City skyline in China

China Economy

China economic overview

The Asian powerhouse:

China is the world's second-largest economy in nominal terms, behind the United States, and the largest when adjusting for purchasing power parity (which accounts for the cost of living). China's economic data is currently mixed: The country's economy had been growing rapidly since the 1980s, with annual growth rates exceeding 6–8%, but the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, a trade war with the U.S. and a property sector downturn have complicated its growth trajectory.

Manufacturing hub:

China is the world's largest exporter and manufacturer, producing a range of goods such as textiles, electronics and heavy machinery. Furthermore, its companies lead the way in several emerging technologies, such as solar panels and electric vehicles. The country has long maintained a significant trade surplus.

Consumer market:

Domestically, with a burgeoning middle class and a population of over 1.4 billion people, China benefits from a massive consumer market.

Infrastructure investment:

China has invested heavily in infrastructure projects—including high-speed railways, highways, and ports—improving domestic connectivity and facilitating international trade. Moreover, China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative aims to strengthen economic ties and expand its influence in countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and beyond through infrastructure investments.

Economic challenges:

China faces several economic headwinds, including an aging population, environmental pollution, and debt concerns in its corporate and local government sectors. More recently, since the Trump presidency, U.S. sanctions on Chinese goods and technology have escalated. This has hit trade and encouraged some firms to move production away from China. Moreover, the harsh on-off lockdowns imposed until late 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic hit confidence and depressed activity. Meanwhile, domestic reform progress has largely stalled, and the economy has become more state-driven, to the detriment of the country's dynamic private-sector firms. In addition, highly indebted real estate firms are a risk to stability.

China's economic outlook:

The economy will continue to slow in the coming years as the easy gains from catch-up growth with the developed world fade, the decline in the population accelerates and tensions with the West hamper technological advancement. China's ability to escape the middle-income trap that other emerging economies have faced will depend crucially on its ability to generate sustained productivity gains ahead.

China's economy in numbers:

Nominal GDP of USD 17,977 billion in 2022.

GDP per capita of USD 12,734 compared to the global average of USD 10,589.

Average real GDP growth of 6.4% over the last decade.

Share of the region's population
Share of the region's GDP

Economic structure:

In 2021, services accounted for 53% of overall GDP, manufacturing 27%, other industrial activity 13%, and agriculture 7%. Looking at GDP by expenditure, private consumption accounted for 38% of GDP in 2021, government consumption 17%, fixed investment 43%, and net exports 2%.

GDP by economic sector
GDP by type of expenditure

International trade:

In 2021, manufactured products made up 94% of total merchandise exports, mineral fuels 1%, food 2%, ores and metals 1% and agricultural raw materials 0%, with other categories accounting for 2% of the total. In the same period, manufactured products made up 56% of total merchandise imports, mineral fuels 16%, food 8%, ores and metals 15% and agricultural raw materials 3%, with other goods accounting for 2% of the total. Total exports were worth USD 3,544 billion in 2022, while total imports were USD 2,707 billion.

Key exports
Key imports
Key export partners
Key import partners

Economic growth:

The economy recorded average annual growth of 6.4% in the decade to 2022. To read more about GDP growth in China, go to our dedicated page.

Fiscal policy:

China's fiscal deficit averaged 3.6% of GDP in the decade to 2022. Find out more on our dedicated page.


The unemployment rate averaged 5.2% in the decade to 2022. For more information on China's unemployment click here.


Inflation averaged 2.1% in the decade to 2022. Go to our China inflation page for extra insight.

Monetary Policy:

China's monetary policy rate ended 2022 at 3.65%, down from 5.73% a decade earlier. See our China monetary policy page for additional details.

Exchange Rate:

From end-2012 to end-2022 the yuan weakened by 10.1% vs the U.S. dollar. For more info on the yuan, click here.
GDP growth clocked 5.2% year on year in Q4, above Q3’s 4.9% but undershooting market expectations. Covid-19 disruptions in Q4 2022 created a favorable base of comparison, as growth ebbed in quarter-on-quarter terms. Turning to 2024, our Consensus is for a slower annual economic expansion in Q1. Available data paints a generally muted picture, notwithstanding strong domestic tourism over the Lunar New Year. In January, manufacturing operating conditions worsened and consumer prices fell at the sharpest annual pace in over a decade, suggesting subdued domestic demand. Moreover, home sales and cement shipments have been depressed year to date, pointing to a downbeat property sector despite piecemeal stimulus measures. A recent USD 7 trillion stock market rout is a reflection of investors’ lack of confidence in the economy, and prompted the government to take steps to stabilize share prices.
Projections out to 2033.

53 indicators covered including both annual and quarterly frequencies.

Consensus Forecasts based on a panel of 61 expert analysts.

Want to get insight on the economic outlook for China in the coming years? FocusEconomics collects projections out to 2033 on 53 economic indicators for China from a panel of 61 analysts at the leading national, regional and global forecast institutions. These projections are then validated by our in-house team of economists and data analysts, and averaged to provide one Consensus Forecast you can rely on for each indicator. This means you avoid the risk of relying on out of date, biased or outlier forecasts. Our Consensus Forecasts can be visualized in whichever way best suits your needs, including via interactive online dashboards , direct data delivery and executive-style reports which combine analysts' projections with timely written analysis from our in-house team of economists on the latest developments in the China economy. To download a sample report on the China's economy, click here . To get in touch with our team for more information, fill in the form at the bottom of this page .

China Economic Data

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Population (million) 1,405 1,410 1,412 1,413 1,412
GDP (USD bn) 13,896 14,277 14,689 17,816 17,895
GDP per capita (USD) 9,888 10,125 10,402 12,612 12,676
GDP (CNY bn) 91,928 98,652 101,357 114,924 120,472
Economic Growth (Nominal GDP, ann. var. %) 10.5 7.3 2.7 13.4 4.8
Economic Growth (GDP, ann. var. %) 6.7 6.0 2.2 8.4 3.0
Private Consumption (ann. var. %) 8.3 6.4 -2.5 12.2 0.3
Nominal Fixed Investment (ann. var. %) 5.9 5.4 2.9 4.9 5.1
Industrial Production (ann. var. %) 6.2 5.7 2.8 9.6 3.6
Retail Sales (ann. var. %) 9.0 8.0 -3.9 12.5 -0.2
Disposable Income (ann. var. %) 7.8 7.9 3.5 8.2 3.9
Wages (ann. var. %) 10.9 9.8 7.6 9.7 6.7
Unemployment (% of active population, eop) 4.9 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.5
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP) -4.1 -4.9 -6.2 -3.8 -4.7
Public Debt (% of GDP) 56.7 60.4 70.1 71.8 77.0
Money (ann. var. of M2 %) 8.1 8.7 10.1 9.0 11.8
Inflation (CPI, ann. var. %, eop) 1.9 4.5 0.2 1.5 1.8
Inflation (CPI, ann. var. %, aop) 2.1 2.9 2.5 0.9 2.0
Inflation (PPI, ann. var. %, eop) 0.9 -0.5 -0.4 10.3 -0.7
Inflation (PPI, ann. var. %, aop) 3.5 -0.3 -1.8 8.1 4.2
1-Year Loan Prime Rate (%, eop) 4.31 4.15 3.85 3.80 3.65
7-Day Reverse Repo Rate (%, eop) 2.55 2.50 2.20 2.20 2.00
1-Year Deposit Rate (%, eop) 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50 1.50
10-Year Bond Yield (%, eop) 3.23 3.14 3.14 2.78 2.84
Exchange Rate (CNY per USD, eop) 6.88 6.96 6.53 6.35 6.90
Exchange Rate (CNY per USD, aop) 6.62 6.91 6.90 6.45 6.73
Current Account Balance (USD bn) 24.1 102.9 248.8 352.9 401.9
Current Account Balance (% of GDP) 0.2 0.7 1.7 2.0 2.2
Merchandise Trade Balance (USD bn) 351 421 524 670 838
Merchandise Exports (USD bn) 2,487 2,499 2,590 3,357 3,544
Merchandise Imports (USD bn) 2,136 2,078 2,066 2,687 2,707
Merchandise Exports (ann. var. %) 9.9 0.5 3.6 29.6 5.6
Merchandise Imports (ann. var. %) 15.8 -2.7 -0.6 30.0 0.7
Foreign Direct Investment (USD bn) 138 141 149 181 189
International Reserves (USD bn) 3,168 3,223 3,357 3,427 3,307
International Reserves (months of imports) 17.8 18.6 19.5 15.3 14.7
External Debt (USD bn) 1,983 2,071 2,401 2,747 2,453
External Debt (% of GDP) 14.3 14.5 16.3 15.4 13.7


  1. Is China's economy growing?

  2. The economy is growing, though that growth has slowed sharply over the last decade as the investment-focused economic model has showed diminishing marginal gains. In addition, economic activity has been weighed on recently by trade tensions, the government's focus on boosting state firms, a private-sector crackdown and a declining population.

    China's economic growth rate will continue to slow in the coming years and decades as demographic headwinds increase and easy catch-up gains are exhausted.

  3. Why is China so important to the global economy?

  4. China boasts vast manufacturing capabilities, making it the world's factory for a wide array of products—China accounts for 30% of global manufacturing output and is the world's largest exporter. This positions China as an indispensable node in global supply chains.

    Additionally, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion and a growing middle class, it offers an enormous consumer market. Its Belt and Road Initiative expands its economic influence by investing in infrastructure projects worldwide, while rapid advancements in telecommunications, electric vehicles, solar power and AI make China a global innovation leader.

    China is also a major player in international finance, holding large foreign exchange reserves and U.S. Treasury securities, which gives it considerable sway over global financial markets. Finally, as a significant importer of raw materials and energy, China's consumption patterns influence commodity prices globally.

  5. Will China's economy overtake the U.S. economy?

  6. Our analysts expect China's economy to become larger than the U.S. economy in nominal GDP terms in the 2030s. That said, there are multiple downside risks to China's economy, including high indebtedness, excessive state interference in the economy and trade tensions with the West.

Free Sample Report

Interested in China economic reports, analysis and data? FocusEconomics provides data, forecasts and analysis for hundreds of countries and commodities. Request your free sample report now.

Close Left Media Arrows Left Media Circles Right Media Arrows Right Media Circles Arrow Quote Wave Address Email Telephone Man in front of screen with line chart Document with bar chart and magnifying glass Application window with bar chart Target with arrow Line Chart Stopwatch Globe with arrows Document with bar chart in front of screen Bar chart with magnifying glass and dollar sign Lightbulb Document with bookmark Laptop with download icon Calendar Icon Nav Menu Arrow Arrow Right Long Icon Arrow Right Icon Chevron Right Icon Chevron Left Icon Briefcase Icon Linkedin In Icon Full Linkedin Icon Filter Facebook Linkedin Twitter Pinterest