Premier Yen Chia-kan hosts the inauguration of the Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone.


In the 1960s, Taiwan began its transformation from an agrarian to an industrial-based economy. Aside from steering agricultural workers into the labor-intensive light industries, the government established the world’s first export processing zone in Kaohsiung’s Qianzhen District in December 1966.

Foreign investors were eager to support this program. Within two years of establishment, the Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone exceeded original expectations and was employing more than 20,000 workers. Additional zones were established in Kaohsiung’s Nanzi District as well as Taichung’s Tanzi District in 1971. These served as windows into Taiwan’s economy.

Since the 1970s, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization has been advocating the “Taiwan experience” as a blueprint for developing countries.

The photo shows Premier Yen Chia-kan at the inauguration of the Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone on December 3, 1966.