Torrential rain triggered landslides and flooding across Taiwan, killing five people and injuring 15, as Typhoon Saola skirted the island's east and north coasts and headed towards China.

The military helped over 1,000 people evacuate from the less-populated mountainous north and east of the island.

Most businesses, schools and financial markets were shut in the main cities including the capital, Taipei, 

About 100 domestic and international flights were cancelled, train services disrupted and roads closed.

Three of Taiwan's top technology exporters, chipmakers TSMC and Nanya Tech, and LCD panel maker AU Optronics, said none of their facilities were affected and they were running as normal.

Saola briefly made landfall on Taiwan's east coast early today, weakening to a tropical storm as it turned back out to sea and then moved northwest, skirting the island's north coast and heading for China.

Authorities there have issued warnings for it and a separate storm, Typhoon Damrey, which is expected to pass north of China's financial hub of Shanghai tomorrow but which is also expected to weaken to a tropical storm.

China's meteorological agency has issued typhoon warnings for the southern and eastern provinces of Fujian and Jiangsu.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has told authorities to be on the highest alert.