china (taiwan))

Social Media Reliance

Digital Marketing Digital signage comes to Taiwan c-stores An in-store digital signage network including 3,000 screens and players has been installed in 1,500 branches of FamilyMart, one of the largest retail chains in Taiwan. Content on the screen includes daily news, commercial videos, life information, ticker text (RSS feeds and promotional messages) and various Flash banners. [16] Future of the Technology, Communications & Media industry in Taiwan A systematic, long-term national strategy for promoting the TCM industry has been highly influential in positioning Taiwan as an international technology hub. Software development, e-commerce and delivering TCM solutions suited to the needs of the Chinese market are among the priorities of the government for the development of the industry. Although the Taiwanese TCM market is already saturated in many sectors, Euromonitor International forecasts healthy growth to continue in the fixed broadband Internet sectors. The penetration of broadband Internet is expected to grow from 79.6% of households in 2009 to 96.4% in 2020, while household possession of other digital equipment is expected to remain largely flat over the period to 2020. [17]

Cultural issues

  • Strong Local Identity.

While Taiwan is heavily influenced by Chinese culture, the two territories are vastly different.Taiwanese are imbued with a strong sense of national identity and view themselves as a separate entity from China. This is manifested in their use of traditional Chinese writing as opposed to simplified Chinese used in the mainland. Businesses which are looking to infiltrate the social media scene should therefore be sensitive towards this difference.

  • Social Media as an Empowering tool

Freedom of speech is widely practiced in Taiwan and is evident in the largely unregulated media scene. Social media empowers this individual right by allowing internet users to express their views and more importantly, to influence others. Given Taiwan's low power distance culture and sensationalist leanings, unusual events or news have a tendency to spread like wildfire and generate avid discussions among the online community. In December 2006, the first ever web 2.0 political campaign took place during the Taipei City Council Elections when popular local blogger Portnoy attempted to garner support within the blogosphere for the Green Party, a political party for environmental and social justice. His post spurned over a 100 blog posts pledging their support for the Green Party by displaying the campaign logo (logo on the right) prominently on their blogs.

  • Higher level of trust in social media

Undeniably, traditional media is an extremely influential media channel in Taiwan. Due to the unregulated media environment. However, there is intense competition among Taiwan’s news media companies which often resort to sensationalism to gain viewer or readership. This has resulted in a high level of distrust of traditional media and a growing trend of people turning to social media for information. In fact, popular local blogger Portnoy commented that through blogging, he gained a tremendous amount of knowledge that he was not able to obtain through traditional media channels. The channels to utilize therefore depends on the corporation's objectives. Traditional media is suitable for businesses who want to create brand awareness, while social media channels are more apt for those who wish to engage consumers on a deeper level.

  • Low Power Distance

Compared to China and Hong Kong, Taiwan has a relatively low score of 58 on the Power Distance Index (PDI). This means that people generally accept power relations that are more consultative and relate to one another as equals regardless of their position in the hierarchy. This can be attributed to the largely unregulated media landscape in Taiwan where everyone has the freedom to state his/her opinion. The social media scene reflects this phenomenon, with internet users commenting openly on a variety of issues ranging from celebrity gossip to politics. Criticizing politicians and businesses are common occurences in the social media scene. Thus, businesses should be prepared for direct, two-way communication with Taiwanese consumers. Source: Kenneth C.C. Yang, A comparative study of Internet regulatory policies in the Greater China Region: Emerging regulatory models and issues in China, Hong-Kong SAR, and Taiwan, ScienceDirect

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Taiwan is the biggest manufacturer of electronics -- particularly mobile devices and laptop computers -- in the world

Taiwan Local Tech Companies

Asustek - In Search of Incredible campaign Acer -"Think different" campaign HTC - HTC is running a campaign for its Wildfire handset on its Facebook page. Visitors to the page are asked to submit an idea for what they would do if they could get all of their Facebook friends together in one place for the day.

Mobile Penetration

A Comparison between Singapore and Taiwan


For Usage on Social Networking


For Usage on Internet


Key points – Taiwan

  • The morning commute triggers peak communication for Taiwan’s mobile users
  • Mobile internet and mobile social networking remain constant for much of the day suggesting that Taiwanese netizens access the web and social networks through fixed/PC-based internet at home, using their mobile when on the go.
  • The slight rise in gaming and music usage despite no mobile internet peak suggests that many mobile users own smarphones which they use for gaming and music storage, while internet surfing is done through a PC

Key points – Singapore

  • Commuters make great use of SMS, location-based service and personal entertainment – music, games, internet – during downtime of morning commute
  • Mobile internet usage remains constant through most of the day although mobile social networking noticeably peaks during the evening


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Environmental and Legal

Internet piracy and enforcement: Predominant form of piracy lies in the music and recording and the motion picture industries in Taiwan. Both the music and recording and the motion picture industries continue to get good cooperation from ISPs in securing takedowns of infringing material in the hosted environment, but no cooperation in dealing with P2P filesharing which accounts for the vast majority of the losses to these industries. Compliance rates in the hosted environment were around 99% in 2009 for the recording industry and around 90% for the motion picture industry. These excellent compliance rates pertained even before the passage of the ISP law and should improve even more. For the music and recording industry, filesharing software services, website, and cyberlocker sites located in China pose serious problems. Legal issues: While FOXY ( and its nominal operator were indicted in May 2009, the case remains pending in the courts. FOXY is still operating due to its server being located in the U.S. and reportedly its true operators located in China, making them inaccessible to Taiwan prosecutors. The issue still under consideration by the prosecutors is whether Article 87(7) is applicable. This is the new P2P law’s provision added to the Copyright Law in 2007 which provides for criminalizing the provision of software or other technologies from which the infringer has “receive[d] benefit.” and where there is an “intent to allow the public to infringe economic rights.”

Two discouraging decisions in Taiwan’s trial court in 2009 and 2010 resulted in the dismissal of charges of copyright infringement, twice, against the operators of the infamous website Ezpeer. The basis of the rejection - that local investigators who filed the complaint with law enforcement authorities lacked the proper legal authority to do so - has never been raised and sets a chilling precedent for online rights enforcement in Taiwan. The 2010 decision remains under appeal and both MPA and RIAA/IFPI report continuing good cooperation with enforcement authorities in raiding pirate websites and generally deterrent penalties being issued by the courts. All industries urge that this record continue. The local recording industry reports that its newest problem is the large quantity of unauthorized music files available from the iTunes store. Cease & desist letters have been sent and discussion with iTunes are continuing. While enterprise end-user piracy continues to cause the greatest losses to the software industry, Taiwan continues to have the second highest number of online software infringements in Asia. BSA sent out over 32,000 takedown notices through October 31, 2009. It also reports many ex officio raids by the enforcement authorities against sites selling software online. About 90% of the online software piracy in Taiwan occurs over P2P services.

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In contrast to China, the Taiwanese government has a liberal stance on Internet regulation. Internet regulations are minimal and designed to protect Internet users rather than to restrict the user’s access to certain sites or information.

Freedom of press

Taiwan was ranked the top country in Asia in the 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index. The independence of Taiwan’s public media as well as its high level of self-censorship were factors that contributed to Taiwan’s ranking as 32nd in the world, preceding Japan, which took 37th place. Taiwan’s government also facilitates the existence of a huge number of media outlets, both in the broadcasting and printed field, which makes Taiwan’s media scene highly competitive. However, there have been criticisms that the freedom enjoyed by the press has given rise to media sensationalism and loss of quality which may lead to a decline in its credibility as an information provider . A study presented in October 2006 by the international public relations firm, Edelman, shows that a mere one per cent of Taiwanese respondents view the media as a trusted information source. According to the study, respondents trusted the local media less than foreign media outlets, online media or bloggers.

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Internet Content Rating Regulations

In order to protect minors on the Internet, the Taiwanese government has enacted the Internet Contents Rating System Law which is enforced by both city and county governments. The law requires all information service providers and Internet content providers to provide rating information about their sites. Internet contents will be categorized into the followings: (1) General, (2) Protective (kids less than six years old will be prevented from access), (3) PG-18 (kids less than 12 years old will be prevented from access. Those aged between 12 and 18 will require approval from parents or other adults to access), and (4) Restricted (adults only).

Privacy and Security Issues

Although the Taiwanese government adopts a self regulatory approach to internet usage, a 2007 telephone survey by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) revealed that the number of internet users concerned about internet security has risen from 46.3 per cent in 2003 to 64 per cent in 2007. Taiwan’s existing laws in terms of libel, copyright, privacy protection have been applied to several internet cases in Taiwan in the past years. Recently, the local government has begun to examine the negative effects of internet content (such as pornography, gambling, spam, misleading medical information, etc.) and has taken steps to formulate measures to combat cyber-crime. The government has added a new chapter to Taiwan’s Criminal Code which provides a clear legal basis for the punishment of common types of cyber-crime.

The National Communications Commission (NCC) has also played an active role in building public awareness about security and privacy threats on the internet through campaigns. Currently the government in Taiwan is still focusing mainly on self-regulation by Internet service providers and other types of business enterprise. Its role is still largely confined to formulating standards and assisting with the development of new security products.

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With the rising trend for politicians to be online, Taiwan's president Ma Ying Jeou also unveils his Facebook Page this January 2011. He aims to have greater outreach to the public through such social networking site. He hopes to share his experiences and feelings with Taiwanese people on Facebook. [19] Currently, he has around 540,000 fans on the platform. Observers say that Mr Ma went on this platform, simply in preparation for 2012's president election. This raise the question about his sincerity of being online and if he is the main person posting on his Facebook Page.

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We need to understand how Digital Media is becoming prevalent and increasingly important to communicating in Taiwan and how digital and social media are integrated into the Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Environmental and Legal landscape in Taiwan. This is critical in understanding how to communicate with the Taiwanese. In knowing this, we can justify using such platforms without hesitation, with guaranteed results.

We explore the Economical aspect in Digital and Social Media and the amount of money it generates on these platforms. We then supported it with a case study on one of Taiwan's leading campaigns "Reebok, No Pants" campaign and the social media buzz and revenue generation in created for the brand.

  • Know your audience

Before businesses begin to adopt social media in Taiwan, they should first explore and understand the mapping of different online interest communities – sites where people discuss different products such as where to buy, how they buy, how much does it cost, and how it the quality of the product. There are Taiwanese bloggers out there who are very influential in certain areas, and businesses can leverage on the bloggers’ expertise if they are able to find the right place and the right blogger for help and consultation in advance. To get in touch with these A-list bloggers right away, businesses can use micro-blogging platforms such as Plurk to engage them.

  • Understand the Taiwanese culture

Businesses need to understand the Taiwanese culture (never ever confuse Taiwan with China) and its target market. Also, businesses need to evaluate whether their main target markets are ready for and are suitable for social media. There are many business opportunities out there in the blogosphere as long as businesses are able to carve out a niche for themselves and deliver products that meet the desires of its consumers.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your selected coummication channel

The Taiwanese value sincerity and being ‘real’ (truthfulness). Although Taiwanese may be critical about corporate blogging and treat it as “just another form of traditional one-way marketing”, this is often the case only when the company gets embroiled in trouble and controversy, thus causing its blog to be criticized. Companies should worry more about their product quality in advance, rather than the blog. Furthermore as covered above, there are instances of companies that have successfully adopted social media to get engaged with their consumers. Social media is less of a tool than it is an idea and a value. As such, a necessary criterion for the effective utilization of social media is that companies must be prepared to embrace the concept in its entirety. The suitability to effectively engage social media depends on the company’s corporate culture, customers, and key corporate strategy. Corporate blogs are just an information window with a more human touch. Though social media is an essential platform for product communications and outreach, companies should not forget that traditional mainstream media also plays an important role and should not be ignored.

  • Get insights by listening

Before setting up a social media platform, businesses need to tap into the web 2.0 environment first to listen and participate. This allows the businesses to understand their markets better. Businesses can consider using “digg-like” social bookmark services to get a feel of popular topics in the blogosphere. Examples of such Taiwanese bookmark platforms include funP and HEMiDEMi. These platforms also provide authority ratings – somewhat like Technorati. A second way of tapping into conversations would be for businesses to monitor v-log (video log) channels such as I’m Vlog which is a popular Taiwanese Vlog medium. Businesses can look for the most discussed and most watched videos to get in tune with their potential customers. For example, movie agencies in Taiwan actively use social bookmark services and online sites to promote new videos.

  • Customize your communication strategy

In Taiwan, there is a large divide between English and Chinese blogs. This difference is blog-based and not personal. Therefore, businesses need to consider if they want to include only one or both communities in their social media strategy. Though Mandarin is the vernacular, the English community should not be neglected as they also possess substantial influence. However, this group will require a different engagement approach as their demographics differ from that of the Chinese bloggers.

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Hear from the Experts

In this segment, you will get to hear first hand from experts sharing their insights on the social media scene in Taiwan.

Expert's Bio

Lars Voedisch

Managing Media Consultant, APAC Dow Jones

Lars advises leading public relations and corporate communications professionals in Asia Pacific on media and reputation management. At Dow Jones, he leads the PR & Corporate Communications segment in Asia Pacific, looking after business in excess of USD$5 million across the region. This includes strategic development, thought leadership initiatives and key client advisory. Lars works with renowned global and regional brands like Coca Cola, Fidelity, Honda, ING, Macquarie, Procter & Gamble, Telstra – as well as government and communications agencies.

Video Interview - Lars Voedisch Part I

Video Interview - Lars Voedisch Part II

Podcast - Lars Voedisch

Luna Chiang.png

Luna Chiang

Group Director, Compass Public Relations Ltd.

Luna Chiang joined Compass Public Relations Ltd. in 2005. As a Group Director, she is mainly responsible for public relations consultancy, media strategy formulation, client management and team leading. Luna started her PR career in 2000. Before joining the PR industry, she worked for a high-tech magazine for more than four years, where she gained a solid understanding of media perceptions. With over 10 years of substantial PR and media experience, Luna is knowledgeable in strategic development, issue management and media outreach.

Luna has led her team in serving many multinational accounts, spanning different industries from high-tech, finance, automobiles to games. Her client portfolio includes Qualcomm, HP, Cisco, Nortel, Unisys, ING Investment, Blizzard Entertainment, DaimlerChrysler Group, etc. Under Luna’s leadership, her team was honored by Cisco as the Best PR Service Team in 2004 and outperformed other PR agencies in the category of the Best High-tech Communications in the Distinguished PR Award in 2010. Luna is studying for her Executive MBA degree at National Central University.

Podcast - Luna Chiang

Grace Young, Chen Li-Chi and Chen Wei of National Taiwan University

Grace, Li-Chi and Wei are 3 undergraduates of National Taiwan University. They share with us briefly about the social media landscape in Taiwan, online habits and how organisations can reach out to youths of Taiwan. Digital Media Taiwan Interview.png

Video Interview - 3 Taiwanese Undergraduates

Alextrup.jpg Alex Trup

A Digital Marketing Manager for an international communications consultancy in Taipei, Alex.He has been in Taipei for more than 3 years and sees himself living there for a long time to come. We will be getting his insights on the 2012 Taiwan Elections.

Podcast - Alex Trup

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Case Studies

Here are some successful Taiwan Case Studies of businesses that utilized social media to engage their target customers :

Company Campaign Description
7Eleven.jpg 7 Eleven launched its first Augmented Reality billboard and Facebook Campaign in November 2010. Created by wwwins Isobar Taiwan, the 2-months campaign utilized multiple platforms such as the Facebook, interactive digital billboards, online advertising, point-of-sale touch screens in 7-Eleven stores, and PR event with ambassador, Jolin Tsai.[20]
Paramount.JPG Paramount Pictures and Microsoft Advertising created online ad campaign for 12 to 38 years old to showcase audio and visual effects of the movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The campaign includes various types of advertisements and microsite on the MSN homepage, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Hotmail and MSN entertainment. [21][22]

Intel.JPG Intel Taiwan launched Intel Family: Future Daily [23]to raise awareness of importance of choosing the right CPU and Heart of the Matter campaign to launch its Intel Centrino processor chip. Both campaigns engage involvement of the customers through opportunity for creation of user-generated content and sharing of viral video. [24]
EMI.JPG EMI Music opted for a mobile campaign for Jolin Tsai's Agent-J album launch. The campaign revolved around a film storyboard of Agent-J and utilized multiple platforms for pre-launch SMS ticket promotions, ringtone downloads posters and etc. [25]
Taiwan Tourism.JPG Taiwan Tourism Bureau executed a remarkable campaign that engaged people from 44 countries through its online platforms. The campaign titled The Best Trip in the World invites global teams to send entries of creative and budget 4-days Taiwan tour itinerary in the form of videos and blog posts. [26]
Dell.JPG Dell implemented official corporate chinese-language blog which facilitates direct communication and better service provision for its customers. The blog comprises of contents on new products/services, personal experience, work experience from the workers. It also allows suggestions of topics and comments by viewers.[27]

More details on these cases can be found at the following link: Digital Media in Taiwan Case Study

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  13. Reebok No Pants Day
  14. MSL Group Asia - Reebok No Pants Day
  15. CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of January 9, 2012
  16. Technology, Communications and Media: Taiwan Euromonitor International(2010)
  17. Technology, Communications and Media: Taiwan Euromonitor International(2010)
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  20. Facebook Gains Popularity in Taiwan. (n.d.). Clickz. Retrieved on March 10, 2011 from
  21. Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2010. (n.d.). Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook. Retrieved on March 10, 2011 from
  22. Transformers Case Study. (n.d.). Microsoft Advertising. Retrieved on March 11, 2011 from
  23. Intel Future Daily in Taiwan (n.d.). Campaign Asia. Retrieved on March 10, 2011 from,intel--intel-future-daily--taiwan.aspx
  24. Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2009. (n.d.). Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook. Retrieved on March 10, 2011 from
  25. Agent-J Campaign (n.d.). Campaign Asia. Retrieved on March 10, 2011 from
  26. Announcement of The Best Trip in the World Contest. (n.d.). Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium. Retrieved on March 10, 2011 from
  27. Direct to Dell. Retrieved on March 10, 2011 from

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