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Special municipality
Kaohsiung City
Clockwise from top: Kaohsiung skyline, Kaohsiung Confucius Temple, Liuhe Night Market, World Games Stadium, Port of Kaohsiung, Central Park Station
Clockwise from top: Kaohsiung skyline, Kaohsiung Confucius Temple, Liuhe Night Market, World Games Stadium, Port of Kaohsiung, Central Park Station
Flag of Kaohsiung
Official seal of Kaohsiung
Nickname(s): The Harbor City (Gangdu), The Maritime Capital, The Waterfront City
Kaohsiung City shown within the Taiwan islands
Kaohsiung City shown within the Taiwan islands
Satellite image of Kaohsiung
Satellite image of Kaohsiung
Coordinates: 22°38′N 120°16′E / 22.633°N 120.267°E / 22.633; 120.267Coordinates: 22°38′N 120°16′E / 22.633°N 120.267°E / 22.633; 120.267
Country  Republic of China
Region Southern Taiwan
City seat Lingya District and
Fengshan District
 • Mayor Chen Chu (DPP)
 • Deputy Mayor Liu Shih-fang1
 • Total 2,946.2527 km2 (1,137.5545 sq mi)
  Rank 4
Elevation 9 m (30 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,769,072
 • Density 940/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
  Rank 2
Time zone CST (UTC+8)
Postal code 800–852
Area code(s) (0)7
ISO 3166 code TW–KHH
Districts 38
Website www.kcg.gov.tw/EN

Kaohsiung City (Chinese: 高雄市; pinyin: Gāoxióngshì; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ko-hiông; old names: Takao, Takow, Takau) is one of the five special municipalities under the administration of the Republic of China. Located in southern-western Taiwan and facing the Taiwan Strait, it is by area the largest municipality, at 2,947.62 km2 (1,138.08 sq mi), and second most populous (by urban area) with a population of approximately 2.77 million. Since its start at 17th century, Kaohsiung has grown from a small trading village, into the political, economic, transportation, manufacturing, refining, shipbuilding, and industries centers of southern Taiwan. It is a global city with sufficiency as categorized by GaWC in 2012.2

The Kaohsiung International Airport serving the city is the second largest airport in Taiwan. The Port of Kaohsiung is the largest harbor in Taiwan, but not officially part of Kaohsiung City. The southern terminal of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway is in Kaohsiung. For north-south travel on railway, the city is served by the Taiwan Railway Administration stations of Western Line and Pingtung Line. The Taiwan High Speed Rail also provides fast and frequent railway connection to Taipei City. The Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit, the city's subway system, launched in early 2008. Kaohsiung was the host city of the 2009 World Games, a multi-sport event primarily composed of sports not featured in the Olympic Games. The city is also home to the Republic of China Navy fleet headquarters and academy.


The port of Ta-kau, 1893

Founded near the end of the 17th century, the village was known as Takau (Chinese: 打狗; pinyin: Dǎgǒu; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Táⁿ-káu; literally "beat the dog") in the Hoklo language spoken by most of the early immigrants. The name originates from the Makatao language of the local aboriginal tribe and translates as "bamboo forest". The Dutch established Fort Zeelandia in 1624 and defeated the local tribes in 1635. They called the place Tancoia. The Dutch were later expelled by the Kingdom of Tungning government founded by Ming Dynasty loyalists of Koxinga in 1662. Zheng Jing, the son of Koxinga, renamed the village Wannian Zhou (simplified Chinese: 万年洲; traditional Chinese: 萬年州; pinyin: Wàn Nián Zhōu; literally "region of ten thousand years") in 1664. The name was restored to Takau in the late 1670s, when the town expanded dramatically with immigrants from mainland China. In 1684 the Qing Dynasty annexed Taiwan and renamed the town Fengshan County (simplified Chinese: 凤山县; traditional Chinese: 鳳山縣; pinyin: Fèngshān xiàn; literally "phoenix mountain"), considering it a part of Taiwan Prefecture. It was first opened as a port during the 1680s.

In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan as part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. It was during this period that the city's name was changed from 打狗 (Taiwanese: Táⁿ-káu) to 高雄 (romaji: Takao). While the sound remained more or less the same when pronounced in Japanese, the literal meaning of the name changed from "Beating Dog" to "High Hero". The Japanese developed Takao, especially the harbour. An important military base and industry center, the city was heavily bombed by Task Force 38 and FEAF during 1944–1945.

After control of Taiwan was handed to the government of the Republic of China in 1945, the official romanization of the city name came to be "Kao-hsiung", based on the Wade–Giles romanization of the Mandarin reading of the kanji name.3 Kaohsiung was upgraded from a provincial city to special municipality on July 1, 1979, by the Executive Yuan, which approved this proposal on November 19, 1978. The Kaohsiung Incident took place in Kaohsiung on December 10, 1979.

On December 25, 2010, it merged with Kaohsiung County of Taiwan Province to form a larger special municipality.4


The Love River

The city sits on the southwestern coast of Taiwan facing the Taiwan Strait. The downtown areas are centered around Kaohsiung Harbor with the island of Qijin on the other side of the harbor acting as a natural breakwater. The Love River (or Ai River) flows into the harbor through the Old City and downtown. Zuoying Military Harbor lies to the north of Kaohsiung Harbor and the city center. Kaohsiung's natural landmarks include the coral mountains Ape Hill, Shoushan and Banpingshan.


Kaohsiung is located just over a degree to the south of the Tropic of Cancer. The climate is tropical, specifically a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw), with monthly mean temperatures in the range of 19.3 to 29.2 °C (66.7 to 84.6 °F), and relative humidity between 71 and 81%. Daily maximum temperature typically exceeds 30 degrees Celsius during the warm season (April to November) and 26 degrees Celsius during the cool season (December to March), with the exception when cold fronts strikes during the winter months, when the daily maximum temperature can drop to between 20-24 degrees Celsius, depending on the strength of the cold front. The warm winter temperature is very much dictated to its location with a year round warm sea temperature with the Kuroshio Current passing by the coasts of southern Taiwan,5 as well as having the Central mountain range on the northeast blocking out the cool northeastern winds during the winter. On average, days with a daily maximum temperature lower than 20 degrees Celsius only occurs less than 7 times annually.6 As a result, Kaohsiung has a noticeably warmer climate than nearby cities located at similar latitudes such as Hong kong, Guangzhou or Haikou of Hainan island (where all of which has a climate classified as an humid subtropical) as well as various cities further south of northern and central Vietnam, such as Hanoi. Average annual rainfall is around 1,885 millimetres (74.2 in), focused primarily from June to August. At more than 2210 hours of bright sunshine, the city is one of the sunniest areas in Taiwan.7 The sea temperature remains above 22 °C year-round at Kaohsiung Harbor,8 the second highest of Southern Taiwan after Liuqiu island, an island just off the coast of southern Kaohsiung with average sea temperatures maintaining above 25 °C year-round.9 According to recent records, the average temperature of the city has rose around 1 degree Celsius over the past 3 decades, from about 24.2 °C in 1983 to around 25.2 °C by 2012.10 Notably, Kaohsiung is the only global city in East Asia that consists of a Tropical climate.

Climate data for Kaohsiung City
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.7
Average high °C (°F) 23.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 19.3
Average low °C (°F) 15.7
Record low °C (°F) 6.4
Rainfall mm (inches) 16.0
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 3.2 3.7 4.0 5.8 9.3 13.8 12.9 16.3 11.2 3.5 2.6 2.3 88.6
 % humidity 72.7 73.5 73.2 75.1 76.9 80.1 78.7 80.5 78.9 75.5 73.3 71.9 75.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 174.7 165.8 187.0 189.1 198.5 199.9 221.4 193.7 175.7 182.4 162.2 161.8 2,212.2
Source: Central Weather Bureau (Normals 1981-2010, Extremes 1971-2010)7


View of Kaoshiung from the lighthouse on Qijin Island


Kaohsiung City
Chinese name
Chinese 高雄市
Literal meaning High Bravery
Japanese name
Kanji 高雄市
Kana たかおし


Kaohsiung is sometimes seen as the political mirror image of Taipei. While northern Taiwan leans towards the Pan-Blue Coalition in the state-level elections, southern Taiwan leaned towards the Pan-Green Coalition since late 1990s, and Kaohsiung is no exception. Frank Hsieh of the Democratic Progressive Party was reelected twice as Mayor of Kaohsiung, where he was widely credited for transforming the city from an industrial sprawl into an attractive modern metropolis. Hsieh resigned from the office of mayor to take up the office of Premier of the Republic of China in 2005. The last municipal election, held on December 9, 2006, resulted in a victory for the Democratic Progressive Party's candidate Chen Chu, the first elected female mayor of special municipality in Taiwan, defeating her Kuomintang rival and former deputy mayor, Huang Chun-ying.

Kaohsiung District Court


Kaohsiung is directly divided into 38 districts (區), each district is divided into villages (里), there are 651 villages, each village is subdivided into neighborhoods (鄰), there are 18,584 neighborhoods.

Note: For the inconsistency of the romanization systems in Taiwan. This table was made in a sortable form, contains both Hanyu Pinyin (the official standard of the central government of ROC), and Tongyong Pinyin (the official standard of the Kaohsiung City Government)[1]. The major order of districts referred to the code of administrative area. [2] Kaohsiung has the most numbers of districts among other special municipalities in Taiwan.
No. Hanyu Tongyong Pe̍h-ōe-jī Chinese Area
No. of
1 Yancheng Yancheng Iâm-tiâⁿ 鹽埕區 1.4161 21 27,651
2 Gushan Gushan Kó͘-san 鼓山區 14.7458 38 129,521
3 Zuoying Zuoying Chó-iâⁿ 左營區 19.3888 44 189,944
4 Nanzi Nanzih Lâm-chú 楠梓區 25.8276 37 171,906
5 Sanmin Sanmin Sam-bîn 三民區 19.7866 88 355,097
6 Xinxing Sinsing Sin-heng 新興區 1.9764 32 55,744
7 Qianjin Cianjin Chiân-kim 前金區 1.8573 20 29,208
8 Lingya Lingya Lêng-ngá 苓雅區 8.1522 69 185,021
9 Qianzhen Cianjhen Chiân-tìn 前鎮區 19.1207 61 199,951
10 Qijin Cijin Kî-tin 旗津區 1.4639 13 29,975
11 Xiaogang Siaogang Sió-káng 小港區 39.8573 38 153,896
12 Fengshan Fongshan Hōng-soaⁿ 鳳山區 26.7590 78 339,952
13 Linyuan Linyuan Lîm-hn̂g 林園區 32.2860 24 70,770
14 Daliao Daliao Toā-liâu 大寮區 71.0400 25 109,257
15 Dashu Dashu Toā-chhiū 大樹區 66.9811 18 44,230
16 Dashe Dashe Toā-siā 大社區 26.5848 9 32,808
17 Renwu Renwu Jîn-bú 仁武區 36.0808 16 70,242
18 Niaosong Niaosong Chiáu-chhêng 鳥松區 24.5927 7 42,135
19 Gangshan Gangshan Kong-san 岡山區 47.9421 33 97,095
20 Qiaotou Ciaotou Kiô-thâu 橋頭區 25.9379 17 36,284
21 Yanchao Yanchao Iàn-châu 燕巢區 65.3950 11 31,059
22 Tianliao Tianliao Chhân-liâu 田寮區 92.6802 10 8,325
23 Alian Alian A-lian 阿蓮區 34.6164 12 30,613
24 Luzhu Lujhu Lō͘-tek 路竹區 48.4348 20 54,137
25 Hunei Hunei Ô͘-lāi 湖內區 20.1615 14 28,697
26 Qieding Cieding Ka-tiāⁿ 茄萣區 15.7624 15 31,583
27 Yong'an Yong-an Éng-an 永安區 22.6141 6 14,253
28 Mituo Mituo Mî-tô 彌陀區 14.7772 12 20,613
29 Ziguan Zihguan Chú-koaⁿ 梓官區 11.5967 15 36,867
30 Qishan Cishan Kî-san 旗山區 94.6122 21 40,368
31 Meinong Meinong Bi-long 美濃區 120.0316 19 43,444
32 Liugui Liouguei La̍k-ku 六龜區 194.1584 12 15,354
33 Jiaxian Jiasian Kah-sian 甲仙區 124.0340 7 7,616
34 Shanlin Shanlin Sam-nâ 杉林區 104.0036 7 11,102
35 Neimen Neimen Lāi-mn̂g 內門區 95.6224 18 16,085
36 Maolin Maolin Bō͘-lîm 茂林區 194.0000 3 1,850
37 Taoyuan Taoyuan Thô-goân 桃源區 928.9800 8 4,777
38 Namaxia Namasia Namasia 那瑪夏區 252.9895 3 3,457

Administrative Divisions of Kaohsiung

Part of South China Sea Islands are administered by Kaohsiung City as parts of Qijin District:


The skyline of Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung Multifunctional Commerce and Trade Park

Intensive settlement began in earnest in the late 17th century, when the place was known as Ch'i-hou. Opened in 1863 as a treaty port, subsidiary to the port of Anping farther north on the coast, Kaohsiung became a customs station in 1864 and then gradually became an important port for the southern Taiwan coastal plain.

Kaohsiung's real economic and strategic importance began under the Japanese occupation (1895–1945). The Japanese needed a good port in southern Taiwan to serve those designated areas that were to become a major source of raw materials and food for Japan, and Kaohsiung was chosen. It became the southern terminus of the main north-south railway line, and from 1904 to 1907 extensive harbor works were undertaken. In 1920 the port was given the name Takao and the area became a municipality in 1920.

Before and during World War II it handled a growing share of Taiwan's agricultural exports to Japan, and was also a major base for Japan's campaigns in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and extremely ambitious plans for the construction of a massive modern port were drawn up. Toward the end of the war, too, the Japanese promoted some industrial development at Kaohsiung, establishing an aluminum industry based on the abundant hydroelectric power produced by the Jih-Yueh Lake project in the mountains.

After it came under Chinese Nationalist administration in 1945, Kaohsiung developed rapidly. The port, badly damaged in World War II, was restored. It also became a fishing port for boats sailing to Philippine and Indonesian waters. Largely because of its climate, Kaohsiung has overtaken Keelung as Taiwan's major port.

Today as a major international port and industrial city in the southwest of the country, Kaohsiung is the most rapidly developing urban center of Taiwan. With an area of 2,946  km2, it has a large natural harbor, with the entrance in recent years being expanded, rock-excavated, and dredged.

As an exporting center, Kaohsiung serves the rich agricultural interior of southern Taiwan, as well as the mountains of the southeast. Major raw material exports include rice, sugar, bananas, pineapples, peanuts (groundnuts), and citrus fruits. The 2,200 hectare Linhai Industrial Park, on the waterfront, was completed in the mid-1970s and includes a steel mill, shipyard, petrochemical complex, and other industries. The city has an oil refinery, aluminum and cement works, fertilizer factories, sugar refineries, brick and tile works, and salt-manufacturing and papermaking plants. Designated an export-processing zone in the late 1970s, Kaohsiung has succeeded in attracting foreign investment to process locally purchased raw materials for export. There is also a large canning industry that processes both fruit and fish.

The ongoing Nansing Project is an ambitious plan to reclaim 250 hectares of land along the coast by 2011.12 The Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau plans to buy 49 hectares of the reclaimed land to establish a solar energy industrial district which would be in the harbor's free trade zone.12

The GDP in nominal terms of the city of Kaohsiung is estimated to be around $45 billion US, and $90 billion for the metropolitan region. As of 2008, the GDP per capita in nominal terms of the city of Kaohsiung is approximately US$ 24,000.13


North part of Port of Kaohsiung viewed from Cijin island lighthouse hill.

Port of Kaohsiung

A major port, through which pass most of Taiwan's marine imports and exports, is located at the city but is not managed by the city government.Also known as the "Harbour Capital" of Taiwan, Kaohsiung has always had a strong link with the ocean and maritime transportation. Ferries play a key role in everyday transportation, and often play the role that buses do in other cities, especially for transportation across the harbour. With five terminals and 23 berths, the Port of Kaohsiung is Taiwan's largest container port and the 6th largest in the world.14 In 2007 the port reached its handling capacity with a record trade volume of 10.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).15 A new container terminal is under construction, increasing future handling capacity by 2 million TEU by 2013.15

The Port of Kaohsiung is not officially a part of Kaohsiung City, instead it is administrated by Kaohsiung Port Authority, under Ministry of Transportation. There is a push for Kaohsiung City to annex the Port of Kaohsiung in order to facilitate better regional planning.

Kaohsiung is one of the biggest ports in the world for importing shark fins, sold at high prices in the restaurants and shops of Taiwan and China. They are brought in from overseas and are placed out to dry in the sun on residential rooftops near the port.

Kaohsiung International Airport

Kaohsiung City is also home to Taiwan's second largest airport, the Kaohsiung International Airport, which is located in the Siaogang District in southern Kaohsiung City.

Rapid Transit

The Dome of Light at Formosa Boulevard Station of Kaohsiung MRT

Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit opened for revenue service in March 2008. A light rail line (Circular Line) that circles central Kaohsiung City is under construction and will open in 2015.


The city is served by the Taiwan Railway Administration's Western Line and Pingtung Line. Taiwan High Speed Rail also serves Kaohsiung City via its Bew Zuoying Station in northern Kaohsiung City. The station is an underground station, replacing the old ground level station. Additionally, these two stations are also be served by Red line of Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System when the line opened for revenue service in early 2008.

Culture & Art

Kaohsiung has rich resources of the ocean, mountains and forests, take shape a diverse combination and different communities, the formation of a very active and multi-faceted nature of art and culture in the streets of Kaohsiung, everywhere you can see the beauty and grace of its public infrastructure, public art and city architecture.The field of public transport in Kaohsiung show a city of aesthetics. Unique design from MRT station to the city's public works of art, city space into an art gallery. "Dome light" in the concourse of Formosa Boulevard Station of Kaohsiung MRT is one of the world's largest public glass works of art, and it is the public art chanticleer representative works in Kaohsiung.16


Kaohsiung has Southern Taiwan region's most comprehensive sports facilities, as well as the country's largest stadium. Kaohsiung National Stadium (the Main Stadium of 2009 World Games) and Kaohsiung Arena as the representative of sports facilities in Kaohsiung. National Stadium is Taiwan's largest international-class stadium, maximum capacity is 55,000 seats.

Kaohsiung hosted the 2009 World Games. Nearly 6,000 athletes, officials, coaches, referees and others from 103 countries participated in the 2009 Kaohsiung World Games. Kaohsiung in 2007, 2009 and 2011 for three consecutive years, the number of gold medals and total medals of the National Games were the first place in the country.



Kaohsiung has a number of colleges and junior colleges offering training in commerce, education, maritime technology, medicine, modern languages, nursing, and technology.

Conferences and Events

The Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, built by the Kaohsiung City Government, will open in April 2014, and will include an exhibition space for 1,500 booths, and a convention hall for 2,000 pax. The center will host the first Taiwan International Boat Show in 2014.17

Sister cities and twin towns

Kaohsiung is twinned with the following locations.

See also


  1. ^ "Sister-city agreement falls apart in hours". Taipei Times. 2013-07-20. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  2. ^ "The World According to GaWC 2012". Lboro.ac.uk. 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  3. ^ What's in changing a name? Taiwan Journal Vol. XXVI No. 19 May 15, 2009 "...while name Kaohsiung is technically the Mandarin pronunciation of the Japanese written version of a Holo Taiwanese rendition of an old aboriginal name..."
  4. ^ http://taiwanjournal.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xitem=53774&ctnode=413&mp=9
  5. ^ "Taiwan sea temperatures of February 2012". Central Weather Bureau. 
  6. ^ "Climate". Wunderground. 
  7. ^ a b "Climate". Central Weather Bureau. 
  8. ^ "Kaohsiung Average Sea Temperatures". Central Weather Bureau. 
  9. ^ "Liuqiu island Average Sea Temperatures". Central Weather Bureau. 
  10. ^ "Southern Taiwan average monthly temperature comparison (1984-2013)". Central Weather Bureau. 
  11. ^ "Climate". Wunderground. 
  12. ^ a b "Kaohsiung City to open solar energy industrial zone". Focus Taiwan News Channel. 2010-06-27. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
  13. ^ "Taipei City Has Second-highest Per Capita GDP in Asia: TIER | CENS.com - The Taiwan Economic News". CENS.com. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  14. ^ Review of Maritime Transport 2004. New York: United Nations. 2005. ISBN 92-1-112645-2. 
  15. ^ a b Dale, Jamie (2008-01-17). "Kaohsiung container port hits full capacity". Lloyd's List Daily Commercial News (Informa Australia). p. 16. 
  16. ^ "Art&Culture Kaohsiung City Government". Kcg.gov.tw. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  17. ^ "Kaohsiung’s new venue". TTGmice. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 

External links