This article provides an overview of Zhejiang 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: 105,500 sq km
- Population (2019): 58.5 million
- Provincial capital: Hangzhou
- Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (2019): RMB 6,235.2 billion
- GDP per capita (2019): RMB 107,624
Zhejiang province in southeastern China is one of the smallest province-level political units of China. It is, however, one of the most densely populated and affluent provinces in China. A coastal province, it is bounded by the East China Sea to the east, by the provinces of Fujian to the south, Jiangxi to the southwest, Anhui to the west, and Jiangsu to the north, and by Shanghai municipality to the northeast. Hangzhou is its provincial capital and other major cities in Zhejiang include Ningbo, Wenzhou, Shaoxing, Taizhou and Jiaxing.
Zhejiang saw its GDP grow 3.6 percent year-on-year to more than 6.46 trillion yuan (US$1 trillion) in 2020. The province managed to stage a strong recovery after the COVID-19 epidemic was quickly contained across the country. Its GDP rebounded to year-on-year growth of 0.5 percent in the first half of 2020. Zhejiang’s exports rose 9.1 percent year-on-year to nearly 2.52 trillion yuan in 2020. The figure accounted for 14 percent of the country’s total, compared to 13.4 percent in 2019. Its actual utilisation of foreign investment reached 15.8 billion dollars, an increase of 16.4 percent over 2019.
Zhejiang has a strong digital economy, powered by Alibaba and a host of small-and medium-sized enterprises. It’s digital economy is expected to reach four trillion yuan (US$588.23 billion) by 2022 and account for more than 55 percent of its GDP. The province’s digital economy surged 15.1 percent year-on-year during the first quarter on 2019. Its digital economy totalled 2.33 trillion yuan in 2018, accounting for 41.5 percent of the local economy.
Light industries play an important role in the province’s industrial sector. Manufactured products include garment and textiles, chemical fibre, leather products, wooden furniture, toys and household appliances, and paper. Many famous national brands such as Wahaha, Youngor and Auxgroup have emerged from Zhejiang. Since 2000, heavy industries such as electrical equipment and machinery, raw chemical materials and chemical products have also developed rapidly. The Hangzhou Bay area is an important IT industry base after Beijing and Shanghai and the province is also aiming at speeding up the development of other hi tech industries, in particular, biotechnology, medicine, new materials and related industries. In 2019, the added value of core industries reached RMB 622.9 billion, an 14.5 percent increase from 2018. It is notable that Zhejiang is home to many IT companies, namely Alibaba.
Foreign trade and investment
Zhejiang is one of the major export bases of China accounting for about 13.4 percent of China’s total exports in 2019. Major export markets include the European Union, United States, ASEAN, Japan and Russia. Exports to Hong Kong amounted to RMB 27.2 billion in 2019 or 1.2 percent of the total exports. Major export items included electrical and mechanical products, garments and textiles, and other high tech products. Major importing sources include ASEAN, EU, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and major import items included electrical and mechanical products, other high tech products, plastics in primary forms, farm products and iron ore. Hong Kong is the largest source of FDI in Zhejiang with Hong Kong investors signing 1,150 projects with a contracted investment amount of US$29.7 billion in 2018. Other major investors hailed from the Virgin Islands, Singapore, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Zhejiang’s capital, Hangzhou is a key tourist city, with one of China’s most beautiful sites, West Lake, being located in the heart of the city. Other natural wonders in Zhejiang include Mt. Yandang and Tiantai Mountain. The Lingyin Temple, also known as the Temple of Soul’s Retreat, is one of the ten most famous ancient Buddhist temples in China. Mount Putuo, an island in Zhoushan, Zhejiang, is one of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains, particularly oriented toward the Buddhist deity Guanyin, the goddess of mercy and compassion.
Singapore and Zhejiang
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore-Zhejiang economic collaboration remains strong and resilient. To date, there are over 1,400 Singapore projects in Zhejiang, and in the first three quarters of 2020, Singapore’s cumulative actual investments in Zhejiang reached US$7.39 billion, an increase of 11.5 percent year-on-year. On 22 December 2020, Singapore and Zhejiang agreed to deepen their collaboration in trade and connectivity, innovation exchanges, and sustainable urban management, during the 15th Singapore-Zhejiang Economic and Trade Council (SZETC) meeting. The focus is in line with China and Zhejiang’s development priorities in the digital economy, sustainability, and maintaining trade and connectivity with international markets; and supports Singapore’s efforts to be a Global-Asia node for technology, innovation and enterprise.