Sediment flux signals from source to sink in foreland basins preserve a record of tectonics, sea level and climate through erosion and sedimentation. However, longitudinal sediment transport often occurs in foreland basins, thus removing part of the orogenic material flux from foreland basin records. Here we use mass balance calculation and stratigraphic simulations of sediment fluxes for the Taiwan orogen to provide an order of magnitude estimate of how much orogenic material may bypass a foreland basin. Our results indicate a significant, potentially more than 50%, mismatch between sediment volume currently preserved in the basin and the amount of material presumably eroded from the orogen since the onset of collision in Taiwan. This suggests either a significant overestimation of average erosion rates over the period concerned with orogenic development of Taiwan, or it supports previous paleogeographic work suggesting that longitudinal sediment transport in the paleo-Taiwan Strait served as a major bypass conduit of importance for the establishment of a steady state orogen. We identify candidate submarine topography in the South China Sea that may preserve Taiwan's missing erosional mass.