This article provides an overview of China 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.
- Official Name: People’s Republic of China (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo)
- Capital: Beijing
- Population (2019): 1,400,050,000
- Chief of State: President Xi Jinping (since 14 March 2013)
- Head of Government: Premier Li Keqiang (since 18 March 2013)
- Government: Communist state
- Currency: Renminbi yuan (RMB)
In 2019, China’s population reached 1.4 billion. Around 16.8 percent of the population were between the ages 0-14 years; 70.6 percent between 15-64 years; and 12.6 percent were 65 years and above.
In 2019, the population grew by 3.34 percent. It had a birth rate of 10.48 per 1,000 population and a death rate of 7.14 per 1,000 population. The sex ratio for the total population was 1.0446 males to one female.
In 2019, the urban population made up 60.6 percent of the total population. The population of the major urban areas was as follows: Shanghai (21.44 million), Beijing (18.65 million), Chongqing (20.87 million), and Tianjin (13.04 million).
China is a multi-ethnic nation with 56 ethnic groups. The largest ethnic group in China is Han Chinese.
The market reforms initiated in 1978 have transformed China from being centrally planned to a market-based economy. It has seen rapid economic growth with GDP (gross domestic product) growth averaging 10 percent per year. Today, it is the second-largest economy in the world and is increasingly playing an influential role in the global economy.
COVID-19 had a huge impact on the world’s economy in 2020. China took solid steps to stabilise its employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and market expectations, and fully safeguard residential employment, people’s livelihood, market entities, food and energy security, stability of industrial and supply chains and operations at grassroots levels. As a result, China’s economy recovered steadily, and the main goals and tasks of economic and social development were accomplished better than expectation. Although the year-on-year GDP for the first quarter went down by 6.8 percent, it rose by 3.2 percent for the second quarter, 4.9 percent for the third quarter and 6.5 percent for the fourth quarter. By industries, the value added of the primary industry was 7,775.4 billion yuan, up by 3.0 percent. The value added of the secondary industry was 38,425.5 billion yuan, up by 2.6 percent and that of the tertiary industry was 55,397.7 billion yuan, up by 2.1 percent.
In 2013, President Xi Jinping unveiled China’s ambitious infrastructure and economic development strategy known Belt and Road Initiative BRI. China is spending around US$150 billion a year to connect more than 60 countries that have signed up to the scheme. They will be connected through a network of railways, roads, pipelines and utility grids linking China with Central Asia, West Asia and parts of South Asia. It comprises more than physical connections and aims to create a platform for economic cooperation, including policy coordination, trade and financing collaboration, and social and cultural cooperation. Its two main components are:
- The Silk Road Economic Belt – which is envisioned as three routes connecting China to Europe (via Central Asia), the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean (through West Asia), and the Indian Ocean (via South Asia).
- The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road – which plans to connect regional waterways.
The BRI is currently developing six international economic cooperation corridors, including the New Eurasian Land Bridge, China–Mongolia–Russia, China–Central Asia–West Asia, China Indochina Peninsula, China–Pakistan, and Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar.