Economics

Which Are The Biggest Industries In China?

In China, 46.8% of the country's GDP is contributed by the industrial sector.

China is the world’s largest economy based on purchasing power parity with a GDP of $23.2 trillion in 2017. In the recent decades, China’s economy recorded the fastest growth rate in the world with an annual average of 10% recorded over the past 30 years. China is the world’s biggest exporter of commodities, with exports amounting to $2.09 trillion in 2016. The Asian country also has one of the largest consumer markets in the world and is the world’s second-biggest importer of goods.

Manufacturing Industry In China

Manufacturing is by far the biggest industry in China accounting for 46.8% of the country’s GDP which is attributed to China’s intense investment in its heavy industries. China’s manufacturing industry has experienced tremendous growth in the past century, with the country rising from being a small-scale player in global manufacturing to become the largest manufacturer in 2010, surpassing the United States which had held that distinction for over a century. As a testament to the booming industry in the country, China used more cement in three years between 2011 and 2013 than the US’s cumulative consumption in the entire 20th century. The total manufacturing output in China is equivalent to 19.8% of the total global production.

China is the world’s number-one producer of cement, steel, and chemical fertilizers. Of the ten largest steel producers in the world, six are based in China with the country’s annual steel production of 683 million tons being the highest in the world. China also has the largest cotton textile output of any country with textile manufacturing accounting for 10% of the country’s gross industrial output. China is the third largest producer of automobiles in the world behind the US and Japan with the annual automobile export being estimated to be $70 billion. The automobile sector experienced a dramatic growth in the past few decades with the country’s annual automobile output increasing from 1.45 million units in 1995 to over 13.7 million units in 2009. Manufactured products account for about 94.3% of China’s $2.09 trillion total exports which include automobiles, ships, locomotives, textiles, fertilizers, and electronics.

Mining Industry In China

The mining is among the major industries in the Chinese economy. The industry annually injects billions of dollars into the country’s GDP. China is the by far the largest producer of gold in the world, with the country producing about 463.7 tons of gold in 2016 (in comparison, the second biggest producer, Australia, managed to produce 274 tons in 2016). While South Africa, which had been the world’s top gold producing country for 101 years, has had its gold production declining by as much as 50% in the past ten years, China’s gold production has been increasing in recent years and has doubled in the past decade. Most of China’s gold deposits are found in the eastern part of the country, in the Liaoning, Henan, Fujian and Shandong provinces. Most of the gold produced in China is consumed locally as China is the world’s fourth largest gold consumer. The local gold consumption in China is equivalent to 9.2% of the global gold consumption. Coal mining is another important sector in China’s mining industry.

China is the largest coal producer in the world with a production of 3.89 billion tons in 2014. The country has the third largest coal reserves in the world, behind the United States and Russia with some estimates claiming the reserves can sustain the country for more than a century. The largest open-pit coal mine in China is situated in Haerwusu and has an estimated 1.73 billion tons of coal reserves. Majority of the coal is consumed domestically with China being the world’s biggest coal consumer, with an annual consumption of about 3.2 billion tons. China is also a global leader in the production of non-metal minerals. The country has an annual production rate of 97 million tons of phosphate rock. Other valuable minerals produced in China are tungsten, copper, tin and iron ore among others.

Energy Industry In China

Energy is an important pillar of China’s economy and is one of the country’s largest industries. China is the leading country in electricity production since 2011 when the country’s production exceeded that of the United States. China’s annual electricity production reached 5,920 Tw-h in 2016. Most of the country’s electricity (57.2% in 2016) is produced from coal, a mineral that China has in plenty, with the third largest coal reserves in the world. Hydropower is the second-most important electricity source in China, accounting for 20.1% of the total electricity production in 2016. However, the country is grappling with the problem of lacking a unified national grid system for proper distribution of the electricity. The vast size of the country is also a problem due to voltage drops experienced as electricity is transmitted across long distances.

China is the fourth largest oil producer in the world with the country having a production of 1.3 billion barrels in 2002. The size of oil deposits in China is not known for numerous oil exploration studies being conducted in the country. Despite China’s enormous oil production, the country is still oil-deficient and being the world’s largest oil consumer in the world, and the country relies on oil imports to meet its domestic oil demand. China has also invested in renewable energy which is seen as the new frontier in the energy industry, with the country being the top electricity producer from renewable sources. The country has numerous wind farms located in its vast territory as well as in offshore sites to harness wind energy which according to researchers from Tsinghua University, can meet the country’s electricity needs. In 2013, the total electricity output from wind sources amounted to 140 Tw-h.

Agriculture Industry In China

Agriculture is another major industry in China’s economy with the country being both the largest consumer and producer of agricultural products in the world. China can feed its enormous population (estimated to be equivalent to 20% of the global population) despite having only 15% of its land is suitable for cultivation. For comparison, China has 30% more agricultural production than the United States despite having 15% less cropland area. About 300 million people work in China’s agricultural industry, the majority of whom are small-scale farmers. The most important crop produced in China is rice which is cultivated on millions of acres of land. The country which was traditionally known for its aquaculture is also the largest producer of poultry, eggs, and pigs.

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