Business with China

Business with China

Despite a recent relative slowdown in its record-breaking economic growth, China remains a key market for importers. But alongside the opportunities, it is important for firms to manage the risks relating to payment and finance.

Well known for its manufacturing capability, China is the largest global producer of toys, textiles, washing machines, cameras and computers (among hundreds of other products). It is also the world’s largest consumer of iron, steel, coal and cement, and China’s hunger for raw materials continues.

Traditionally, China provided low-cost manufacturing solutions for the global market, but exports declined sharply after the global downturn in 2008 and China’s manufacturing industry responded by quickly moving up the value chain.




There are significant divides in China’s regional economies. Coastal provinces in the Chinese eastern seaboard are the most economically advanced, benefiting from historical trade links and better infrastructure. These regions were among the first to respond to the reform and opening-up policy and have enjoyed sustained growth spurred by export and investment.

The Chinese Government is now pressing hard to improve infrastructure and social welfare as well as targeting resources to develop China’s vast rural and interior regions, unleashing domestic consumption among the wider population. Industrial structures are shifting inland with dozens of new cities emerging and coastal areas developing into sophisticated urban clusters.

China’s Top Trading Partners

Below is a list highlighting 15 of China’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. Over two-thirds (68.1%) of Chinese exports in 2016 were delivered to these 15 trade partners. China increased its exports to Vietnam by the greatest percentage, up by 277.8% from 2009 to 2016. In second place was Thailand via its 183% gain followed by Russia (up 114.2%), India (up 98.6%), Taiwan (up 97%) and Malaysia (up 96.3%).

  • 1. United States: US$388.1 billion (18.3% of total Chinese exports)
  • 2. Hong Kong: $292.2 billion (13.8%)
  • 3. Japan: $129.5 billion (6.1%)
  • 4. South Korea: $94.7 billion (4.5%)
  • 5. Germany: $65.8 billion (3.1%)
  • 6. Vietnam: $61.6 billion (2.9%)
  • 7. India: $58.9 billion (2.8%)
  • 8. Netherlands: $57.7 billion (2.7%)
  • 9. United Kingdom: $56.3 billion (2.7%)
  • 10. Singapore: $45.8 billion (2.2%)
  • 11. Taiwan: $40.4 billion (1.9%)
  • 12. Malaysia: $38.5 billion (1.8%)
  • 13. Thailand: $37.7 billion (1.8%)
  • 14. Australia: $37.6 billion (1.8%)
  • 15. Russia: $37.5 billion (1.8%)

China’s Exports

The world’s largest exporter, China shipped US$2.119 trillion worth of products around the globe in 2016. That figure represents roughly 13.1% of overall global exports estimated at $16.236 trillion one year earlier in 2015.

Well known for its manufacturing capability, China is the largest global producer of toys, textiles, washing machines, cameras and computers (among hundreds of other products). It is also the world’s largest consumer of iron, steel, coal and cement, and China’s hunger for raw materials continues.

North American importers purchased 21.2% of Chinese shipments while 18.5% worth arrived in European countries.

At 4.4%, a much smaller portion of Chinese exports were bought by importers in Africa.