Kaohsiung is southern Taiwan's largest city and the heart of the economy of the south region from Chiayi to Pingtung.
Kaohsiung has provincial-level administrative status, as does Taipei. The city of Kaohsiung, with a population of more than 1.5 million, is located on the southwestern coast of the island and is approximately 350 kilometers south of Taipei.
The port of Kaohsiung is the world's fifth largest container shipping center and processes two-thirds of Taiwan's total import and export volume. It has 118 operating berths, occupying 26.6 kilometers of port waterline that can simultaneously accommodate up to 155 ships. The port effectively manages import, export, and transshipment containers and handles up to 8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units) annually. Situated at the hub of trade routes linking Northeast and Southeast Asia, the development of Kaohsiung Port has stimulated Taiwan’s prosperity.
Heavy industry and shipping are the foundation of Kaohsiung’s vibrant economy. Taiwan’s steel, ship, and petrochemical production are concentrated in the Kaohsiung area. The city houses China Steel Corporation, Chinese Petroleum Corporation, the Lin-Hai Industrial Zone and the Nantzu Export Processing Zone, which have created Taiwan’s economic miracle. In addition, the region's manufacturing bases also include the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park and Luchu Industrial Base. The former has become the center of the island’s 12-inch wafer manufacturers as well as that of the optoelectronics and biotechnology industries; the latter, located in a suburb of Kaohsiung, aims to attract high-tech businesses.
Kaohsiung is transforming itself into a Global Logistics Center and a Warehousing and Transport Center. The city government plans to reorganize the existing resources, including Kaohsiung Port, Kaohsiung International Airport, Kaohsiung Multifunctional Commerce and Trade Park, and the adjacent Tainan Science-based Industrial Park, to cover marine shipping and air cargo services, custom services, and the related legal aspect of information within the region between the Southern Science Park and the Kaohsiung and Pingtung area. With the transportation network and the inter-regional resources, the goal of the general environment of the Global Logistics Center and the Warehousing and Transport Center can be achieved.
Although Kaohsiung is behind Taipei in overall development, many observers believe that the excellent harbor and relatively ample room to expand give Kaohsiung the potential to catch up with Taipei in economic importance.