Please correct anything I am probably wrong about here because I want to learn stuff
please forgive my vague and probably misconceived overview
Distinct from the core teachings of the Taoist classics, beginning with Zhang Daoling sects thrived at various times in China and organised communities as distinct centres of power separate from traditional elites and central government, with priests and mass congregations. Because of that we could say they were somewhat similar to the Christian church before Constantine. However these traditions did not maintain this kind of organisation or exclusivity. While the state, officials and emperors later supported Taoism at various times it was never really at the expense of other folk traditions, when China was less divided, at least, this was more at the expense of foreign religions and Confucianism. In modern times Chinese Buddhism shares a municipal, syncretic character with Taoism but Taoism is even more closely integrated with other religious tradition.
Buddhism had some difficult times in India and I am wondering if things go worse for Buddhism, while Taoism maintained both state favour and distinct organisation, Taoism could spread along the silk road as Buddhism did. Without Islam or *Islam, there would then be big populations of non-Chinese practising Taoism, and I did read that Islam only really got going in central Asia with the Golden Horde. Or going earlier, maybe religious Taoism could beat Buddhism to Japan? Or south-east Asia?