Provincial city (Taiwan)

Last updated
City [upper-roman 1]
Subdivision types of the Republic of China (2014).svg
Cities are shown in purple
Category Special municipalities, counties, and cities
Location Free area of the Republic of China
Number3 (as of 2019)
Areas60–133 km2
    • City government
    • City council

A city, [upper-roman 1] previously provincial city, is an administrative division unit in Taiwan. [1]



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
(before 1945)
(after 1945)
(before 1945)
(after 1945)

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 CityKaohsiungTainanChiayiChanghuaTaichungHsinchuKeelungTaipeiProvincial city (Taiwan)

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 under the central government, and are simply referred to as cities.

1945-10 Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu,
Kaohsiung, Keelung, Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei [2]
9Reorganised from the prefecture-administered cities in the period under Japanese rule.
1950-08-16 Chiayi 8Merged into Chiayi County and became a county-administered city
1951-12-01 Changhua, Hsinchu, Pingtung 5Downgraded to county-administered cities
1967-07-01 Taipei 4Upgraded to a special municipality
1979-07-01 Kaohsiung 3Upgraded to a special municipality
1982-07-01 Chiayi, Hsinchu 5Upgraded from county-administered cities
2010-12-25 Taichung, Tainan 3Merge with Taichung County and Tainan County, and upgraded to special municipalities
Current cities: Chiayi, Hsinchu, Keelung (3).

Current cities

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. [3] 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 [4] Chinese Hànyǔ
Wade–Giles Tongyòng
AreaCity SeatEstablishment
Chiayi 嘉義市JiāyìChia¹-i⁴JiayìKa-gīKâ-ngi60.03 km2 East District 東區1982-07-01
Hsinchu 新竹市XīnzhúHsin¹-chu²SinjhúSin-tekSîn-chuk104.10 km2 North District 北區1982-07-01
Keelung 基隆市JīlóngChi¹-lung²JilóngKe-lângKî-lùng132.76 km2 Zhongzheng District 中正區1945-10-25

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

GovernmentMayorCurrent MayorCity CouncilNo. 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 also

Overview of administrative divisions of the Republic of China
Republic of China
Special municipalities [lower-greek 1] [lower-roman 1] Provinces [lower-roman 2]
Counties [lower-greek 1] Cities [lower-greek 1] [lower-roman 3]
Districts [lower-greek 2] Mountain
[lower-greek 1]
[lower-greek 1]
Townships [lower-greek 1] [lower-greek 2] [lower-roman 4] Districts [lower-greek 2]
Villages [lower-greek 3] [lower-roman 5]
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Has an elected executive and an elected legislative council.
  2. 1 2 3 Has an appointed district administrator for managing local affairs and carrying out tasks commissioned by superior agency.
  3. Has an elected village administrator for managing local affairs and carrying out tasks commissioned by superior agency.


  1. Special municipalities, cities, and county-administered cities are all called shi (Chinese :; lit. 'city')
  2. Nominal provinces; provincial governments have been abolished
  3. Sometimes called provincial cities (Chinese :省轄市) to distinguish them from special municipalities and county-administered cities
  4. There are two types of townships: rural townships or xīang (Chinese :) and urban townships or zhèn (Chinese :)
  5. Villages in rural townships are known as tsūn (Chinese :), those in other jurisdictions are known as (Chinese :)

Words in native languages

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  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2014-03-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  1. Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (November 2020). "Taiwan combined" (PDF). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 29 May 2021.