New visitors to Taiwan quickly find out that, besides the Gregorian calendar and the Chinese calendar, Taiwan has its own calendar system. What is the history? How does it work?
Following the Chinese imperial tradition of using the sovereign's era name and year of reign, official Taiwan documents use the Republic system of numbering years in which the first year was 1912. This system is Minguo (traditional Chinese: 民國). Minguo literally means "The Country of the People." 1912 is the year of the founding of the Republic of China. Thus, 2016 is the 105th "year of the Republic" (add 11 to 105 to get 2016). Months and days are numbered according to the Gregorian calendar.
For example, the titles of the annual SME White Papers released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) begin with a Minguo Year (these documents are not found in the English version of this Government website):
The Gregorian calendar was adopted by the nascent Republic of China effective January 1, 1912 for official business, but the general populace continued to use the traditional Chinese calendar. The status of the Gregorian calendar was unclear between 1916 and 1921 while several competing warlords controlled China, each supported by foreign colonial powers. From about 1921 until 1928, warlords continued to fight over northern China, but the Kuomintang or Nationalist government-controlled southern China used the Gregorian calendar. After the Kuomintang had reconstituted the Republic of China on October 10, 1928, the Gregorian calendar was officially adopted, effective January 1, 1929. The People's Republic of China has continued to use the Gregorian calendar since 1949.
Despite the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, the numbering of the years was still an issue. Chinese imperial tradition was to use the emperor's era name and year of reign. In the early 20th century, some Chinese Republicans began to advocate such a system of continuously numbered years so that that year markings would be independent of the Emperor's regnal name. This implementation was part of their attempt to delegitimize the Qing Dynasty. As Chinese era names are traditionally two characters long, 民國 (Minguo, "Republic") is employed as an abbreviation of 中華民國 ("Republic of China"). The first year, 1912, is called 民國元年 (Minguo 1st year) and 2010, the "99th year of the Republic" is 民國九十九年, 民國99年, or simply 99.
In addition to the Republic of China's Minguo calendar, Taiwanese continue to use the lunisolar Chinese calendar for certain functions such as the dates of many holidays, the calculation of people's ages, and religious functions. A good reference about the Chinese Calendar can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_calendar
This Credit Insight is an extract from the book Happy Customers Faster Cash, Taiwan Edition and it is now on sale at Amazon.
This book is a learning tool for people engaged in the credit process. It contains three extensive chapters about credit management, business culture and communication with the focus in Taiwan. A chapter is dedicated to discussing various aspects of Taiwan company credit reports.
Alexander has over 25 years of experience in Business Information Management and Information Technology. Previously, he has held leadership positions in the world’s leading Business Information providers, including Managing Director of Thomson Reuters Asia, and General Manager of Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), Hong Kong and Taiwan. In addition, he personally managed Hong Kong's Commercial Credit Bureau while working with D&B, and the Consumer Credit Bureau through his directorship at TransUnion Limited.