The Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate, Ma Ying-jeou, defeated the Democratic Progressive Party's Frank Hsieh in the presidential election of 2008. Ma took office as president, ending eight years of Democratic Progressive Party rule.
Ma was determined to improve relations with mainland China. For the first time since the Communists took control of the mainland in 1949, Taiwan and China established sea, air, and mail links. This caused a dramatic rise of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan. By spring of 2009, more than 4,500 Chinese visited Taiwan every day. Prior to this agreement only a few hundred a day visited.