After a decade of rule by a political party that supported independence from China, the current government under president Ma Ying-jeou believes in greater cooperation between the two countries. Part of the reason that message resonated with voters is because Taiwan is no longer the economic powerhouse in Asia. Stronger ties to China could boost Taiwan’s economic fortunes, the argument went.
This simple line chart, built with Many Eyes, visualizes Taiwan’s economic growth rate from 1952 to 2008, when Ma took office. The country once enjoyed double-digit growth rates like those seen recently in China. In 1987, for example, the growth rate was 13 percent. No more. In 2008, the rate was less than one percent.