Where do foreign companies do business in China?

Where do foreign companies do business in China?

Due to a large development effort to bolster a business friendly climate, China offers an abundance of regional and provincial options outside the primary tier one cities for locating or conducting business.

Understanding the Chinese regions and provinces landscape can help you make more informed decisions when choosing to do business with a Chinese company.

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While you may assume that most of the business being conducted in China is concentrated in its largest and most famous cities – Beijing and Shanghai – there are many other regions that also witness a significant volume of business activity. In this article we provide you with an overview of the nine most active business centers and regions in China.

Although there isn’t any singular official data source that indicates where the most significant business volume occurs due to the myriad of factors that could be used to calculate that volume (imports, exports, transpiration, registrations, capital flow), a broad-based survey of several third-party sources reveals these top nine regions as the most active.

Top 9 Provinces where foreign companies do business in China

ProvinceFast factsCapitalSignificant citiesTransportation
Guangdong (广东)Population: 109,990,000 (7.8%)
GDP per capita: USD $12,909
Guangzhou (广州)Shenzhen (深圳)
Dongguan (东莞)
Foshan (佛山)
Huizhou (惠州)
Zhongshan (中山)
Guangzhou Baiyun (CAN)
Shenzhen Bao'an (SZX)
Shanghai Municipality (上海)Population: 24,200,000 (1.7%)
GDP per capita: USD 19,671
Largest city in China
World’s busiest container port
China’s largest metro system
Huangpu (黄浦)
Xuhui (徐汇)
Changning (长宁)
Jing'an (静安)
Putuo (普陀)
Hongkou (虹口)
Yangpu (杨浦)
Pudong (浦东)
Shanghai Pudong (PVG)
Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA)
Zhejiang (浙江)Population: 55,900,000 (4.1%)
GDP per capita: USD 14,630
Key manufacturing hub
Wholesale market capital in Yiwu
Hangzhou (杭州)Ningbo (宁波)
Jiaxing (嘉兴)
Jinhua (金华)
Shaoxing (绍兴)
Taizhou (台州)
Wenzhou (温州)
Hangzhou Xiaoshan (HGH)
Beijing Municipality (北京)Population: 21,730,000 (1.5%)
GDP per capita: USD 20,356
Highest concentration of companies in Mainland China
One of four 1st tier Chinese cities
Main port for imports and exports: Binhai port in Tianjin
Dongcheng (东城)
Xicheng (西城)
Chaoyang (朝阳)
Fengtai (丰台)
Shijingshan (石景山)
Haidian (海淀)
Beijing Capital (PEK)
Shandong (山东)Population: 99,470,000 (7.2%)
GDP per capita: USD 11,543
Second most populous province
Industrial and agricultural strengths
Jinan (济南)Qingdao (青岛)
Weifang (潍坊)
Yantai (烟台)
Qingdao Liuting (TAO)
Jinan Yaoqiang (TNA)
Jiangsu (江苏)Population: 79,990,000 (5.9%)
GDP per capita: USD 16,965
18 high-tech zone
Yangtze River Delta economic region
Nanjing (南京)Suzhou (苏州)
Wuxi (无锡)
Changzhou (常州)
Nantong (南通)
Xuzhou (徐州)
Nanjing Lukou (NKG)
Fujian (福建)Population: 38,740,000 (2.8%)
GDP per capita: USD 13,171
Light industry sector
Costal proximity
Fuzhou (福州)Quanzhou (泉州)
Xiamen (厦门)
Xiamen Gaoqi (XMN)
Hebei (河北)Population: 74,700,000 (5.4%)
GDP per capita: USD 7,606
Home of the future Xiong'an New Area (雄安新区)
Shijiazhuang (石家庄)Baoding (保定)Beijing Daxing International Airport (under construction) and slated to be the world’s largest
Tianjin Municipality (天津)Population: 15,620,000 (1.0%)
GDP per capita: USD 18,807
Tianjin is one of mainland China's 4 municipalities - the others are Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing
Heping (和平)
Hedong (河东)
Hexi (河西)
Nankai (南开)
Hebei (河北)
Hongqiao (红桥)
Binhai (滨海)
Tianjin Binhai (TSN)

Additional Resources

Nuna Network is the partner of choice and go-to resource for businesses or individuals seeking guidance in researching, developing, and establishing relationships with companies in China. Check out our valuable guides, helpful tips, and other practical information to help you navigate the complex landscape of Chinese Businesses.