The answer to that question is directly related to the types of products you want to import from China.
In my eBook How to Import Products From China More Successfully I share my proven processes with my readers about how to find suppliers and how to select trendy and fashionable products.
The Three Economic Zones of China
China is currently divided into three main economic zones, which are:
The Coastal Zone
This zone occupies 14.3 percent of China’s total land mass, and its population accounts for 41.3 percent of the Chinese. Included in this zone are the 12 coastal provinces: Liaoning, Beijing, Tianjing, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and Guangxi.
This is economically and industrially the most developed belt in China and includes China’s most modern industries, especially steel, chemicals, engineering, and textiles.
In recent years, with the establishment of special economic zones in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou, Xiamen, and Hainan Provinces, as well as the gradual opening up of all coastal areas, economic and industrial development in this zone has rapidly expanded. As a result, it now monopolizes all of China’s foreign trade.
The Middle Zone
This zone occupies 29.4 percent of China’s total land mass. Included in this transitional zone are the following 9 provinces: Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Henan, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangxi. Like the coastal zone, the middle zone is located mostly in Eastern Monsoon China, with the exception of Inner Mongolia, which belongs to the eastern part of Northwest Arid China.
In economic and industrial development, this zone is less developed than the coastal zone but much more developed than the third zone, the western zone. The total production value of heavy industry in this zone has surpassed that of light industry.
The Western Zone
The third and least developed zone occupies 56.3 percent of China’s total land mass. Included in this vast zone are following 9 provinces: Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, and Tibet.
Economically and industrially, this is the least developed zone in China (with the exception of Sichuan province), and it contains only a small portion of China’s modern industries, mostly heavy industry.
China’s Top Ten Export Provinces
It is very probable that you will be interested in the products that come from one of China’s top ten Export Provinces. They are:
China’s Top Ten Export Cities
Continuing to break down China’s industrial make up, we next look at China’s top ten export cities with their export rankings are:
I have marked the most important cities in yellow and red for you. This should make it very easy for you to concentrate on these areas first. They are also the cities where most of the important Trade Fairs are held.
Hong Kong, as a Special Administered Region (SAR), must be included to give you a comprehensive list. Although Hong Kong is part of China, it is very westernized and prices are much higher than in the rest of China. It is unlikely that you will have products manufactured here but you may need the services of companies in the city. Hong Kong is an excellent source of services that bridge the Far East and West. Also, there are many trade companies in Hong Kong that source products in China that you might be interested in.
From Hong Kong, located in the Pearl River Delta, you can easily reach Shenzhen, Shunde (Foshan), Zhongshan, Dongguan, Zhuhai, and Guangzhou by ferry or train.
From Shanghai located in the Yangtze River Delta, you can easily reach Suzhou, Taizhou, Ningbo, Hangzhou, and Wenzhou by plane or car.
Interactive Map of China
Here is a helpful link to an interactive map of China that allows you to open up maps that are more detailed by clicking on the different province’s names. In some cases, you can access the street maps of the more important cities.
Most people are not aware of the great distances that need to be covered when traveling in China. Knowing the location of each city will help you to prepare your a business trip to China that goes smoothly.
Most business travelers will enter China through either Hong Kong or Shanghai. From these gateway cities, you can then proceed to the other great cities I mentioned.
Chapter 9 of this eBook provides very detailed information about the major Chinese Trade Fairs. A decision to attend one or more of the fairs will influence your travel planning. Unless you have pressing business at a factory, the Trade Fairs and weather conditions should be part of your travel planning.