Provincial city (Taiwan)


Shì (Mandarin)/Sṳ (Hakka)
Category Unitary state
Location Taiwan
Number 3
Populations 270,883 (Chiayi) – 431,988 (Hsinchu)
Areas 60.03 square kilometres (23.18 sq mi) (Chiayi) – 132.76 square kilometres (51.26 sq mi) (Keelung)
Government Local government, central government
Subdivisions District
This article is part of a series on
Administrative divisions
of Taiwan
  • Neighborhoods
Historical divisions of
Taiwan (1895–1945)
Republic of China (1912–49)

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.


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)
臺北TaihokuTaipei 嘉義KagiChiayi
基隆KīrunKeelung 臺南TainanTainan
新竹ShinchikuHsinchu 高雄TakaoKaohsiung
臺中TaichūTaichung 屏東HeitōPingtung

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.

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.

1945-10Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu,
Kaohsiung, Keelung, Pingtung, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei[1]
9Reorganised from the prefecture-administered cities in the period under Japanese rule.
1950-08-16Chiayi8Merged into Chiayi County and became a county-administered city
1951-12-01Changhua, Hsinchu, Pingtung5Downgraded to county-administered cities
1967-07-01Taipei4Upgraded to a special municipality
1979-07-01Kaohsiung3Upgraded to a special municipality
1982-07-01Chiayi, Hsinchu5Upgraded from county-administered cities
2010-12-25Taichung, Tainan3Merge 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.[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:

Name[3]ChinesePinyin[3]Wade–GilesPe̍h-ōe-jīPha̍k-fa-sṳAreaCity SeatEstablishment
Chiayi嘉義市JiāyìChia¹-i⁴Ka-gīKâ-ngi60.03 km²East District東區1982-07-01
Hsinchu新竹市XīnzhúHsin¹-chu²Sin-tekSîn-tsuk104.10 km²North District北區1982-07-01
Keelung基隆市JīlóngChi¹-lung²Ke-lângKî-lùng132.76 km²Zhongzheng 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
ChiayiChiayi City GovernmentMayor of ChiayiTwu Shiing-jerChiayi City Council32
HsinchuHsinchu City GovernmentMayor of HsinchuLin Chih-chienHsinchu City Council33
KeelungKeelung City GovernmentMayor of KeelungLin Yu-changKeelung City Council24

See also


  1. "{title}". Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  3. 1 2 "Glossary of Names for Admin Divisions" (PDF). Taiwan Geographic Names Information Systems. The Ministry of Interior of ROC. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
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