Liaison: Jill McIlroy and Melanie Scott
Kaohsiung has been a Sister City to Little Rock since 1983.
Kaohsiung is the largest commercial harbor and the second largest city in Taiwan, located on the southwest coast and facing the Taiwan Strait. Surrounded by mountains, the city has a tropical savanna climate. As of 2014, the city had a population of 2,777,296.
The area has been settled since the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The Dutch occupied the area from 1624 to 1660, and then Taiwan was annexed by the Qing Dynasty. Kaohsiung’s importance as a port grew under Japanese occupation from 1895 to 1945. The main north-south railway line terminated in Kaohsiung, contributing to the area’s importance, and aluminum manufacturing industries were developed. After World War II, Chinese administration regained control of Taiwan. Kaohsiung was designated as a special municipality in 1979, putting it on the same administrative level as a county. In 2010, the special municipality and its county were combined to become Greater Kaohsiung.
As a port, Kaohsiung is a major export center, primarily of agricultural products: rice, sugar, bananas, pineapples, peanuts, and citrus fruits. Important industries include steel, shipbuilding, petrochemicals, refining oil, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, salt, and paper, among others. Foreign investment has focused on processing local raw materials for export.
Additionally, ‘livable city’ initiatives have been implemented to promote well-being. Under this eco-friendly development policy, parks and other environmental restoration projects, bicycle routes, and high-quality transportation systems have been developed, and libraries and university campuses renovated.
The majority of the population can speak both Taiwanese Hokkien and Standard Chinese.
A number of historical sites and monuments from the Dutch colonization, Qing Dynasty, and Japanese occupation still stand in the area and are protected by the city government. These sites include former consulates, banks, police stations, and light houses, as well as Buddhist and Taoist temples.
Natural attractions include the mountains surrounding the city, coral reefs in the harbor, the Yushan National Park, and the Dapingding Tropical Botanical Garden.
The planning of the city has enabled the government to build numerous museums for astronomy, history, art, science, and technology. The Bureau of Cultural Affairs also funds Pier-2, warehouses that have been converted to art spaces, restaurants, and theaters. Kaohsiung is also renowned for having the largest night market in Southeast Asia.
The city is home to the Kaohsiung Truth, a basketball team in the ASEAN Basketball league, and has several large stadiums for national and international events.
Colleges and Universities
Kaohsiung hosts numerous universities, including eight national military schools. There are universities specializing in medical studies, science and technology, and hospitality and tourism. Other universities offer degrees in commerce, education, maritime technology, languages, and nursing.