That dollar amount reflects a 44.1% increase compared to $2.494 trillion in 2018. Year over year, the overall value of mainland China’s exported goods slowed to a 6.9% rise from 2021.
During the first 9 months of 2023, the People’s Republic of China exported $2.52 trillion worth of goods via international markets. The corresponding $3.36 trillion full-year projection suggests that China is on track for a -6.5% year-over-year decline in 2023 compared to 2022.
Please note that the rest of this article focuses on statistics for full year 2022.
The value of China’s total exports represents 16.2% of overall global exports (based on the world’s total $22.144 trillion one year prior for 2021).
Applying a continental lens, approaching half (47.4%) of mainland China’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 20.7% were sold to importers in Europe. China shipped 19.9% worth of goods to buyers in North America.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America (4.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Africa (4.6%), and Oceania (2.6%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
China’s Top Trading Partners
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 2022. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Chinese exports.
- United States: US$582.8 billion (16.2% of China’s total exports)
- Hong Kong: $297.5 billion (8.3%)
- Japan: $172.9 billion (4.8%)
- South Korea: $162.6 billion (4.5%)
- Vietnam: $147 billion (4.1%)
- India: $118.5 billion (3.3%)
- Netherlands: $117.7 billion (3.3%)
- Germany: $116.2 billion (3.2%)
- Malaysia: $93.7 billion (2.6%)
- Taiwan: $81.6 billion (2.3%)
- United Kingdom: $81.5 billion (2.3%)
- Singapore: $81.2 billion (2.3%)
- Australia: $78.8 billion (2.2%)
- Thailand: $78.5 billion (2.2%)
- Mexico: $77.5 billion (2.2%)
Approaching two-thirds (63.7%) of Chinese exports in 2022 was delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Focusing on these top 15 customers, Singapore increased its import purchases from mainland China at the fastest rate, up 47% from 2021 to 2022. In second place were importers in India thanks to a 21.5% gain trailed by Malaysia (up 19.1%), Australia (up 18.7%), Mexico (up 15%), Netherlands (up 14.9%), then Thailand (up 13.2%).
There were 2 year-over-year decliners, namely Hong Kong (down -14.7%) and the United Kingdom (down -6.3% from 2021).
For a more comprehensive listing of 100 trade partners, see the following section Searchable Datalist of Top Countries Importing China’s Exports.
Searchable Database of Top Countries Consuming 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 year-over-year percentage change in value for each importing country since 2021.
Mainland China’s 100 major trade partners account for $3.536 trillion or 98.4% of all exported goods consumed by trade partners that import from the People’s Republic.
|Rank||Importer||China's Exports (US$)||2021-2|
|20.||United Arab Emirates||$53,861,687,000||+22.9%|
|68.||Democr. Rep. Congo||$5,117,591,000||+85.6%|
Expanding the scope to encompass the top 100 customers for Chinese exports, the fastest-growing buyers were Kyrgyzstan (up 106.3% from 2021), Democratic Republic of the Congo (up 85.6%), Lebanon (up 66.8%), Angola (up 64.4%), Singapore (up 47%), Jordan (up 43%) and Laos (up 40.4%).
There were 4 double-digit decliners. These were Ukraine (down -64.9%), Sri Lanka (down -28.5%), Hong Kong (down -14.7%) and Chile (down -14.3%).
Countries Causing China’s Greatest Trading 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.
- Taiwan: -US$156.5 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2022)
- Australia: -$63.3 billion
- Brazil: -$47.6 billion
- Switzerland: -$42.2 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$40.1 billion
- Russia: -$38 billion
- South Korea: -$37 billion
- Oman: -$32 billion
- Iraq: -$25.4 billion
- Chile: -$22 billion
Among China’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Chinese deficits with Russia (up 259%), Chile (up 66.8%) and Iraq (up 59.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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.
Countries Generating China’s Biggest Trading Surpluses
Overall, mainland China posted an $877.6 billion trade surplus in 2022 up by 27.9% from $686.1 billion in black ink during 2021.
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.
- United States: US$403.8 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2022)
- Hong Kong: $289.7 billion
- Netherlands: $105.2 billion
- India: $101 billion
- Mexico: $60.1 billion
- United Kingdom: $59.7 billion
- Vietnam: $59 billion
- Singapore: $47.2 billion
- Philippines: $41.6 billion
- Poland: $33.1 billion
Among China’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Chinese surpluses with Singapore (up 187.6%), India (up 45.6%) and Vietnam (up 29.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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.
China’s Major Exports Companies
China placed about 150 corporations on the Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Chinese export companies that Forbes included.
- Aluminum Corporation of China (aluminum)
- BYD (cars, trucks)
- Dongfang Electric (electrical equipment)
- Dongfeng Motor Group (cars, trucks)
- Gree Electric Appliances (household appliances)
- Midea Group Co. Ltd. (household appliances)
- PetroChina (oil, gas)
- SAIC Motor (cars, trucks)
- Sinopec-China Petroleum (oil, gas)
- Sinopharm Group (pharmaceuticals)
- Tsingtao Brewery (beverages)
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.
- AA Technology Co., Ltd (advanced electronic components)
- EPOLAB Chemical Industries Inc. (epoxy chemical compounds, adhesives)
- Fu Feng Co., Ltd. (full range of plastic gear products)
- Myday machinery Inc. (lathes)
- Seal King (foam tapes)
- 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.
- Apex Science & Engineering Corp. (infrared, LCD products)
- Asia Bicycle Trading Company (bicycles, parts and accessories)
- Hei Full Industrial Co., Ltd. (food processing equipment)
- Shenzhen Yongerjia Industry Co., Ltd. (LED displays, other LED products)
- Tai Erh Enterprise Co., Ltd. (polyester fabrics)
- Yancheng Meiyi Arts & Crafts Factory (solar powered signs)
See also China’s Top 10 Imports, China’s Top 10 Exports, Top Chinese Trade Balances and China’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on November 24, 2023
China Trade Directory, Database with China and Taiwan Manufacturers. Accessed on November 24, 2023
Forbes 2018 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on November 24, 2023
G.T. Internet Information Co., Ltd., Taiwan & China Products Online. Accessed on November 24, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on November 24, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on November 24, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on November 24, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of China. Accessed on November 24, 2023