Tainan, officially Tainan City, is a special municipality in southern Taiwan facing the Taiwan Strait on its western coast. Tainan is the oldest city on the island and also commonly known as the "Capital City" for its over 200 years of history as the capital of Taiwan under Koxinga and later Qing rule. Tainan's complex history of comebacks, redefinitions and renewals inspired its popular nickname "the Phoenix City". As Taiwan's oldest urban area, Tainan was initially established by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a ruling and trading base called Fort Zeelandia during the period of Dutch rule on the island. After Dutch colonists were defeated by Koxinga in 1661, Tainan remained as the capital of the Tungning Kingdom until 1683 and afterwards the capital of Taiwan Prefecture under Qing Dynasty rule until 1887. Tainan has been historically regarded as one of the oldest cities in Taiwan, and its former name, Tayouan, has been claimed to be the origin of the name "Taiwan". It is also one of Taiwan's cultural capitals, for its rich folk cultures including the famous local street food and traditional cuisine, extensively preserved Taoist rites and other living local traditions covering everything from child birth to funerals. The city houses the first Confucian school–temple in Taiwan, built in 1665, the remains of the Eastern and Southern gates of the old city, and countless other historical monuments. Tainan claims more Buddhist and Taoist temples than any other city in Taiwan.
The region is major high-tech industrial hub centred on the Southern Taiwan Science Park. Optoelectronics, integrated circuits, green energy and biotechnology are the park's dominant industries. Prominent companies are Chimei-Innolux, United Microelectronics and TSMC. With the establishment of Tainan Technology Park, Shugu (Tree Valley) LCD Park and Yonkang Technology Park, the city became a major centre for the optoelectronics industry in Taiwan with a complete supply chain.
Tainan plays an important role in auto parts, food processing, textiles, plastics and other traditional manufacturing. Notable companies include Uni-President, Chi Mei and Tainan Spinning, which have headquarters in the city. Overall, industrial production accounts for about 60% of the gross city product.
Agriculture is important to the city, especially the River North Region. While fisheries and fish farming signify the coastal districts, rice and fruit farms shaped the landscape of the inland agriculture region. The city is famous for its milkfish, oyster, rice, mango, sugar cane, pomelo (文旦), pineapple and lotus seed. A state-funded agricultural research centre was established in Sinhua District to ensure the market competitiveness of the crop. The headquarters of the World Vegetable Center, an NPO that aims to improve crop quality in poorer countries, is in Shanhua District. Taiyen (Taiwan salt) co. and Taiwan Sugar Corp., both headquartered in Tainan, are active businesses in biotechnology, quality agriculture, retail and tourism.
Orchid growing is one of the most symbolic agriculture industry for its well-known brand name in the floristry world. A nationally founded special plantation district with R&D resources is established in Houbi District.
Tourism is an industry with increasing importance. As the first capital of Taiwan, the city has a wealth of cultural heritage. There were over 7 million tourists annually that visited attractions in the city. There are high-end hotels in the city, including the Shangri-la Hotel near Tainan train station.
Retail and services is the largest employment sector in Tainan. The city centre hosts five department stores including two Shin Kong-Mitsukoshi, two FE21s and Focus square. Apart from the city centre, there are shopping precincts around the city, with the strongest presence in East, North and Yongkang districts. 'Dream Mall' is a joint development project between Uni-President Corp. and Tainan Spinning Ltd. It was the largest shopping centre in the city when it opened and the precinct will host the new headquarters of Tainan Spinning and a new five-star hotel. The precinct is in the designated East Tainan second CBD near the border of the East and Yongkang districts.
Tainan is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Tainan was ranked #218 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Tainan has a population of over 1,205,000 people. Tainan also forms part of the wider Tainan metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,883,078 people.