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The Associated Press February 22, 2010, 2:41AM ET

Taiwan economy grows 9.2 percent in Q4

Taiwan's economy saw its strongest growth in five years in the fourth quarter, surging 9.2 percent with help from stimulus-fueled demand from China for the island's high-tech exports.

For all of 2009, Taiwan's economy contracted 1.9 percent, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said Monday. That was the biggest contraction since 1951, the agency said. It predicted economic growth of 4.7 percent for 2010.

Growth of 15.2 percent in Taiwan's exports in the fourth quarter reflected economic recovery in the mainland China, the U.S. and some European markets, said Shih Su-mei, minister for the agency.

Growing revenue from an increasing number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan also helped drive up the island's economic growth during the October-December period, the agency said.

It said increasing global demand for Taiwan's high-tech products will continue to boost the island's economy in 2010.

Taiwan's export-reliant economy was badly hit by the global recession, but a wide-ranging stimulus program in China -- its biggest market -- boosted high-tech and other sales in the second half of the year.

In the third quarter, gross domestic product was down 1 percent year-on-year, compared with contractions of 6.9 percent in the second quarter and 9.1 percent in the first.

Taiwan's electronics and computer firms export parts and components to China for assembly before re-exporting to major markets in the world.

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