One of the most densely populated areas in the world, Taiwan is an island nation bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait. Just off the coast of China's southeastern regions, Taiwan consistently ranks high on lists describing countries that protect the rights of its citizens (unlike China), providing ready access to public education and an excellent health care system. Spoken by nearly 90 percent of people living on Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is the island nation's official language, which is also the predominantly spoken language in mainland China.
Taiwan, along with Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, are members of the "Four Asian Tigers", a group of rapidly developing, free market countries notable for impressive economic growth rates (nearly eight percent annually) and accelerated industrialization during the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Currently, Taiwan enjoys a high income economy and is a global leader in producing information technology.