This article provides an overview of selected municipalities and provinces in China for those keen on exploring the possibility of living and working there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
This overview covers the municipalities of Chongqing and Tianjin and provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Shandong, Sichuan and Zhejiang. These municipalities and provinces were selected as Singapore has business councils, as well as substantial trade and investments, with each of them. The business councils “provide platforms for Singapore companies to network with Chinese government officials and communities.“ They also deepen collaboration at the provincial level and help to strengthen bilateral relations and the internationalisation of Singapore companies.
With the exception of Liaoning, these six provinces and Chongqing experienced high economic growth between 2015 and 2016. Their Gross Regional Product (GRP) growth ranged from -22.4 percent in Liaoning to 12.85 percent in Chongqing.
In 2016, Chongqing had a population of 30.48 million. On 14 March 1997, Chongqing became one of China’s four direct-controlled municipalities and the only one in west China. Its economy grew from RMB 1.572 trillion in 2015 to RMB 1.774 trillion in 2016. It is now the largest economic centre in west China and is also an important transportation hub and inland port. Given its strategic location, Chongqing is also “a key strategic node” of the One Belt One Road initiative unveiled in 2013 with the aim of connecting about 80 countries across three continents to China.
Chongqing’s major industries include automobiles, iron and steel and aluminium. It is moving away from heavy industry towards the manufacturing of electronic and high technology products. The move has prompted many leading multinational companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, Foxconn, Inventec, Acer, IBM and CISCO, to set up their businesses in Chongqing.
Guangdong covers an area of 179,757 square kilometres. Its population was 109.99 million in 2016. Its GRP grew 36.8 percent from RMB 7.28 trillion in 2015 to 8.085 trillion in 2016. Its economic hub is the Pearl River Delta (PRD) Economic Zone. The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in Guangdong is one of China’s most successful Special Economic Zones. The province’s capital city is Guangzhou. There is a Singapore Consulate-General Office there where Singaporeans can seek consular assistance.
Guangdong is noted for its light manufacturing industries such as television sets, electrical fans and refrigerators, as well as consumer products such as garments, toys, shoes and electronics. The provincial government is also seeking to grow the financial, tourism and cultural sectors.
Jiangsu, located on the Yangtze River delta, had a population of 79.99 million in 2016. Its land area is 102,600 square kilometres. The province’s GRP grew 10.35 percent from RMB 7.01 trillion in 2015 to RMB7.74 trillion in 2016. The capital city of the province is Nanjing.
The main industries in Jiangsu are electronics, telecommunications, machinery, metallurgy, machinery and equipment, chemicals, textiles and garments. Apart from being named “China Famous Software City”, Nanjing has a biomedical industry that has been averaging 30 percent growth per annum.
Located in northeast China, Liaoning has a land area of 148,000 square kilometres. The province’s capital city is Shenyang. Its population in 2016 was 43.78 million. The province’s GRP declined 22.4 percent from RMB 2.87 trillion in 2015 to RMB 2.22 trillion in 2016.
Liaoning’s pillar industries include machinery and equipment, food processing, metallurgy and petrochemicals. It is also an important production base for industrial equipment and machinery in China. Additionally, Liaoning is rich in mineral resources such as boron, coal, diamonds, iron ore, jade, magnesite and oil.
Shandong lies in the Bohai Bay economic region and covers an area of around 157,900 square kilometres. Jinan serves as the province’s capital city and the port of Qingdao is among China’s busiest. The population of Shandong was 99.47 million in 2016. The province’s GRP grew 38.9 percent from RMB 6.3 trillion in 2015 to RMB 6.802 trillion in 2016.
Apart from food processing and manufacturing, Shandong also has oil and coal. Its heavy industry accounted for around 68 percent of its gross industrial output. Shandong is also home to some of China’s famous local brands such as Tsingtao Beer and Haier Electronics. Additionally, the city of Yantai is an export base for apples, peanuts and vegetables.
Sichuan is located along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in southwestern China and is one of the most industrialised provinces in western China. It occupies a land area of 486,052 square kilometres. The province’s capital city is Chengdu. Its population was 82.62 million in 2016. Its GRP grew around 9.7 percent from RMB 3 trillion in 2015 to RMB 3.29 trillion in 2016. Singapore has a Consulate-General office in Chengdu that provides consular assistance to Singaporeans.
Apart from being a major agricultural producer, Sichuan is also expanding its industrial activities rapidly over the last two decades. Its major industries include gas, electricity, steel, cement, Chinese medicine and chemical fibre. Furthermore, Sichuan’s telecommunications equipment, computer and other electronic equipment sectors have grown rapidly in recent years.
Tianjin, with a population of 15.62 million in 2016, has experienced fast economic growth in recent years. Its GRP in 2015 was RMB 1.65 trillion, which was an increase of about 46 percent from the RMB 1.1 trillion recorded in 2011. In 2016, it grew by another 8.36 percent to reach RMB 1.788 trillion.
The Singapore-Tianjin Eco-city, a government-to-government project between Singapore and China, is located within the Tianjin Binhai New Area, one of China’s fastest growing regions. It is 40 kilometres from Tianjin City Centre and 150 kilometres from Beijing City Centre.
The province’s main industries include high-tech (particularly electronic information) products, automotive, electronics, petrochemicals, metallurgy, medicine, energy and financial services. The service sector, in particular, is developing rapidly, In 2016, the industry’s two sub-sectors, wholesale and retail trade, and finance accounted for 22.4 percent and 17.8 percent of the service sector’s total added value respectively.
Zhejiang covers a land area of 101,800 square kilometres and is situated on China’s eastern coast. Hangzhou is the province’s capital city. In 2016, it had a population of 55.9 million. The province’s GRP grew from RMB 4.29 trillion in 2015 to RMB 4.725 trillion in 2016.
Apart from light industries such as textiles and garments (especially socks and ties), Zhejiang also has heavy industries whose products include electrical equipment and machinery as well as chemicals. The province is also a leading centre for e-commerce. It is also home to Alibaba, the world’s largest e-business platform.