The Republic of China was established in mainland China in 1912 and governed varying amounts of the mainland until 1949. At the end of World War II, Japan surrendered Taiwan and associated islands to ROC forces. When Communist forces took control of mainland China and founded the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the ROC government moved to Taiwan. The ROC government still officially claims to represent all of China, in a definition including Taiwan, but has not made retaking the mainland a political goal since 1992.
The second of three children, Vivian was born Hsu Su-chuan (Chinese: 徐淑娟; pinyin: Xú Shújuān), and used this name until she began modeling. Her parents divorced when she was a child. She attended Taipei Jianxing Elementary School and Taipei Shulinguo Junior High School.
She got her start in entertainment after winning first place in a "Talented Beautiful Girl" contest held by Taiwan CTS TV in 1990. At this point, she was working by delivering food on her bicycle, and her customers began to recognize her from her television appearances. The same year she joined a musical duo named Shaonu Dui (Chinese: 少女隊; pinyin: Shàonǔ Dùi; lit. Girls Team). They released two albums, in 1991 and 1992. Following the dissolution of the duo, Vivian got her start in modeling.