Interested in Importing from China? Learn the Basic Geography of China
China Geography

Interested in Import from China? Learn the Basic Geography

We all know that China is a big nation. Due to its size, it can be a daunting task when you’re trying to find the exact location of a supplier’s city while planning to import from in China.In this article, I will discuss the basic geography of China. The good news is that China can be broken down into three regions for importers!

These regions include: Bohai Economic Rim, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta. We shall take a look at each of these in this article to make importing from China hassle-free.

Your suppliers will be located in any of the regions listed above. Understanding these regions will help you to have an idea about your supplier’s location and such knowledge will foster your relationship with them.

But before we go on, why is it important to know the geography of China as an importer?

Benefits of Understanding the Geography of China

  • Reduced Costs

By understanding the geography of China, you’ll be able to source for suppliers that are within close proximity. This helps to save cost on freights since you will be able to arrange to have your shipments combined.

  • Easier Transportation

When your suppliers are within close proximity, you can easily visit them. You can just stay in one city and visit your suppliers. In fact, some suppliers can save you the stress of figuring out the Chinese bus system by picking you up with a private vehicle.

  • Better Quality Products

Different industries are found in specific regions in China. A lot of knowledge trading, vendor sharing and competition exist in regions that specialize in particular products.

To understand the geography of China, we’ll discuss the following:

  • Chinese province
  • Top exporting provinces in China within January to August, 2016, and
  • Major importing regions in China

Chinese Province

China has 23 provinces that comprise 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities and 2 special administrative regions.

#1.China's Autonomous Regions

The Chinese autonomous regions are referred to as the provincial level administrative divisions of China. Each has its own local government with more legislative rights. They include:Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Tibet (Xizang) and Xinjiang.

Geography of China
Inner Mongolia and Ningxia Hui Region
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

#2.China's Municipalities

China’s municipalities are under the administration of central government. Each has the same political, economic as well as jurisdictional rights as a province. They include Shanghai and Tianjin.

Beijing and Chongqing
Shanghai and Tianjin

#3.China's Special Administrative Regions

Hongkong and Macao

Special Administrative Regions (SAR) are designed to solve Hong Kong and Macao issues. SAR is in a pattern whereby the socialist and capitalist systems and ideologies coexist. These regions include Hong Kong and Macao (Macau).

Top Exporting Provinces in China Within January to August, 2016

1.Guandong ($3783 billion)

Guangdong Province

Guangdong’s economy can be compared to that of many countries in 2014 with a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $1104.05 million. This province has been the largest province by GDP since 1989 in Mainland China. When compared with country subdivisions in dollar terms, its GDP is larger than of all except country subdivisions namely: England, California, Texas, New York and Tokyo.

The Pearl Delta is located in Guangdong.

2.Jiangsu($2070 billion)

Jiangsu Province

Jiangsu has the highest GDP per capita when compared with all Chinese provinces. It has an extensive irrigation system that supports its agricultural practice that’s based on rice, wheat, maize and sorghum. It also deals in cash crops such as cotton, soybeans, rapeseed, hemp, peanuts, and tea. The province has coal, petroleum and natural gas deposits.

Yangtze River Delta is found in this province.

3.Shanghai($1179 billion)

This municipality is the commercial and financial center of mainland China. It ranks 16th in the 2016 edition of the Global Financial Centers Index that was published by the Z/YenGroup and Qatar Financial Centre Authority.

In 2013, the municipality launched China (Shanghai) Pilot Free-Trade Zone created a preferential environment for foreign investment. This province houses Yangtze River Delta.

4.Zhejiang($1777 billion)

Zhejiang Province

Zhejiang is traditionally referred to as the “Land of Fish and Rice.” Its main crop is rice, followed by wheat. The major cash crops in this province include jute, cotton and tea. The towns in the province are reputed for handicraft production of silk. Yangtze River Delta is found in this province.

5.Shandong($992 billion)

Shandong Province

The province produces cotton, wheat, sorghum, maize and precious metals such as gold and diamonds. It also has one of the biggest deposits of sapphire in the world. It has an extensive deposit of petroleum. The province also produces bromine from underground wells and salt from sea water.

Shandong is the largest exporter of agricultural products in China. Its economic development focuses on large enterprises that have known brand names. Shandong Peninsula is found in this province.

Major Importing Regions Of China 

There are 3 major importing regions in China. These include Bohai Economic Rim, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta.

  • BohaiEconomic Rim (Tianjin Port, Dalian Port, Qingdao Port)

This region surrounds Beijing and Tianjin. It includes other areas in Hebei, Liaoning and Shandong that surrounds the Bohai Sea. The region has experienced major changes in economic and infrastructures.

Bohai Economic Rim is involved in heavy industries and manufacturing. Tianjin is involved in aviation, logistics and shipping. In addition to these industries, Beijing also specializes in petrochemical, education and R&D industries.

Petroleum and natural gas deposits have been discovered in Bo Hai in recent decades.

  • Yangtze River Delta(Shanghai Port, Ningbo Port)

Yangtze River Delta is also known as Yangtze Delta, YRD, Yangzi Jiang Delta, Changjiang Delta, River Chang Delta, Lake Tai Region or the Golden Triangle of the Yangtze. It comprises Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province and northern Zhejiang province of China. This region has over 140 million people. The region produces grain, cotton, tea and hemp due to its fertile soil.

  • PearlRiver delta (Guangzhou Port, Shenzhen Port)

Pearl River Delta (PRD) surrounds Pearl River estuary where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea. It is the economic hub of China and often referred to as an emerging megacity. The nine largest cities of the region had a total population of 57.15 million at the end of 2013. This is about 53.69% of the provincial population.

PRD is the world’s workshop as well as a major manufacturing hub for electronic products, textiles, toys, garments and plastic products. The region accounts for about 33.3% of China’s trade value. Private-owned enterprises are playing a key role in the region’s economic growth.


You may feel discouraged and intimidated when you look at the map of China and come across lots of city names. However, by understanding these four key regions, you will be able to easily envision the Chinese geography.

Did you find this article useful? Have you transacted with any supplier in any of these regions. We’ll love to learn from your experience through the comment section below. Kindly share this article with your friends and loved ones.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: