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China's new development, world's new opportunities | Updated : 2024-03-13
A high-speed train runs above a rape flower field in Congjiang county, Guizhou province, on Jan 16, 2024. [Photo/VCG]

In 2023, China adopted a more open and confident attitude to benefit the world via win-win cooperation. Many countries and regions had established close trade ties with China and have benefited from Chinese goods and services. In addition, the brand power of Chinese enterprises was strengthened with a steady overseas investment and cooperation, while also attracting a high-level investment from abroad.

China is an important driving force for global trade

China's GDP grew by 5.2 percent in 2023. The steady economic growth has been one of the important engines of global economic recovery.

In 2023, the country's total imports and exports of goods rose 0.2 percent year-on-year to 41.76 trillion yuan ($5.94 trillion), which was better than expected. China's total import and export volume of services reached 6.58 trillion yuan, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year.

In terms of exports, thanks to its complete manufacturing system, China was able to meet the needs of different markets and show stable overall competitiveness in the international market. In terms of imports, the country saw an increase in imports of manufacturing raw materials and key components to meet its needs of steady expansion of domestic production. In addition, imports of consumer goods rose, reflecting a pick-up in domestic demand.

In 2023, China held key exhibitions, such as the China International Import Expo, China International Consumer Products Expo, China International Fair for Trade in Services, China International Supply Chain Expo and China Import and Export Fair, which allowed more foreign enterprises to share in the opportunities from the large Chinese market.

At the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) in 2023, a total of 442 new products, new technologies and new services were debuted. The sixth CIIE's innovation incubation special section attracted more than 300 innovative projects from 39 countries, outnumbering those of the previous two CIIEs combined. The value of tentative deals reached for one-year purchases of goods and services during the sixth CIIE was $78.41 billion, an increase of 6.7 percent over the previous edition.

2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the construction of China's pilot free trade zones. In 2013, the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone was inaugurated, and China's first negative list for foreign investment access was unveiled. After seven reductions, the negative list of foreign investment access in the pilot free trade zone had been shortened from the original 190 items to 27, and the manufacturing items had been completely removed. The opening-up of the service sector continued.

In 2023, China's cross-border e-commerce imports and exports totaled 2.38 trillion yuan, up 15.6 percent year-on-year. Among them, the export was 1.83 trillion yuan, up 19.6 percent year-on-year, and imports reached 548.3 billion yuan, up 3.9 percent year-on-year. The rapid development of cross-border e-commerce not only met the diversified and personalized needs of domestic consumers, but also helped Chinese products reach the world, making e-commerce an important driving force for the country's foreign trade development.

Cargo is loaded onto an SF Airlines aircraft at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Sichuan province. DING PING/FOR CHINA DAILY

China injects more certainty into global industrial and supply chains

China is not only the beneficiary and defender of the integrated development of global supply chains, but also the explorer and builder of a new ecology of global supply chains, and plays a pivotal role in the global manufacturing and supply chain system.

By 2023, China was the only country to possess all sections in the United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities. The added value of China's manufacturing industry accounted for nearly 30 percent of the total added value of the global manufacturing industry, and its scale of the manufacturing industry has ranked first in the world for 13 consecutive years. The industries such as high-speed rail, electric power equipment, construction machinery and shipbuilding have gained worldwide reputation.

In 2023, the exports value of China's equipment manufacturing industry accounted for more than half of the country's total export value.

Exports of the three major tech-intensive green products, or the "new three" — electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries and solar cells - exceeded the trillion-yuan threshold for the first time, and mechanical and electrical products accounted for nearly 60 percent of the country's total export value.

The three major indicators of vessel completion, new orders and orders-in-hand in the shipbuilding industry also led the world in 2023.

As the world's second-largest economy, China provides a stable supply to the world, injecting more certainty into a global supply chain that is facing many risks and challenges.

Brand power of Chinese enterprises is strengthened

In 2005, The World Brand Lab released the World's 500 Most Influential Brands, only four Chinese brands were listed, while in 2023, 48 brands were selected. For the first time, China surpassed Japan (43) and ranked third in the world. Among them, the outstanding brands are State Grid, Tencent, Haier and Huawei.

In addition, in 2023, products of China's home-grown brands were exported to more than 200 countries and regions around the world.

The continuous improvement of the international brand power of Chinese enterprises is inseparable from the core innovation ability. In the 2023 Global Innovation Index, China was the only middle-income economy in the top 30, ranking 12th, ahead of Japan in the 13th place.

A worker assembles a component at Sany's lighthouse factory in Bekasi, Indonesia, in August 2023. [Photo/China Daily]

China's overseas investment and cooperation in steady development

In 2023, the outbound direct investment by the whole industries of China reached 1.04 trillion yuan, an increase of 5.7 percent over the previous year, of which the non-financial direct investment reached 916.99 billion yuan, an increase of 16.7 percent year-on-year. Non-financial direct investment by Chinese enterprises in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative was 224.09 billion yuan, up 28.4 percent year-on-year.

In 2023, the turnover of contracted overseas projects by Chinese enterprises was recorded at 1.13 trillion yuan, up 8.8 percent year-on-year, and the value of newly signed contracts was 1.86 trillion yuan, up 9.5 percent from a year earlier. The turnover of contracted projects by Chinese enterprises in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative reached 930.52 billion yuan, up 9.8 percent on a yearly basis, and the newly signed contracts reached 1.60 trillion yuan, up 10.7 percent year-on-year.

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