china law

General Introduction

The People's Republic of China is by land area the third largest country in the world, with 9,596,960 sq. km in area. The country therefore has a diverse climate and topography with one third of the total area being mountainous.

Administratively, China is divided into 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities and two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau. Its government is presidential, single party (Chinese Communist Party), with elections held every five years.

China's population of 1,273,111,290 (July 2002 est.) is one fifth of the world total. Approximately 72% of the population is rural. The most populated cities are Shanghai (13.3 million), the capital, Beijing (10.8 million) and Tianjin (8.8 million). The country has a workforce of nearly 700 million, of which 50% are involved in agriculture and 24% in industry. The unemployment rate is officially 3%.

Although only 10% of China is arable, agriculture is the most important sector of the national economy. Approximately 80% of the sown area is devoted to food crops, the most important being rice, wheat and sorghum. China also produces valuable fiber crops, silk and more than 20% of the world supply of tea. Not surprisingly, China has major livestock industries (its pig population is 40% of the world?¡¥s total) and freshwater fish, particularly carp, is an important industry.

The main unit of agricultural production is the household, which produces quotas sold to the government. To supplement this, the government operates more than 2000 state farms, using modern machinery.

China has rich mineral resources, including large deposits of coal, petroleum and iron. Industry includes iron and steel (90% size of US production), shipbuilding, armaments, locomotives, rolling stock, tractors, mining machinery, power-generating equipment, petroleum-drilling and refining machinery, petrochemicals and fertilizers. The Chinese textile industry is the largest in the world, employing more than 7.5 million workers. Other important manufactures include cement, paper and paperboard, bicycles, motor vehicles, sewing machines, food processing and consumer electronics Business Opportunities

China has a highly centralized political system and an increasingly decentralized economic system. This is often referred to as "a socialist market economy". State control is retained over key industries, while other areas such as service industries, home and cottage businesses and small retailers are given relative freedom. State-owned enterprises, after meeting state targets, are able to conduct private sales for profit.

China attracts more foreign investment than any other country and also has one of the fastest rates of economic growth with average annual growth over the past 19 years of about 8% per annum (7.1% in 1999) and low inflation. The re-absorption of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macau in 1999 gave a particular boost to the economy.

China's economic objectives include the further liberalization of business while maintaining the stability of its currency, the renminbi (yuan) through foreign income earnings. The development of light industry is encouraged as a vehicle meeting both these ends. Priority sectors for investment include transportation, telecommunications, power generation, agriculture and food processing.

China ranks in the top 10 countries in terms of world trade. Major imports include commodities, machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, plastics, iron and steel and chemicals. Main suppliers include Japan, Taiwan, US, South Korea, Germany, Hong Kong, Russia, Malaysia.

Key exports from China include machinery and equipment, textiles and clothing, footwear, toys and sporting goods and mineral fuels. China's main customers are the US, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Singapore and Taiwan. Tourism is an increasing source of revenue.

Foreign investment in industrial and technology capabilities fit well with the priority sectors of China. Traditionally, foreign investment have been strongest in supplying equipment for China's infrastructure projects and manufacturing industry. As the Chinese economy has developed a wider range of opportunities embracing China's emerging consumer market are opening.

Foreign investment has been integral to China's development over the last two decades, particularly in banking and financial services; education; aviation and automotive industries; power generation; telecommunications and environmental technology, pollution control.,petroleum and related products; general industrial machinery; electrical appliances; organic chemicals and scientific and control equipment.

With the largest population and fastest-growing economy in the world, China is a country that deserves to be closely watched. Now a part of the WTO, changes are happening even more quickly in China. Sectors are opening up overnight. Laws are being amended and more and more opportunities are presenting themselves to foreign investors. By bringing you China Stats, Lehman, Lee & Xu will provide you with the most recent information regarding China's economic situation and introduce you to a country full of opportunities.