Taiwan's economic achievements, especially its technological development, may have helped shape positive global impressions of the country, the Gallup Organization said in a report posted on Tuesday on its Web site.
The study was conducted by Gallup for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York based on a survey carried out in May and June in the US, Japan, the UK, France and Germany. The targets included 1,500 members of the general public and 200 opinion leaders in each country.
Although only 15 percent to 44 percent of the general public in these countries know "some" or "a great deal" about Taiwan, most of them have "very favorable" or "favorable" impressions of Taiwan, the survey shows. In particular, the impressions of Taiwan are "favorable" among 76 percent of the respondents in Japan, 73 percent in the US and 68 percent in the UK.
The survey also discovered that the favorability ratings of Taiwan are generally higher than those of China and South Korea, but lower than those of Japan.
The survey indicates opinion leaders were more likely than the general public to know something about Taiwan and view it favorably, with more than 90 percent of those surveyed in Japan and the US having a very favorable or favorable impression of Taiwan.
While most of the respondents have obtained information about Taiwan from media sources such as television, newspapers and magazines, 68 percent in the UK, 58 percent in France and 54 percent in the US have learned about Taiwan through its products.
The study says it does not seem likely that the contrast between democratic Taiwan and communist China has boosted positivity toward Taiwan, in light of the fact that only 29 percent of the general public in the US, 27 percent in the UK, 23 percent in France and 33 percent in Germany are aware that Taiwan has a democratic political system.
Respondents with a favorable impression of Taiwan:
* Japan: 76 percent
* US: 73 percent
* UK: 68 percent
Learned about Taiwan through its products:
* UK: 68 percent
* France: 58 percent
* US: 54 percent
Aware that Taiwan is a democratic country:
* Germany: 33 percent
* US: 29 percent
* UK: 27 percent
* France: 23 percent
However, many members of the general public agree that Taiwan is "technologically developed" and "has good food, interesting attractions and beautiful scenery."
By comparison, higher percentages of opinion leaders are aware of Taiwan's democratic status and describe the nation as a technologically developed and economically strong country and a good place for business investment, according to the survey.