Monday, January 3, 2011

It's New Taipei City, not Xinbei

The central government has confirmed the English name of the local government area formerly known as Taipei County: New Taipei City. I and many other English-speaking expatriates think it's a bad choice. It makes confusion with Taipei City (the ROC's capital) very likely indeed, and it implies the capital (which it surrounds) is 'Old Taipei'.

For months, it seemed that after the county was upgraded to a special municipality, it would be known to the outside world as Xinbei City, a direct romanisation of its Chinese name (新北市, literally 'New North City'). That's why I used Xinbei in the first edition of my guidebook. Fortunately, this shouldn't cause problems for visitors, as they'll be boarding buses and trains to places within New Taipei City such as Danshui, Wulai and Sanxia (pictured left).

I feel better knowing I wasn't the only one caught out. The new edition of The Handy Guide for Foreigners in Taiwan (published by the central government in November 2010, but I've only just received my copy) says that the new name of Taipei County will be Xinbei City.


  1. Totally agree with you. I am Taiwanese, recently my relatives came from Brasil for celebrate ROC 100 years. the new Taipei City caused a lot of confusion & misunderstanding.

    ** Your fan: Helen **
    Once heard your program on ICRT live interview **

  2. I don't see why they don't just combine new Taipei city and Taipei city into one massive city