China’s Top Trading Partners

China's flag

by Flagpictures.org

The world’s largest exporter by value, China shipped US$2.294 trillion worth of products around the globe in 2018 according to the latest statistics reported by the International Trade Centre.

That dollar amount results from a 6.5% gain since 2014 and a 10.2% increase from 2017 to 2018.

Applying a continental lens, about half (47.8%) of Chinese exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 22.4% were sold to North American importers. China shipped another 19.1% worth to clients in Europe.

Lesser percentages of China’s total exported goods arrived in Africa (4.21%), Latin America (4.17%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Oceania (2.3%) led by Australia and New Zealand.

China’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list highlighting 15 of China’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, these countries imported the most Chinese shipments by dollar value during 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Chinese exports.

  1. United States: US$479.7 billion (19.2% of total Chinese exports)
  2. Hong Kong: $303 billion (12.1%)
  3. Japan: $147.2 billion (5.9%)
  4. South Korea: $109 billion (4.4%)
  5. Vietnam: $84 billion (3.4%)
  6. Germany: $77.9 billion (3.1%)
  7. India: $76.9 billion (3.1%)
  8. Netherlands: $73.1 billion (2.9%)
  9. United Kingdom: $57 billion (2.3%)
  10. Singapore: $49.8 billion (2%)
  11. Taiwan: $48.7 billion (2%)
  12. Russia: $48 billion (1.9%)
  13. Australia: $47.5 billion (1.9%)
  14. Malaysia: $45.8 billion (1.8%)
  15. Mexico: $44.1 billion (1.8%)

Over two-thirds (67.8%) of Chinese exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Mexico increased its import purchases from China at the fastest rate, up 22.9% from 2017 to 2018. In second place were importers in Vietnam thanks to a 17.3% increase trailed by Australia (up 14.7%), India (up 13%), Russia (up 12.1%) then the United States (up 11.5%).

For the complete listing, see the section Searchable Datalist of Countries Importing China’s Exports near the bottom of this article.

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

China incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. Taiwan: -US$128.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
  2. South Korea: -$95.5 billion
  3. Australia: -$57.5 billion
  4. Brazil: -$43.4 billion
  5. Switzerland: -$34.6 billion
  6. Japan: -$33.2 billion
  7. Germany: -$28.3 billion
  8. Saudi Arabia: -$28.3 billion
  9. Angola: -$23.4 billion
  10. Malaysia: -$17.5 billion

Among China’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Chinese deficits with Saudi Arabia (up 111.7%), Brazil (up 45.2%) and Malaysia (up 37.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate China’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for China to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

China posted an overall $359.2 billion trade surplus in 2018 down by -14.4% from $419.6 billion in black ink during 2017 and down by -6.2% from a $383.1 billion surplus five years earlier in 2014.

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

China incurred the highest trade surpluses at the expense of the following countries:

  1. United States: US$323.7 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2018)
  2. Hong Kong: $294.4 billion
  3. Netherlands: $60.8 billion
  4. India: $58 billion
  5. United Kingdom: $33.1 billion
  6. Mexico: $30.1 billion
  7. Vietnam: $19.9 billion
  8. Poland: $17.3 billion
  9. Bangladesh: $16.8 billion
  10. Spain: $16.3 billion

Among China’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Chinese surpluses with Mexico (up 24.8%), Poland (up 19.1%) and Bangladesh (up 17.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate China’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for China to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Chinese Trading Partners

China placed about 150 corporations on the Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Chinese export companies that Forbes included:

  • PetroChina (oil, gas)
  • Sinopec-China Petroleum (oil, gas)
  • SAIC Motor (cars, trucks)
  • Dongfeng Motor Group (cars, trucks)
  • BYD (cars, trucks)
  • Gree Electric Appliances (household appliances)
  • Midea Group Co. Ltd. (household appliances)
  • Tsingtao Brewery (beverages)
  • Sinopharm Group (pharmaceuticals)
  • Aluminum Corporation of China (aluminum)
  • Dongfang Electric (electrical equipment)

According to the China Trade Directory, the following Chinese companies ship products from China to its trading partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the Chinese manufacturer specializes in.

  • Fu Feng Co., Ltd. (full range of plastic gear products)
  • AA Technology Co., Ltd (advanced electronic components)
  • EPOLAB Chemical Industries Inc. (epoxy chemical compounds, adhesives)
  • Seal King (foam tapes)
  • Myday machinery Inc. (lathes)
  • Shuz Tung Machinery Industrial Co. Ltd. (electronic equipment, machinery)

Taiwan & China Products Online provides comprehensive supplier listings for companies sitused in the People’s Republic encompassing both mainland China and its province of Taiwan.

  • Shenzhen Yongerjia Industry Co., Ltd. (LED displays, other LED products)
  • Apex Science & Engineering Corp. (infrared, LCD products)
  • Yancheng Meiyi Arts & Crafts Factory (solar powered signs)
  • Hei Full Industrial Co., Ltd. (food processing equipment)
  • Tai Erh Enterprise Co., Ltd. (polyester fabrics)
  • Asia Bicycle Trading Company (bicycles, parts and accessories)

 



 

Searchable Datalist of Countries Importing China’s Exports

You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of any of the columns below. The right-most shows the percentage change in value for each importing country since 2017.

RankImporter2018 Chinese Exports2017-8
1. United States$479.7 billion+11.5%
2. Hong Kong$303 billion+8.5%
3. Japan$147.2 billion+7.3%
4. South Korea$109 billion+6.2%
5. Vietnam$84 billion+17.3%
6. Germany$77.9 billion+9.5%
7. India$76.9 billion+13%
8. Netherlands$73.1 billion+8.9%
9. United Kingdom$57 billion+0.5%
10. Singapore$49.8 billion+10.7%
11. Taiwan$48.7 billion+10.6%
12. Russia$48 billion+12.1%
13. Australia$47.5 billion+14.7%
14. Malaysia$45.8 billion+9.9%
15. Mexico$44.1 billion+22.9%
16. Indonesia$43.2 billion+24.4%
17. Thailand$43 billion+11.5%
18. Canada$35.5 billion+13.2%
19. Philippines$35.1 billion+9.5%
20. Brazil$33.7 billion+16.5%
21. Italy$33.3 billion+13.9%
22. France$31.2 billion+11.5%
23. United Arab Emirates$29.9 billion+4.1%
24. Spain$25.1 billion+9.4%
25. Poland$20.9 billion+17.2%
26. Turkey$17.9 billion-1.4%
27. Bangladesh$17.8 billion+17.1%
28. Saudi Arabia$17.6 billion-4.4%
29. Belgium$17.1 billion+8.9%
30. Pakistan$17 billion-7%
31. South Africa$16.3 billion+10.3%
32. Chile$15.9 billion+10.5%
33. Iran$14 billion-24.6%
34. Nigeria$13.5 billion+11.1%
35. Egypt$12 billion+26.7%
36. Czech Republic$11.9 billion+35.5%
37. Kazakhstan$11.3 billion-2.1%
38. Myanmar (Burma)$10.6 billion+18.1%
39. Israel$9.3 billion+4.5%
40. Colombia$8.7 billion+17.5%
41. Argentina$8.4 billion-7.2%
42. Sweden$8.3 billion+17.5%
43. Peru$8.1 billion+16.4%
44. Algeria$7.9 billion+16.8%
45. Iraq$7.9 billion-0.5%
46. Denmark$7.3 billion+12.1%
47. Ukraine$7 billion+39.4%
48. Panama$6.9 billion+4.8%
49. Greece$6.5 billion+37.7%
50. Hungary$6.5 billion+8.1%
51. Cambodia$6 billion+25.9%
52. New Zealand$5.8 billion+13.7%
53. Kyrgyzstan$5.5 billion+3.9%
54. Kenya$5.2 billion+3.4%
55. Ghana$4.8 billion-0.1%
56. Romania$4.5 billion+19.4%
57. Slovenia$4.4 billion+53.6%
58. Sri Lanka$4.3 billion+4.4%
59. Switzerland$4.1 billion+28.2%
60. Uzbekistan$3.9 billion+43.4%
61. Portugal$3.8 billion+9.4%
62. Ecuador$3.7 billion+25.5%
63. Morocco$3.7 billion+16.2%
64. Ireland$3.7 billion+25.4%
65. Tanzania$3.6 billion+15.1%
66. Kuwait$3.3 billion+6.7%
67. Macao$3.1 billion-2.2%
68. Finland$3.1 billion+8.5%
69. Jordan$3 billion+6.1%
70. Oman$2.9 billion+24.1%
71. Austria$2.8 billion+12.5%
72. Norway$2.7 billion+6.6%
73. Slovakia$2.6 billion-6.3%
74. Ethiopia$2.5 billion-4.8%
75. Qatar$2.5 billion+47.9%
76. Guatemala$2.3 billion+19.2%
77. Angola$2.2 billion-0.1%
78. North Korea$2.2 billion-31.6%
79. Marshall Islands$2.2 billion-30.4%
80. Benin$2.2 billion+11.6%
81. Senegal$2.1 billion+5.1%
82. Dominican Republic$2.1 billion+24%
83. Uruguay$2.1 billion-3.7%
84. Togo$2 billion+5.6%
85. Lebanon$2 billion-1.4%
86. Liberia$1.9 billion-7.7%
87. Côte d'Ivoire$1.9 billion+11.7%
88. Sudan$1.9 billion-15.2%
89. Yemen$1.9 billion+14.2%
90. Djibouti$1.9 billion-14%
91. Mozambique$1.9 billion+43.1%
92. Democratic Rep. Congo$1.8 billion+82.8%
93. Lithuania$1.8 billion+10.2%
94. Cameroon$1.7 billion+22.9%
95. Paraguay$1.7 billion+7.1%
96. Costa Rica$1.7 billion+11.3%
97. Mongolia$1.6 billion+33.3%
98. Brunei Darussalam$1.6 billion+150.6%
99. Laos$1.5 billion+2.6%
100. Bulgaria$1.4 billion+23.4%
101. Malta$1.4 billion-31.6%
102. Libya$1.4 billion+39.4%
103. Tajikistan$1.4 billion+9.6%
104. Tunisia$1.4 billion+6.6%
105. Guinea$1.4 billion+9.1%
106. Croatia$1.3 billion+14.7%
107. Syrian Arab Republic$1.3 billion+15.6%
108. Latvia$1.2 billion+1.9%
109. Venezuela$1.1 billion-34.3%
110. Belarus$1.1 billion+22.7%
111. Bahrain$1.1 billion+26.2%
112. Georgia$1.1 billion+20.8%
113. Nepal$1.1 billion+11.5%
114. Cuba$1.1 billion-20.7%
115. Mauritania$1 billion+21%
116. Estonia$1 billion+2.6%
117. Madagascar$1 billion+0.8%
118. Honduras$988.8 million+17%
119. Zambia$969.5 million+36.6%
120. El Salvador$929.3 million+20.3%
121. Luxembourg$855.1 million+22%
122. Bolivia$836 million+14.7%
123. Mauritius$807.8 million+6%
124. Papua New Guinea$786.9 million+1.5%
125. Cyprus$736.9 million+40.5%
126. Serbia$729 million+33.6%
127. Uganda$706.4 million-9.1%
128. Afghanistan$667.9 million+23.4%
129. Somalia$637.2 million+34.6%
130. Haiti$616.4 million+15.7%
131. Jamaica$584.5 million+13.1%
132. Albania$541.8 million+19.3%
133. Azerbaijan$516.3 million+33.4%
134. Nicaragua$475 million-23.9%
135. Bahamas$474 million+70.2%
136. Fiji$456.3 million+24.9%
137. Zimbabwe$446.1 million+0.5%
138. Congo$444.9 million-10.6%
139. Gambia$426.5 million+7%
140. Maldives$396.7 million+34.2%
141. Gabon$386.1 million-13.5%
142. Trinidad/Tobago$347.3 million-19.2%
143. Mali$345.6 million+2.5%
144. Namibia$319.5 million+17.4%
145. Turkmenistan$316.8 million-13.9%
146. Botswana$281.5 million+21%
147. Iceland$255.7 million+128.7%
148. Sierra Leone$253.2 million+4.4%
149. Burkina Faso$223.3 million+22%
150. Guyana$223.1 million+18.3%
151. Malawi$222.4 million-15.1%
152. Suriname$216.2 million+21.8%
153. Armenia$213.1 million+48.2%
154. Chad$185.5 million+60.8%
155. Montenegro$178.4 million+34.7%
156. Bermuda$169.2 million+28.2%
157. Rwanda$165.2 million+28.4%
158. Equatorial Guinea$145.2 million-12.7%
159. Barbados$136.7 million+26.8%
160. New Caledonia$134.1 million+57.2%
161. Timor-Leste$132.8 million+0.1%
162. Solomon Islands$118.3 million+27.8%
163. Niger$114.7 million+17.1%
164. Bosnia/Herzegovina$109.8 million+39.3%
165. Moldova$108.7 million+11%
166. North Macedonia$107.8 million+38.1%
167. Cayman Islands$101.2 million-60.6%
168. Belize$92.6 million+6.1%
169. Comoros$79.2 million+16.9%
170. Cabo Verde$78.1 million+12.7%
171. French Polynesia$77.7 million+24.6%
172. South Sudan$77.1 million+48.4%
173. Palestine$73.8 million+6.8%
174. Samoa$70.3 million+10.1%
175. Curaçao$69.8 million-5.8%
176. Lesotho$64.2 million+4.7%
177. Vanuatu$63.4 million-3.3%
178. Seychelles$61.3 million+25.6%
179. Antigua/Barbuda$54.8 million+22.1%
180. Eritrea$42.8 million-0.2%
181. St Vincent/Grenadines$36.9 million-12.2%
182. Burundi$36.9 million-18.4%
183. British Virgin Islands$36.8 million+210.8%
184. Eswatini$36.4 million+6.5%
185. Dominica$34.5 million-29.7%
186. Aruba$32.6 million+34.1%
187. Guinea-Bissau$29.8 million-11.5%
188. Tonga$25 million-10.7%
189. Saint Lucia$19 million+19.1%
190. Central African Republic$18.8 million+44.9%
191. Micronesia$18.5 million-29.6%
192. Kiribati$17.9 million+16.4%
193. Palau$13.7 million-18.4%
194. St Maarten (Dutch)$13.2 millionno 2013 data
195. Grenada$13.2 million+22.9%
196. Bhutan$12.8 million+105.8%
197. Tuvalu$12.1 million-33.8%
198. Saint Kitts/Nevis$11.5 million+32.9%
199. Sao Tome/Principe$7.3 million+5.1%
200. Cook Islands$5.1 million-31.4%
201. Greenland$4 million+59.3%
202. Turks/Caicos Islands$3 million+10.9%
203. Gibraltar$2.8 million-30.5%
204. Norfolk Island$2 million-11.5%
205. Nauru$1.9 million+351.8%
206. Andorra$1.9 million+46.7%
207. Bonaire/St Eustatius/Saba$636,000-43.1%
208. Montserrat$335,000+51.6%
209. Wallis/Futuna Islands$293,000-3.6%
210. Western Sahara$44,000-97.5%
211. St. Pierre/Miquelon$16,000-60%

 

See also China’s Top 10 Imports, China’s Top 10 Exports, Top Chinese Trade Balances and China’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 1, 2019

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 1, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 1, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 1, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of China. Accessed on March 1, 2019

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 1, 2019

China Trade Directory, Database with China and Taiwan Manufacturers. Accessed on March 1, 2019

G.T. Internet Information Co., Ltd., Taiwan & China Products Online. Accessed on March 1, 2019