Under the influence of the epidemic in 2020, the performance of foreign trade exports is attracting attention. China’s imports and exports of goods totaled 3.21557 trillion yuan last year, up 1.9 percent from the previous year, the data showed. Among them, exports amounted to 17,932.6 billion yuan, up by 4.0%; Imports will reach 14.2231 trillion yuan, down 0.7%.
From the perspective of each city, the growth rate of different cities is very different. The reporter of China Business News sorted out the foreign trade data of each major city and found that in 2020, the top ten cities in total volume of foreign trade are Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, Suzhou, Dongguan, Ningbo, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Chengdu and Xiamen. In terms of growth rate, Chengdu is the most prominent city in the top 10. If expanded to the top 20, the growth rate of key cities in central and western China, including Chongqing and Zhengzhou, is also outstanding.
According to the statistics of China Business News, in 2020, the total import and export volume of foreign trade in 16 cities exceeded 500 billion yuan, 9 cities exceeded 700 billion yuan, and 5 cities exceeded one trillion yuan, namely Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, Suzhou and Dongguan, among which Shanghai and Shenzhen exceeded 3 trillion yuan.
Shanghai Statistical Bulletin in 2020 shows that the total volume of imports and exports of goods in Shanghai in the whole year is 3,482,847 billion yuan, up 2.3% over the previous year. Of this, imports were 2.10311 trillion yuan, up 3.8%; Exports reached 1.372536 trillion yuan, the same as the previous year.
In terms of main trade products, in 2020, Shanghai’s export of mechanical and electrical products reached 947.761 billion yuan, up by 0.1% over the same period of the previous year, while imports reached 1,045.705 billion yuan, up by 7.7%. Exports of new and high technology products reached 578.206 billion yuan, up 2.4%, while imports reached 693.615 billion yuan, up 9.8%.
In 2020, the total volume of Shenzhen’s foreign trade exceeded 3 trillion yuan for the first time. According to the statistics of Shenzhen Customs, the total import and export volume of the city in 2020 is 3,050.25 billion yuan, with a year-on-year growth of 2.4%. It is worth noting that Shenzhen’s total export volume reached 1,697.27 billion yuan, topping the list among major cities.
Beijing and Suzhou were in the 2 trillion yuan echelon, with 2,321.59 billion yuan and 2223.3 billion yuan respectively. Among them, the import and export of Beijing’s foreign trade, import accounted for the majority, the export is only 465.49 billion yuan, accounting for only 20% of the total foreign trade, the total export ranks the seventh among the major cities.
By contrast, Suzhou, the fourth largest city in terms of total exports, was the third largest, with 1,288.9 billion yuan, and was only a fraction behind Shanghai in second place.
In terms of regional distribution, all the top 10 cities except Chengdu are from the eastern coastal region, with three cities each in the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, two in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and Xiamen in the southern Fujian Delta. In terms of city type, the top 10 cities include three municipalities directly under the central government, five sub-provincial cities, and Suzhou and Dongguan, two of the most export-oriented manufacturing cities.
From the growth point of view, in the top ten foreign trade cities, Chengdu led the way with a growth rate of 22.4%. Data show that in 2020, Chengdu’s total import and export volume reached 715.42 billion yuan, up 22.4% year on year. Of this, exports totaled 410.68 billion yuan, up 23.7%; Imports totaled 304.74 billion yuan, up 20.7%.
According to Chengdu Customs, there will be three highlights in Chengdu’s foreign trade in 2020: First, the import and export value of processing trade will reach 503.16 billion yuan, accounting for more than 70% of Chengdu’s foreign trade, with the proportion rising to 70.3% from 68.4% in 2019; Second, products of “residence economy” grew rapidly. For example, the export of household appliances increased by 188.3 percent, among which the export of refrigerators and washing machines increased by 536 percent and 269.8 percent respectively. Third, the export of some high value-added and high-tech goods grew rapidly, such as liquid crystal display panels, electric passenger vehicles, centrifuges and other export growth rates were all higher than the 23.7% overall export growth rate of Chengdu.
He Kaifeng, deputy director of the Economic Operation Bureau of Chengdu High-tech Zone (Enterprise Service Bureau), told China Business News that the rapid growth of Chengdu’s foreign trade exports is related to the product and industrial structure. Chengdu’s foreign trade exports, electronic information products account for a high proportion. Last year, because of the epidemic, everyone worked at home, and the products of “house economy”, especially electronic products, were used more. The sales of terminal products were very good and there was a great demand. So last year Intel and other electronic leading enterprises, are growing against the trend.
On the other hand, from the perspective of regional distribution, the import and export of foreign trade in major cities in central and western China, including Chengdu, generally achieved rapid growth. For example, when expanded to the top 20, Chongqing ranked 11th in terms of total import and export volume, with a growth rate of 12.5%, Zhengzhou up 19.7%, and Xi ‘an up 7.2%.
Ding Changfa, associate professor of the Department of Economics of Xiamen University, analyzed the reporter of China Business News. In recent years, as the comprehensive cost of land and labor rises in the developed coastal areas, a large number of industries are transferred to the central and western regions, and the central cities with the concentration of labor and other factor resources in the central and western regions have become the focus of industrial layout. In particular, populous provinces such as Henan and Sichuan have sufficient labor force, their overall factor costs are far lower than those in the developed eastern coastal areas, and their business environment has improved significantly, attracting many foreign and export-oriented enterprises.
At the same time, with the construction of “One Belt And One Road”, the opening of China-Europe freight train and the development of airport economy of central cities in central and western China, including Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Chongqing and other central cities in central and western China, they have gradually developed into new highlands of opening up in inland areas.
Media statistics show that in 2020, Xi ‘an, Chongqing, Chengdu, Zhengzhou and Urumqi, the five hub cities of China-Europe freight trains, will have a total operation volume of 10,895, accounting for 87.86% of the total operation volume, making them the most important cities for China-Europe freight trains in China.
Urban economy outward orientation is also called foreign trade dependence. It refers to the proportion of the total foreign trade of a city or region in GDP, which reflects the close degree of connection between a regional economy and the international economy.
From the perspective of the foreign trade dependence degree of the top 20 cities with total foreign trade volume, there are 5 cities that exceed 100%, namely Dongguan, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiamen and Jinhua. Among them, Dongguan, the “world factory”, leads the country with 137.9% dependence on foreign trade.
After the reform and opening up, with the development of processing and export trade, Dongguan has gradually developed into one of the world’s largest manufacturing bases, forming a modern industrial system with eight pillar industries, namely electronic information, electrical machinery, textile and clothing, furniture, toys, paper and paper products, food and beverage, and chemical industry.
Last year, however, Dongguan’s dependence on foreign trade was reduced, and its total export volume fell by 3.8%. Peng Peng, executive chairman of Guangdong Institute of System Reform, analyzed the first business reporter that the decline in Dongguan’s foreign trade exports was not only greatly affected by the epidemic, but also due to the industrial structure. In general, among the export industries in Dongguan, many traditional industries have strong substitutability, and many industries have been transferred to Southeast Asia and other places.
Foreign trade big city suzhou foreign trade dependence degree also exceeded 110%. In the middle and late 1990s, a large number of foreign investment entered Suzhou, a famous cultural city adjacent to Shanghai, and Suzhou’s economy began to take off. Especially in the years after 2001, Suzhou became the most dazzling star city in China.
Jinhua’s performance is also very bright. At present, Jinhua’s outward orientation has reached 103.5%. In 2020, the growth rate of Jinhua’s import and export will reach 15.3%. Among them, epidemic prevention materials and “house economy” commodities play an obvious role in driving export. In 2020, Jinhua exported 5.56 billion masks, driving the growth of Jinhua’s export by about 1.7 percent. Drived by the “residence economy”, the export of Jinhua sporting goods and equipment, household appliances, lamps and lighting devices increased by 86.3%, 47.3% and 58.0% respectively.
Table: Data of Top 20 Cities in Total Foreign Trade (Source: China Business News, sorted according to public data)