The City of Taichung
Taichung is a key transportation center in the highly populated belt running along Taiwan's west coast. With a population of 900,000, the city is the island's third largest. It has a rapidly expanding international harbour and is a leading warehousing and wholesale center. Taichung's importance in Taiwan's external trade has been increasing dramatically in recent years, both because of the comprehensive infrastructure it offers and because of a burgeoning trade with mainland China.
Taichung is situated 153 kilometers (95 miles) south of Taipei and only 126 kilometers (78 miles) from the Chiang Kaih-Shek (CKS) International Airport. It is linked to all of the other major cities on the island by comprehensive road, rail, and air networks.
With an area of 163.4 square kilometers, Taichung is politically a county-level city under the Province of Taiwan. The site of the Taiwan provincial government is located only 20 kilometers south of the city center, and part of the provincial offices are within the city.
Taichung has long been known as a city of culture because there are so many universities and colleges, world-class museums, art galleries, public libraries, community centers, and temples. There are also exciting cultural events during every season of the year.
The city was established in 1887 as the capital of a local government. Its chessboard-style street plan, laid down during the Japanese occupation (1895-1945), was once the model for all cities on the island.
Nowadays, Taichung is rapidly changing from a quiet mid-size city into a bustling metropolis. New boulevards and streets are being built and new skyscrapers are erected every year. Residential areas cover many miles. Quality hotels are being opened to accommodate the increasing number of international visitors and fine western restaurants and pubs are crowded with Europeans and Americans, as well as fun-loving local residents. The shopping districts and department stores are jammed with consumers, not only from the city, but also from neighboring counties. A subway system is being planned, with construction slated to begin soon. Several urban renewal projects are also scheduled to begin in the next few years, including the Gangchen Development Project and the New City Hall redevelopment project, both of which will be designed by renowned architects.
Another project invested by a private construction company, Shining Institution, will cost some NT$10 billion. It will feature a 66-story skyscraper, which will contain the headquarters and the Park Hyatt Hotel. The building is expected to become a new Taichung landmark.
International visitors coming to Taichung can land at either CKS International Airport or the island's other international airport in Kaohsiung. By freeway, it normally takes 1.5 hours to reach Taichung from CKS and two hours from Kaohsiung. There are 27 domestic flights daily between Taipei and Taichung and five flights between Kaohsiung and Taichung.
In line with the rapid growth in air traffic, the Taichung airport completed an expansion project in September of 1997 that has increased its area and facilities six-fold.