The National Palace Museum (NPM) is known for its collection of Chinese artifacts. Most of its artifacts came from the Qing Palace, which housed precious artifacts collected by the imperial family over thousands of years. These artifacts total to nearly 700,000 pieces and include antiquities, paintings and calligraphy, historical documents and rare books, and Asian artifacts, making them one of the world's unique collections of cultural assets. Since its restoration at Waishuangxi in 1965, the NPM has attracted a large number of domestic and foreign visitors every year. In addition, after the lift of the travel ban between Taiwan and China in recent years and due to the NPM's innovative and positive attitude and practices, the NPM has successfully attracted visitors from home and abroad, as well as won their affirmation. The number of visitors has continued to grow significantly over the past few years and the NPM has become a must-visit cultural attraction for foreign visitors in Taiwan. This shows how culture has become the soft potential of Taiwan and the foundation of the development in the economic, tourism, and cultural and creative industries.
In 2010, the NPM drew up the Grand National Palace Museum Expansion Plan. The plan covered the expansion and construction of art and cultural areas in the Taipei NPM as well as expedited the building of the NPM Southern Branch in Taibao City, Chiayi County. The goal was to create a cultural attraction for both Northern and Southern Taiwan. The NPM Southern Branch, set as "an Asian Art and Culture Museum," will become Asia's first-ever big-scale national museum focusing on Asian arts and culture, and one that integrates the Asian theme with the local culture of Taiwan. The NPM curatorial team will plan various rich and diverse Asian art and culture exhibitions by examining and interpreting its artifact collection from a macro-perspective guided by cultural exchange. In addition, the exhibitions will include unique cultural elements of Taiwan. Furthermore, a 50 hectare-wide Asian park, built using the private participation method, will enable visitors to experience the multicultural environment of Asia as well as the unique cultural and creative services offered in Taiwan in an attempt to drive the development of cultural tourism in Central and Southern Taiwan.
According to a survey on inbound visitors conducted by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, more than 70% of the visitors from China visited the NPM in 2013. This validated the popularity and visibility of the NPM in China as well as around the world. Upon the completion of the NPM Southern Branch, both the Northern and Southern Branches will carefully plan their exhibitions, in tandem with the planning of cultural and creative merchandise, creating an appeal that will rival that of the Louvre Museum and the Louvre-Lens. This will encourage visitors to Taiwan to visit both museums. The appeal of the NPM will thus grow from one location to other upcoming locations (i.e., from Taipei to Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung), driving a sustained development and growth of Taiwan's cultural and tourism industry, and achieving the objective of making Taiwan a global cultural hotspot with a macro perspective.
The NPM is working diligently to ensure the completion of the Southern Branch Museum main building infrastructure, as described in the Grand National Palace Museum Expansion Plan. The various exhibitions are as follows: