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A city (Chinese: ; pinyin: shì; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: chhī), previously provincial city, is an administrative division unit in Taiwan. Under the administrative structure of Taiwan, it is lesser in rank than a special municipality and is with the same level of a county.


Shì (Mandarin)/Sṳ (Hakka)
Subdivision types of the Republic of China (2014).svg
Cities are shown in purple
CategoryUnitary state
Populations270,883 (Chiayi) – 431,988 (Hsinchu)
Areas60.03 square kilometres (23.18 sq mi) (Chiayi) – 132.76 square kilometres (51.26 sq mi) (Keelung)
GovernmentLocal government, central government


The first administrative divisions entitled "city" were established in the 1920s when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. At this time cities were under the jurisdiction of prefectures. After the World War II, nine (9) out of eleven (11) prefectural cities established by the Japanese government were reform into provincial cities. Their roman spellings are also changed to reflect the official language shift from Japanese to Mandarin Chinese, but characters remain the same.

Spelling changes of provincial cities in 1945
Character Japanese
(before 1945)
(after 1945)
Character Japanese
(before 1945)
(after 1945)
臺北 Taihoku Taipei 嘉義 Kagi Chiayi
基隆 Kīrun Keelung 臺南 Tainan Tainan
新竹 Shinchiku Hsinchu 高雄 Takao Kaohsiung
臺中 Taichū Taichung 屏東 Heitō Pingtung
彰化 Shōka Changhua

The reform was based on the Laws on the City Formation (市組織法) of the Republic of China. This law was passed in the early 20th century. The criteria for being a provincial city included being the provincial capital as well as having a population of over 200,000, or over 100,000 if the city had particular significance in politics, economics, and culture. The division reform in 1945 had some compromises between the Japanese and the Chinese systems, some of the cities with population under the criteria were still be established as provincial cities.

ChiayiHsinchuKeelungPingtung CityKaohsiungTainanChiayiChanghuaTaichungHsinchuKeelungTaipei 

After the government of the Republic of China relocated to Taipei, Taiwan in 1949, the population criterion for provincial cities was raised to 500,000 in the Guidelines on the Implementation of Local Autonomy in the Counties and Cities of Taiwan Province (臺灣省各縣市實施地方自治綱要), which was passed in 1981. It was later raised again to 600,000. Since the streamline of provinces in 1998, provincial cities are all directly led by the central government, and are simply referred to as cities.

Date Addition Removal No. Description
1945-10 Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu,
Kaohsiung, Keelung, Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei[1]
9 Reorganised from the prefecture-administered cities in the period under Japanese rule.
1950-08-16 Chiayi 8 Merged into Chiayi County and became a county-administered city
1951-12-01 Changhua, Hsinchu, Pingtung 5 Downgraded to county-administered cities
1967-07-01 Taipei 4 Upgraded to a special municipality
1979-07-01 Kaohsiung 3 Upgraded to a special municipality
1982-07-01 Chiayi, Hsinchu 5 Upgraded from county-administered cities
2010-12-25 Taichung, Tainan 3 Merge with Taichung County and Tainan County, and upgraded to special municipalities
Current cities: Chiayi, Hsinchu, Keelung (3).

Current citiesEdit

Currently, the Local Government Act of the Ministry of the Interior applies for the creation of a city, in which a city needs to have a population between 500,000 and 1,250,000 and occupies major political, economical and cultural roles.[2] Note that all three existing cities are not qualified for the population test, they were built for historical reasons.

There are currently three cities, all in Taiwan Province:

Name[3] Chinese Hànyǔ
Wade–Giles Tongyòng
Area City Seat Establishment
Chiayi 嘉義市 Jiāyì Chia¹-i⁴ Jiayì Ka-gī Kâ-ngi 60.03 km² East District 東區 1982-07-01
Hsinchu 新竹市 Xīnzhú Hsin¹-chu² Sinjhú Sin-tek Sîn-chuk 104.10 km² North District 北區 1982-07-01
Keelung 基隆市 Jīlóng Chi¹-lung² Jilóng Ke-lâng Kî-lùng 132.76 km² Zhongzheng District 中正區 1945-10-25

Their self-governed bodies (executive and legislature) regulated by the Local Government Act are:

Name Executive Legislature
Government Mayor Current Mayor City Council No. of seats
Chiayi Chiayi City Government Mayor of Chiayi Huang Min-hui Chiayi City Council 24
Hsinchu Hsinchu City Government Mayor of Hsinchu Lin Chih-chien Hsinchu City Council 33
Keelung Keelung City Government Mayor of Keelung Lin Yu-chang Keelung City Council 32

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2014-03-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Glossary of Names for Admin Divisions" (PDF). Taiwan Geographic Names Information Systems. The Ministry of Interior of ROC. Retrieved 6 June 2015.[permanent dead link]