General Information
Capital(s): Beijing
Population: 1,306,313,812 (2007)
Area: 9,596,960 Km²

Time Zone: GMT+8h00
ISO Code: CN
Dialing Code: +86

Economic Overview

China is the most populous country in the world with a population of more than one billion people. It is also the third largest country in the world by area, after Russia and Canada, and the fourth biggest economy in the world after the USA, Japan and Germany.


According to the World Bank, the developing world now accounts for 53.5% of global GDP versus 44.5% in 1975. China’s share has grown from 3% to 13%. China’s 2006 GDP was R 19.2 trillion versus R 21.3 trillion for Germany, third biggest behind USA and Japan.

The IMF World Economic Outlook 2006 reports China contributing 29% of world’s economic growth and 15% of world output. In 3Q2006, Chinese GDP rose 10.4% and in 4Q2006 by 10.9% giving full year increase in China’s GDP of 10.7% for 2006. China’s GDP growth is forecast to be 10% in 2007.

At end 2006, China’s current account surplus was 7.2% of GDP and the country has foreign exchange reserves in excess of US$ 954 billion.


UNCTAD reported global FDI grew 29% in 2005 to US$ 916 billion with 59% going into developed economies and 83% coming from developed economies. The UK, USA, China, France and the Netherlands topped the list of countries attracting FDI. Foreign FDI in China was US$ 60.3 billion in 2005.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reports Chinese FDI in other countries rose 123% from 2004 to 2005, totaling US$ 12.3 billion. In December 2006, China Development Bank announced plans to increase international investment, particularly in energy and minerals. Towards the end of January 2007, China announced a policy shift on managing foreign reserves which could have a significant impact on the rate of Chinese investment abroad.

Stock Exchanges:

In 2003 Chinese and Indian markets rose 83%, in 2004 10% and in 2005 29%. China’s mainland stock exchanges rose 130% in 2006. As of January 2007, the value of shares on China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges topped US$ 1 trillion in value, triple the value a year before, making it the third largest in Asia after Japan at US$ 4.8 trillion and Hong Kong US$ 2.1 trillion.

Dealogic reports that Chinese exchanges raised US$ 43.1 billion in 2006 compared to US$ 38 billion for US exchanges and London Euro 31.4 billion. However private equity investments in China dropped by 13% in 2006.

Economic Demographics:

The World Bank reports that, while China’s economy grew at 10% pa from 2001 to 2003, the average income of the poorest 10% of households dropped by 2.5%.

The USA produces 137,000 engineers per year, China 352,000. 25% of foreign PhD students in the USA are from China. Of one million Chinese studying abroad since 1980, two thirds have chosen not to return.

Over the next 5 years India and China, currently providing 40% of world labour, will add 71 million and 44 million workers. The US workforce will increase by 10 million, Europe’s will not increase and Japan’s will reduce by 3 million.

Although China produces 600,000 university trained engineers each year, a McKinsey survey of nine professions showed less than 10% employable by multinationals. Chinese managers are in short supply with some of the best now earning more than expatriates.

India has 10 PCs per 1,000 inhabitants versus China’s 40 PCs per 1,000.


China’s main export commodities include chemical products, coal, machinery, oil products, petroleum products, synthetic lubricants and Metal & metal products. Imports include plastic products, paper products, fuel, iron steel, industrial equipment, coal, chemical products and fertilisers. China adheres to the Harmonised System for tariff classification.

In September 2006, China recorded its second largest ever trade surplus of US$ 15.3 billion. The trade surplus for the first 3Q of 2006 is US$ 110 billion. China’s 2006 trade surplus was US$ 177.5 billion, up from US$ 102 billion in 2005 and US$ 32 billion in 2004. In 2006, exports grew 27% to US$ 969 billion and imports 20%. The USA takes about 20% of Chinese exports, about the same level as Europe. The trade deficit with the USA was US$ 214 billion for the first 11 months of 2006. In August 2006, the US trade deficit widened to a record US$ 69.9 billion, of which US$ 22 billion related to trade with China.


All foreign currency must be declared on arrival in China and it is advisable to retain all documents regarding this, as well as all details of subsequent exchange transactions whilst in China. Local currency may be converted into foreign currency without having to wait for an allocation from the central or local authorities through foreign exchange adjustment centres. This is primarily aimed at foreign investors expatriating capital or earnings. Only the Bank of China and other organisations approved by the State Administration of Exchange Control (SAEC) may deal in foreign exchange.

China introduced a single free floating currency in January 1994 and withdrew foreign exchange certificates. China’s central government controls foreign exchange allocation and foreign exchange controls constitute a significant non-tariff barrier. All foreign trade transactions must be covered by a licence issued by MOFTEC (Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co -operation). In addition to this, a licence is required by all except the National Foreign Trade Corporations, in order to deal in foreign exchange and trade. These licences are issued by one of the local trade bureaus in China.

Import licences for certain products are needed and are only issued if foreign exchange is available and in effect an import licence guarantees the allocation of a foreign exchange for the particular transaction. All imports/exports are subject to inspection. The State Administration of Import and Export Commodity Inspection (SAIECE) provides a list of goods to which inspection is mandatory. Foreign inspection agencies do not operate in China, but joint commodities inspection agencies are allowed.

Special Economic Zones and Bonded Zones have been established in Juli, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Zhuhai, Shantou, Shenzhen, Dalian, Tianjin, Shanghai’s Waigaoqiao, Guangzhou and Hainan’s Yangpu. MOFTEC approves all barter and countertrade transactions on a case by case basis.


Trade between China and Saudi Arabia increased 30% between 2005 and 2006. By 2030, China plans to purchase half its oil from the Middle East. Sinopec plans to invest US$ 100 billion in an Iranian oil and gas project.

40% of the world’s electricity is derived from coal and from gas 20%. Usage of coal is forecast to rise by 1.4% per year until 2030, with two thirds of demand coming from China and India. In February 2007, China Electrical Power News reports China added 102 gigawatts of new generating capacity in 2006, more than all of the UK’s generating capacity and twice the capacity of California. China builds a new coal-fired power station every four days.

The 2006 Renewables Global Status Report shows Germany and China lead in renewable energy investments. China plans to have methanol, mostly from coal, provide between 10% and 20% of automotive fuel within ten years. However, in December 2006 China halted new ethanol projects involving corn.

Transport and the Environment:

Over the next 30 years the number of cars in China could increase 30 fold to 190 million and in India 13 fold leading to Asian transport CO2 emissions triple those of today.

Chinese CO2 emissions are forecast to increase by 2.6 billion tonnes between 2006 and 2010 and by 7.4 billion tonnes between 2002 and 2030. During this period, the UK might reduce emissions by 310 million tonnes.

In October 2006, the WHO issued stringent guidelines for air pollution which is estimated to cause two million premature deaths per year, more than half in developing nations. The World Bank rates New Delhi, Cairo, Kolkota and Tianjin as the most polluted cities in the world. 16 of the 20 most polluted cities are in China.

Although China’s 2006-2010 plan calls for an improvement in energy efficiency of 20% over the period, 2006 only saw an improvement of 1%. By 2009, China is expected to be the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Although Chinese energy efficiency improved markedly from 1980 to 2000, investment in new heavy industry has seen this reversed with Chinese iron and steel plants accounting for 16% of total energy consumption, versus 2% in the USA.

Metals and Minerals:

The Economist estimates that China’s share of world metal consumption has risen from below 10% to above 25% of world demand. In the three years to 2005, China was responsible for 50% of the world increase in copper and aluminium consumption and most, if not all, the growth in demand for nickel, tin, lead and zinc. Chinese copper imports fell by more than 30% in 2006. China International Corporation forecasts copper demand growth will slow from 14% pa to 9% pa by 2020.

Chinese steel output increased 18.5% in 2006 to 418.8 million tons. In 2005, China had 118 million tons of excess steel capacity, more than Japan’s total capacity.

Intellectual Property:

According to the OECD, China overtook Japan in 2006 and now ranks second in spending on R&D after the USA and fifth in number of patents filed. The Economist calculates Brazil spends 1.04% of GDP on R&D, Russia 1.28%, India 0.84%, China 1.31%, and South Africa 0.74%.

In December 2006, China (US$ 136 billion), mostly development work to adapt technology for China, overtook Japan (US$ 130 billion) as second biggest spender on R&D. USA (US$ 330 billion) is largest.

Chinese 3G technology is ready for deployment

Other Resources: China’s urban demand for water is expected to grow 70% and industrial demand 104% between 2010 and 2030.

China and Africa:

A World Bank / IMF report shows that China (US$ 5 billion), Kuwait, Brazil, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia have become significant new investors in Africa. Trade between China and Africa in 2006 was worth US$ 55.5 billion, up 40% on 2005. China is Africa’s most important trading partner after the USA and France, ahead of the UK.

China is to provide US$ 3 billion in preferential credit over next three years. Exports to South Africa, mainly machinery and clothing, were up 51% at US$ 5.8 billion. Exports from South Africa to China, mainly ores, precious stones, metals and iron and steel products, increased 19% to US$ 4.1 billion. 2006 bilateral trade between China and Sudan, China’s third largest African trade partner, was more than US$ 2.9 billion. Nearly 70% of Sudan’s oil production goes to China. During February 2007 Hu Jintao visit, China offered Zambia US$ 800 million in investment over next three years, including US$ 250 million for copper smelter, increased number of Zambian products that can be imported into China tariff-free and will allow Zambians to borrow from Bank of China. Zambia is to set up special economic zone in the Copperbelt.


More than 900 Chinese doctors work in Africa.

Memberships (15)
African Development Bank, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, International Finance Corporation, International Monetary Fund, The World Bank Group, United Nations, World Customs Organisation, World Intellectual Property Organisation, Asian Development Bank, Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation

Exchanges (5)
Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE), Shanghai Futures Exchange, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange (ZCE)

Event Venues (13)
Beijing Hongyuan Machinery Co, Ltd., China Export Commodities Fairground, China International Exhibition Center, Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, International Conference Center, International Exhibition Centre, JC Mandarin, National Agricultural Exhibition Hall, Pudong Expo Center, Shanghai Everbright Convention & Exhibition Centre, Shanghai Exhibition Centre, Shanghai Mart

Facilities (60)
701 Changma, AC motor, An Tai Bao, Anjialing, Ashele Copper Mine, Baka Gold Project, Baodin, Bosai Alumina Refinery, Chaohua Coal Mine, Chengmenshan Copper Mine, Chenjiashan Mine, Crimson Hills gold mine, Daping Coal Mine, Daya Bay, Dayingezhuang Gold Mine, Dexing Copper Mine, Dongguashan, Dongtan, Fortune Mountain gold mine, Guanlingpo Gold Mine

Travel Facilities
Accommodation (2): JC Mandarin Hotel, Kempinski Hotel
Attractions (2): Lianyungang Inpu Quartz Factory, Great Wall of China

Shaun Bakamoso

Greetings. I'm Shaun Bakamoso, and I'm thrilled to be your guide through the dynamic world of business news in South Africa here at With a passion for staying informed and a keen interest in the ever-evolving landscape of business, I've dedicated myself to providing you with timely, insightful, and comprehensive coverage of the latest developments impacting the South African economy. / Instagram