This article provides an overview of Sichuan for those keen on exploring the possibility of living and working there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- Land area: 488,000 sq km
- Population (2015): 82,040,000
- Provincial capital: Chengdu
- Gross domestic product (GDP) (2015): 3,005.3 billion RMB
- GDP per capita (2015): 36,775 RMB
- Major cities: Chengdu, Mianyang, Zigong, Leshan, Panzhihua, Deyang, Yibin
Sichuan province is located in the upper Yangtze River valley in the southwestern part of the China. It is bordered by the provinces of Gansu and Shanxi to the north, the territory of Chongqing municipality to the east, the provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan to the south, the Tibet Autonomous Region to the west, and the province of Qinghai to the northwest. The capital, Chengdu, is located near the centre of the province.
Data Source: Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Sichuan province captured the sixth spot in terms of GDP in 2016 after Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang and Henan. One of China’s major agricultural production bases, Sichuan’s major products include rice, wheat and rapeseed, and it is also western China’s largest base for pork production. Sichuan is a major industrial centre for heavy industries like coal, energy, iron and steel. Its light industries include building materials, as well as wood, food and silk processing.
Chengdu: Provincial Capital
Chengdu, the provincial capital, attracts local and foreign investments, tourists, businesses and new industries. With over 10 million inhabitants, Chengdu is one of China’s largest cities. It is also an integral part of the Sichuan economy, as it is responsible for an estimated 30 percent of Sichuan’s GDP. Chengdu’s green environment, improving infrastructure and growing subway network have helped to attract much business to bolster its traditional commercial and tourism industries. Chengdu captured the top spot in a 2017 Milken Institute ranking of the country’s best-performing big cities. The analysis found that Chengdu had been benefiting from the central government-led policy push since the early 2000s to steer greater investment to interior regions, and that the province had varied and high-value-added industries, a high-quality labour market, and lower costs than megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
While Sichuan is strong in agriculture, its industrial activities are said to have expanded rapidly in the last decade. In 2015, the secondary sector accounted for 44.1 percent of its GDP, up from 36.5 percent in 2000. Sichuan’s production of television sets, natural gas, electricity, steel, cement, Chinese medicine, wine and chemical fibre is among the largest in western China. Its manufacturing of telecommunications equipment, computer and other electronic equipment has also continued to increase rapidly. Sichuan’s share in gross industrial output increased from 5.5 percent in 2010 to 10.2 percent in 2015. With a fast-growing high-tech industry, high-tech products accounted for 46 percent of Sichuan’s total trade in value terms in 2015.
Foreign trade & foreign investment
Sichuan’s foreign trade has grown strongly in the past few years, and it is the leading export base in the western China. Major exports include computer products, integrated circuits, jewellery, garment, footwear and steel. As a result of increased foreign investment in recent years, foreign trade conducted by foreign investment enterprises has risen. Sichuan has attracted one of the highest foreign direct investments among all the western provinces in recent years. Prominent multinational companies such as Intel**, Onsun, Sony, UPS, Sanyo and Kingfisher have invested in Sichuan, especially in Chengdu. By the end of 2015, 219 of the world’s largest 500 overseas companies had invested in Sichuan.
Sichuan has the biggest consumer market in western China, with its annual per capita disposal income of urban households at RMB 26,205 in 2015. Since China’s liberalisation of the retail and wholesale distribution sector, the expansion of foreign retail enterprises into Sichuan has sped up in recent years. Major foreign retail enterprises include Metro from Germany, Carrefour from France, Itoyokado from Japan, and Parkson from Malaysia.
The terrain and relief of the province descend from west to east in a bowl shape, contributing to a varied natural environment and unique landscape that make the province a highly popular travel destination. Sichuan has many attractions and is particularly famous for the giant panda and the Jiuzhaigou Valley. Chengdu is a historical and cultural city that is home to the Memorial Temple of Zhuge Liang, Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Sanxingdui Museum and the Kuanzhai Alley. Jiuzhaigou is renowned as a national geopark because of its geological relics, calcified pools, flows and waterfall as well as forest resources.
Sichuan is the birthplace of many Chinese dishes that are world-famous. Sichuan cuisine is known for its deep and rich flavours, especially the taste of Sichuan pepper, which is rare in other regional cuisines. Though most famous for its hot and spicy flavour, Sichuan food may also be sweet and sour. The cuisine is also known for its variety of seasonings used.
Singapore & Sichuan
The Singapore-Sichuan Trade and Investment Committee is a bilateral economic framework aimed at strengthening Singapore’s economic relations with Sichuan Province. It was formed in May 1996 and comprises public and private sector members from Singapore and Sichuan. With the goal of strengthening Singapore’s economic relations with Sichuan province, the committee has evolved from pursuing purely economic interests to include cultural, educational and other meaningful exchanges.
In 2010, Singapore and Sichuan took their relationship to the next level by agreeing to collaborate on the Singapore-Sichuan High-Tech Innovation Park. Located in the Tianfu New Area, the mixed-use development will provide business opportunities for retail and hospitality outfits, and innovative and knowledge-based enterprises spanning various sectors.