Taiwan has been struck by its most powerful earthquake in 25 years, measuring 7.4 in magnitude.

Officials have confirmed at least nine people have died while rescuers are searching for more than 100 others trapped beneath rubbble.

Officials says five of the dead – including three hikers on a nearby trail – died from falling rocks.

According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre was located about 18 kilometres or 11 miles south of Taiwan’s Hualien city.

The remote, mountainous region of Hualien was rocked by huge landslides, causing damage which could take weeks to repair.

Tremors were felt as far as the capital Taipei, with videos showing buildings shaking violently.

The quake initially set off tsunami warnings on the island and neighbouring countries, some of which have since been retracted.