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China Country Profile


hina Population

The population of China is estimated to be 1.30 billion. The Capital is Beijing with a population of 12 million. The official national language is Mandarin. The ethnic make is 92% Han Chinese with the remainder of the population made up of 55 ethnic groups.

The Chinese Language

The official language of China is Mandarin

Religions In China

There is no official religion in China. Five religions are recognised by the state: Buddhism, Daoism, Islam and Catholic and Protestant Christianity.

China Political Structure

The Chinese Communist Party are the sole political party. Its power-base is made up of a nine person Standing Committee (similar to a cabinet) which is led by the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

There is also a National Peoples Congress which is a semi elected legislative authority that meets annually. It follows the guidelines of the ruling communist party.

The policies and legislation of the above are underpinned the by the Chinese Military. Local politics are managed by directly elected town or village leaders.

China Currency

The official unit of currency in China is Yuan (Renminbi). In Beijing USD are readily accepted.


China Economic History

After the Chinese Civil War in 1949 China was governed by the Communist Party of China from Oct 1st. The country was renamed the People’s Republic Of China. The country was ruled by Chairman Mao Zedong (sometimes referred to as as ‘Mao Tse-Tung’ who was a both politically a Marxist and a soldier. He ruled China until his death in 1976.

During his time in power he promoted his political philosophy of establishing a prosperous and socially stable china through several programmes including the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. In economic terms these programmes were costly and compounded by deteriorating relations between China and the rest of the World.

Following the death of Mao, Hua Guofeng became the leader of the Communist Party. Though he was known on the international stage his radical economic policies were supported by the Chinese Military and he was empowered to purge those who he felt had manipulated the former cultural revolution (famously the Gang of Four) for their own political power in the post Mao era.

The new Communist Party leadership embarked on a serious of economic reforms that were to strengthen the country’s economy and give it influence in the world generally. The reforms initially included making the countries state controlled industries leaner and more productive but were widen to allow private companies to function within in China provided they adhered to the the Chinese Governments guidelines. In the last decade China has significantly extended this brief to to allow inward investment by foreign companies. hese reforms saw China’s gross domestic product grow at annual rate of approximately 9% growth for 26 years. This is compared with a GDP growth of 6.9% in India, 4.1% in the EU and 1.4 in the US.

Currently the Chinese Government are reinvesting some the countries wealth in the rural industrial areas in North East and Western China, where many state owned industries exist but need capital investment to assure their viability. This policy is intended to address the current imbalance in the income of employees in these areas who earn far less than their counterparts in areas like South East China which are better developed economically.

China’s Economy & Business Today

In 2006 the GDP of the Chinese Economy was 20.9 trillion Yuan or 2.7 trillion USD. This was a growth of 10.7% on 2006. The growth was 25% higher than forecast. Inflation in China was 1.5% in 2006 against 1.8% in 2005. Forecasts for 2007 vary with the conservative Peoples Bank of China forecasting a growth of 10.7% and international analysts projecting a growth of 12- 14%. Many commentators feel that a growth of more 11% will create significant inflationary pressures. Since July 2005 the Yuan has gained approximately 6.7% against the US$ on Foreign Exchange markets. In purchasing power terms China is the second most powerful state in the world.

Industry In China

The main industries in China are iron steel coal, machine manufacture, armaments, textiles and light industrial goods – all of which are major state industries. Other significant industries include clothes, , chemicals, cement, footwear, toys, food processing consumer electronics telecommunications, and information technology. Of these electronics and machinery are the largest contribution to China’s exports. The Automobile and petrochemical industry are also rapidly developing industries.

Agriculture In China

China is the biggest producer of agricultural products in the world. Just over 15% of the land is suitable for agricultural production. Around 300 million people work on this farmland. The main products are rice, wheat potatoes, tea, sorghum, peanuts, millet, barley and pork.. China is one of the worlds leading producers of all the products.Other important products include cottons and other fibres, fish, fruit and oilseed.. There is a vibrant meat trade most of which is exported to Hong Kong.

British Investment Opportunities In China

Current British investment in China is concentrated in the fields of retail, energy, telecommunications, construction- the , establishment of infrastructure and financial services. The UK’s leading exports to China are components for electronic and mechanical equipment, Precision instruments – medical, optical, technical and photographic, communications and Information technology , pharmaceuticals, metals, ores plastics and chemicals.

Expertise Needed

China currently needs expertise in energy, water chemicals, health care. ICT construction, auto motives and aerospace.

China International Status

China is an active member of several economic councils including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and the Asian Development Bank. It is also a member of the World Trade Organisation and a full time member of the United National Security Council. In respect of the latter it has at times forced the current Bush administration to ameliorate its antagonistic attitude to states with whom it has issues.

China Internal Politics

The Chinese Government still exercises absolute control over the nations politics. It regards political opponents as a threat to the country’s stability – a view seemingly more widely held by its critics in the West in recent years! – and it is under constant pressure to relax its control of the press and media. However, the relaxation of foreign travel restrictions for its nationals in 2005 is an indication that it will in its own time become more liberal.

China The Ultimate Business Challenge & Greatest Opportunity

Please first see China’s Economy Today (see above)

The sheer size of China’s population which is more than four greater than the the United States combined with it consistently high economic growth over the last three decades makes it one of the worlds most attractive economies to trade with.

For three decades after the end of WW2 China was a very insular society in economic and international political terms but those days are long gone. It is now a major force in both respects and ultimately may have as much if not more clout than the United States.

Inward investment in China is welcome and in some areas the expertise of other countries is an integral requirement if its economic growth is to be sustained. However China is not an open door to speculators who are minded to line their pockets and disregard the culture and politics of their society. There are rules and the ethos of when in Rome do as the Roman do has to be strictly adhered to. It is not possible to turn up at Beijing Airport and expect to open up a business immediately the day after arriving. There are procedures and formalities which can seem overwhelming and take a great deal of time to go through.

It is not possible to be either open a business in China let alone succeed unless you have some understanding of the culture from which the formalities are derived. A simple example of this is the expectancy of courtesy when you are offered someones business card. You should receive it with two hands and look at it. You are expected to reciprocate the gesture with a card which has a nom de plume in Chinese that you have chosen. If you do not respond in these ways you will have alienated your contact as you will have been rude. Incidentally tendering a business card not specifically tailored for use in China can also result in you being ridiculed as it is may also be seen as you being immature or insincere. There are other many other rules – if a visiting businessman is invited to shake hands with a Chinese host any subsequent contact is generally seen as inappropriate.

Anyone wishing to develop business relations within China will need to carry out a great deal of research before attempting to do so. In Britain the Foreign & Commonwealth office is a good source of advice and the equivalent ministry’s in other western countries should be approached. Local Chinese Trade Missions are also a good source of information.

There are also other organisations which specialise in offering advice on etiquette from how to make an initial approach to a Chinese Company through to visa applications, and meeting your prospective client or partner. Please see the links below:

China Business Culture

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office



illustration: Myths & Legends of China, 1922, by E.T.C. Werner

The thoughts of Confucius (551 – 479BC) have influenced Chinese Culture since the 2nd century AD when they were recognised by the Han Dynasty.

His philosophies advocated that individuals and rulers live by a moral code to ensure that they acted responsibly and with sincerity. He believed that these principals strengthened relationships and underpinned a just society. Today there are several temples in China dedicated to him.

– See more at:



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