Trade Union Forum


General overview

China is one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world. In 2020, China had the 2nd highest GDP in the world. The nominal GDP is 15,600,000,000,000 USD. According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2020 Chinese GDP per capita was 10,300 USD. The currency of the PRC is the Chinese yuan or Renminbi (CNY, ¥, 圓, 圆, 元). According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the inflation rate in 2020 reached 2.5%.

The Government created Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to achieve different goals in China's economic development. They aim at both domestic and external economic development. They also promote cooperation between China and other countries. Currently, China has the six largest SEZs:

  • Shenzhen in Guangdong province. This is the main foreign trade center of Southern China. Shenzhen accounts for more than a third of the country's computer production;
  • Zhuhai in Guangdong province. Zhuhai takes active and successful steps towards cooperation with the SEZ in Shenzhen. One of the largest transport and logistics hubs in the country;
  • Shantou in Guangdong province. Shantou is focused on the development of investment projects in the petrochemical industry, ports and light industry;
  • Xiamen in Fujian province. The main competitive advantage is well-established business relations in Taiwan;
  • Hainan in Zhejiang province. The main competitive advantages are climate and recreational resources. Services provided by Hainan SEZ are very advanced, especially tourism. Agriculture is also well developed in Hainan, especially tropical agriculture and marine fishery.
  • Kashgar in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The SEZ has advanced the import of power and water resources and rare minerals.

In addition, 15 free-trade zones, 32 state-level economic and technological development zones, and 53 new and high-tech industrial development zones have been established in the cities with dense or moderate population.

Economic branches

The dominating sector in the Chinese economy is services. It accounts for almost 52% of GDP. China is known for advanced tourism, retail and wholesale trade, transport, financial, and insurance services. The use of accounting, real estate, IT, and marketing services is widespread.

Industry accounts for about 40% of the country's GDP. China ranks first in the world in terms of the number of plants and factories. Most of them are in the main industrial centers of the country – Jiangsu, Shanghai, Liaoning, Shandong, Guangdong, Zhejiang, etc. Industry in China is represented by 360 sectors. Not only China's traditional light industry and ferrous metallurgy, but also oil extraction and refining, chemical, pharmaceutical, automotive, aviation, space, and electronic industries are evolving. In addition, China is rapidly developing the engineering sector, especially general, heavy and power engineering, machine tool construction, and production of industrial equipment. China also develops the transport, agricultural, shipbuilding, automotive, electronic, and aerospace industries.

Agriculture accounts for no more than 8% of the country's GDP. There is a shortage of drinking water in China. The country lacks arable land. Only 15% of the total territory of the country can be used for agricultural purposes. The country cultivates rice, wheat, potatoes, various vegetables and fruits (especially apples, pears, citruses). Tropical fruits grow in Hainan province. Other food crops include green and jasmine tea (popular with the Chinese population), black tea (for export purposes), sugar cane, and sugar beet. China is the first in cotton production and has a large livestock population, especially pigs and poultry.

Export and import

The main exports from China are electric machines, equipment, and their components, sound-recording and reproducing devices, TV image and sound recording and reproduction devices, their components and accessories. In addition, furniture, bedding, mattresses, and other stuffed furniture accessories; lamps and lighting equipment, as well as many other light industry products.

Major export partners are the US with 16.7% (418,000,000,000 USD), Hong Kong with 11.1% (279,000,000,000 USD), Japan 5.73% (143,000,000,000 USD), South Korea with 4.44% (110,000,000,000 USD), Vietnam with 3.92% (8,290,000,000 USD), Bangladesh with 2.87% (98,000,000,000 USD), Germany with 3.19% (79,000,000,000 USD) and India with 2.99% (74,000,000,000 USD).

Total country's export in 2020 amounted to 2,490,000,000,000 USD.

The main imported goods are crude oil and petroleum products made from bitumen, mineral ores, gases, cars, and other motor vehicles, including vans and racing cars. Besides, China imports gold and soybeans.

Major import partners are South Korea with 8.38% (173,000,000,000 USD), Japan with 8.29% (171,000,000,000 USD), the US with 5.95% (123,000,000,000 USD), Australia with 5.78% (119,000,000,000 USD), Germany with 5.07% (105,000,000,000 USD), Brazil with 3.82% (79,000,000,000 USD), Malaysia with 3.46% (71,000,000,000 USD) and Vietnam with 3.09% (64,000,000,000 USD).

Total country's import in 2020 amounted to 2,100,000,000,000 USD.

Labor force

According to the UN data (12.04.2021), the active population of China consists of more than 1,000,000,000 people or 73.6% of the total population. Out of the active population, 63.5% have an official paid job. In January 2021, the unemployment rate in China reached 5.2%.

The majority of the workforce (47.4%) is employed in the service sector. The Government did not fix a single minimum wage for the whole country, but each city and province has its own. This is because the standard of living significantly depends on the place where a person lives. The lowest minimum wages are set in the provinces of Liáoníng (1120 CNY or 166.88 USD), Qinghai (1500 CNY or 212.21 USD), and Tibet (1650 CNY or 233.43 USD).

As of 2020, the average salary per month was 5995 CNY (USD 915.42) pretax.