November 7, 2020 Statistics 291

China's Top Exports

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from the People’s Republic during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.

These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$1.7 trillion or 68% by value for all products exported from China during 2019.

In macroeconomic terms, China’s total exported goods represent 9.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($27.309 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 9.1% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2019 compares to 9.9% for 2018. This seems to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for China’s total economic performance albeit based on short timeframe.

Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. China’s average unemployment rate was 3.8% for 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Rank
Product
2019 Value
Change
1
Phone system devices including smartphones
$224,069,819,000
-6.80%
2
Computers, optical readers
$148,463,426,000
-3.70%
3
Integrated circuits/microassemblies
$102,187,884,000
0.207
4
Processed petroleum oils
$38,345,208,000
0.073
5
Solar power diodes/semi-conductors
$34,599,090,000
0.191
6
Automobile parts/accessories
$33,625,803,000
-3.50%
7
Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs
$33,197,800,000
0.085
8
Computer parts, accessories
$32,435,243,000
-28.40%
9
Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys
$31,342,495,000
0.231
10
TV receivers/monitors/projectors
$31,214,343,000
-6.70%
11
Miscellaneous furniture
$27,784,634,000
-1.10%
12
Electrical converters/power units
$27,711,364,000
0.038
13
Cases, handbags, wallets
$27,366,964,000
-0.10%
14
Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)
$26,440,993,000
0.019
15
Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools
$23,841,330,000
-7.40%
16
Insulated wire/cable
$22,383,730,000
-4.90%
17
Electric water heaters, hair dryers
$21,846,389,000
0.035
18
Miscellaneous plastic items
$21,439,700,000
0.099
19
Women’s clothing (not knit or crochet)
$21,302,500,000
-7.30%
20
Footwear (rubber or plastic)
$20,594,733,000
0.03
21
Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)
$18,922,634,000
0.044
22
Electric storage batteries
$16,888,731,000
0.142
23
Microphones/headphones/amps
$16,632,391,000
0.017
24
Air or vacuum pumps
$16,344,121,000
0.063
25
Printing machinery
$16,273,740,000
-7.90%
26
Lower-voltage switches, fuses
$16,269,415,000
0.011
27
Air conditioners
$16,243,211,000
-1.30%
28
Taps, valves, similar appliances
$16,237,582,000
-2.30%
29
Cruise/cargo ships, barges
$15,474,854,000
-8.10%
30
Electrical machinery
$15,290,871,000
0.158
31
Synthetic yarn woven fabrics
$15,136,156,000
0.116
32
Rubber tires (new)
$14,804,334,000
-2%
33
Printed circuits
$14,653,143,000
-4%
34
TV/radio/radar device parts
$13,632,588,000
0.035
35
Footwear (textile)
$13,438,035,000
-2.80%
36
Miscellaneous iron and steel structures
$13,373,224,000
0.164
37
Jewelry
$13,294,789,000
-0.30%
38
Women’s clothing (knit or crochet)
$13,263,151,000
-9.10%
39
Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)
$12,777,154,000
-7.50%
40
Men’s suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)
$11,747,993,000
-5.10%
41
Table games, bowling equipment
$11,531,136,000
-13.80%
42
Electric motors, generators
$11,442,450,000
-3.40%
43
Sports equipment
$11,238,854,000
0.085
44
Pneumatic hand tool
$11,064,276,000
0.026
45
Refrigerators, freezers
$10,401,040,000
0.032
46
Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry
$10,250,538,000
0.11
47
Base metal mountings, fittings
$10,187,409,000
0.064
48
Plastic packing goods, lids, caps
$9,829,905,000
0.063
49
Other than warp-knit fabrics
$9,785,852,000
0.013
50
TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras
$9,777,269,000
-9%
51
Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels
$9,556,390,000
0.058
52
Mattresses, quilts
$9,549,630,000
0.005
53
Miscellaneous iron or steel items
$9,330,491,000
0.04
54
Footwear (leather)
$9,310,686,000
0.026
55
Machinery parts
$9,257,350,000
0.014
56
Centrifuges, filters and purifiers
$8,794,458,000
0.282
57
Cars
$8,637,814,000
0.001
58
Heterocyclics, nucleic acids
$8,535,584,000
-0.60%
59
Iron and steel tables, household items
$8,354,534,000
0.159
60
Liquid pumps and elevators
$8,222,397,000
0.039
61
Linens
$8,129,665,000
-4.40%
62
Filament/discharge lamps
$8,067,677,000
-4.40%
63
Ceramic sinks, washbasins, baths
$7,984,884,000
0.358
64
Miscellaneous machinery
$7,879,018,000
0.184
65
Flat-rolled other alloy steel products
$7,707,534,000
-16.60%
66
Motorcycles
$7,651,360,000
0.012
67
Transmission shafts, gears, clutches
$7,600,894,000
-2.50%
68
Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks
$7,590,445,000
0.231
69
Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)
$7,421,497,000
0.115
70
T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)
$7,414,910,000
-7.40%
71
Women’s coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)
$7,172,757,000
-12.10%
72
Carnival items, magic tricks
$7,142,449,000
0.195
73
Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips
$7,001,310,000
0.076
74
Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns
$6,809,000,000
0.06
75
Electromechanic domestic appliances
$6,770,675,000
0.131
76
Woven cotton fabrics
$6,707,831,000
-11.10%
77
Specially designed containers
$6,684,858,000
-35.90%
78
Polyacetal/ether/carbonates
$6,569,232,000
-6.50%
79
Porcelain tableware, kitchenware
$6,519,214,000
0.115
80
Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers
$6,443,172,000
-0.20%
81
Aluminum plates, sheets, strips
$6,325,932,000
-11.70%
82
Motorcycle parts/accessories
$6,323,482,000
0.08
83
Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)
$6,215,943,000
0.008
84
Plastic tile or roll coverings
$6,073,753,000
0.084
85
Piston engine parts
$5,717,549,000
-4.60%
86
Synthetic filament yarn
$5,663,384,000
0.018
87
Iron or steel tubes, pipes
$5,626,671,000
0.036
88
Men’s coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)
$5,526,092,000
-11.60%
89
Plastics-impregnated textile fabrics
$5,417,486,000
-1.20%
90
Women’s underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)
$5,376,693,000
-0.80%
91
Electric motor parts
$5,358,167,000
0.118
92
Paper containers, cellulose wadding
$5,151,617,000
0.136
93
Ball, roller bearings
$5,131,980,000
-8.20%
94
Vacuum cleaners
$5,112,780,000
0.015
95
Moulding boxes/base
$5,061,910,000
0.055
96
Rubber/plastic article making machines
$5,014,077,000
0.149
97
Men’s suits,trousers (knit or crochet)
$5,003,896,000
-14.30%
98
Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)
$4,939,389,000
0.237
99
Lifting/loading machinery
$4,935,142,000
0.046
100
Furskin clothing and accessories
$4,904,017,000
0.185

Located in East Asia near key trading partners including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India and Singapore, the People’s Republic of China shipped US$2.499 trillion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 9.9% gain since 2015 and a modest 0.2% increase from 2018 to 2019.

China’s exported goods totaled $1.396 trillion during the first 7 months of 2020. Assuming an annualized $2.393 trillion in exports for all 2020, China is on track for an estimated -4.2% drop in value for its shipments from 2019 to 2020.

Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Chinese yuan has depreciated by -10.9% against the US dollar since 2015 and retreated by -4.4% from 2019 to 2019. China’s weaker local currency make Chinese exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive.

The latest available country-specific data shows that 60.2% of products exported from China were bought by importers in: the United States (16.8% of the global total), Hong Kong (11.2%), Japan (5.7%), South Korea (4.4%), Vietnam (3.9%), Germany (3.2%), India (3.0%), Netherlands (3%), United Kingdom (2.5%), Taiwan (2.2%), Singapore (also 2.2%) and Malaysia (2.1%).

Applying a continental lens, about half (49%) of Chinese exports by value in 2019 were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 20.1% were sold to North American importers. China shipped another 19.9% worth to clients in Europe. Smaller percentages of China’s total exported goods arrived in Africa (4.5%), Latin America (4.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Oceania (2.3%) led by Australia and New Zealand.

Given China’s population of 1.4 billion people, its total $2.499 trillion in 2019 exported products translates to about $1,800 for every resident in the East Asian economic powerhouse.

Overall, China posted a $429.6 billion trade surplus in 2019 up by 18.6% from $359.2 billion in black ink during 2018 but down by -27.7% from $593.9 billion five years earlier in 2015.

The following types of Chinese product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$226.7 billion (Down by -0.4% since 2018)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $174.2 billion (Up by 21.9%)
  3. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $96 billion (Up by 3.8%)
  4. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $67.8 billion (Down by -3.4%)
  5. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $62.3 billion (Down by -7.4%)
  6. Toys, games: $60.3 billion (Up by 10.3%)
  7. Articles of iron or steel: $59.7 billion (Up by 8.9%)
  8. Footwear: $42.2 billion (Down by -0.7%)
  9. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $27.4 billion (Up by 0.3%)
  10. Leather/animal gut articles: $25.6 billion (Down by -3%)

China has highly positive net exports in the international trade of machinery including computers. In turn, these cashflows indicate China’s strong competitive advantages under the machinery-related category.

Below are exports from China that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country China’s goods trail Chinese importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$296.6 billion (Down by -1.5% since 2018)
  2. Ores, slag, ash: -$161.8 billion (Up by 20.1%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: -$39.7 billion (Down by -5.1%)
  4. Oil seeds: -$37.3 billion (Down by -8.3%)
  5. Copper: -$34 billion (Down by -16.4%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$25.7 billion (Down by -17.4%)
  7. Pharmaceuticals: -$24.4 billion (Up by 28.4%)
  8. Woodpulp: -$19.1 billion (Down by -20%)
  9. Meat: -$18 billion (Up by 77.3%)
  10. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$15.5 billion (Down by -40.6%)

China has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products particularly crude oil, petroleum gas and coal.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate China’s competitive disadvantages in the international mineral fuels-related market, but also represent key opportunities for China to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.

Chinese Export Companies

China placed about 150 corporations on the Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Chinese export companies that Forbes included:

  • PetroChina (oil, gas)
  • Sinopec-China Petroleum (oil, gas)
  • SAIC Motor (cars, trucks)
  • Dongfeng Motor Group (cars, trucks)
  • BYD (cars, trucks)
  • Gree Electric Appliances (household appliances)
  • Midea Group Co. Ltd. (household appliances)
  • Tsingtao Brewery (beverages)
  • Sinopharm Group (pharmaceuticals)
  • Aluminum Corporation of China (aluminum)
  • Dongfang Electric (electrical equipment)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of leading Chinese exporters:

  • APLL (beddings, clothing)
  • UPS SCS China (chairs, beddings)
  • Winners Products Engineering (cooking appliances, sheets, charcoal)
  • Maersk Logistics China (footwear, bedding, clothing)
  • Carven Industries (furniture, building stone)
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