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Hubei: Market Profile

Major Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators2015Jan-Sep 2016
(%, y-o-y)
(%, y-o-y)
Gross Domestic Product (RMB bn)2,955.08.912,219.88.11
Per Capita GDP (RMB)50,6548.41
Added Value Output
   Primary industry (RMB bn)331.04.51269.23.81
   Secondary industry (RMB bn)1,350.48.31966.07.81
   Tertiary industry (RMB bn)1,273.610.71984.69.71
Value-added Industrial Output2 (RMB bn)8.618.01
Fixed-assets Investment (RMB bn)2,825.016.22,113.313.4
Retail Sales (RMB bn)1,397.812.31,114.311.4
Inflation (Consumer Price Index, %)1.52.1
Exports (US$ bn)29.29.719.91.6
   By foreign-invested enterprises (US$ bn)6.7-12.64.5-13.9
Imports (US$ bn)16.4-0.19.8-6.0
   By foreign-invested enterprises (US$ bn)5.6-18.33.4-19.8
Utilised Foreign Direct Investment (US$ bn)8.912.97.813.7

1. In real terms
2. For all state-owned enterprises and other forms with annual sales over RMB20 million

Sources: Hubei Statistical Yearbook 2016, Hubei Statistical Bureau, China’s Customs Statistics 12.2015, 9.2016


General Background

Hubei has a total area of 185,900 sq kilometres. Total population stood at 58.52 million in 2015. The fertile Jianghan Plain (江漢平原) in the province is one of the major agriculture and aquaculture bases in China, producing grain, cotton, oil-bearing crops, fishes and vegetables. The province is also very rich in mineral resources. Deposits of phosphate, salt, silica, garnet and marl stone are among the highest in China.

Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei, is historically a trading hub reaching out to provinces in central China. Now, it is a major commerce, distribution and transport center on the Yangtze River waterway. Many of China’s rail lines go through Wuhan.


In the past two decades, tertiary sector has continued to grow, its share in GDP expanded from 26.9% in 1990 to 43.1% in 2015, while the share of the industrial sector showed a slight drop in recent years.

Composition of GDP (%)


Source: Hubei Statistical Yearbook 2016

The province has developed into an important industrial production base. Major industries include metallurgy, automobiles, chemicals and construction materials, foodstuff, machine-building, textiles, electronics and ship-building. Hubei’s abundant supply of hydroelectricity is conducive to heavy industry, which accounted for about 63% of the gross value of industrial output in 2015.

Gross Output Share of Leading Industry Groups (2015)

 % share of gross
industrial output
Food and beverage manufacturing and processing 17.1
Automobile manufacturing 13.0
Chemical raw materials and chemical products 9.2
Nonmetal minerals products 7.0
Textile 5.0
Computer and telecommunication equipment 4.7
Smelting and pressing of ferrous metals 4.6
Electrical machinery and equipment 4.2

Source: Hubei Statistical Yearbook 2016

Hubei has formed a relatively comprehensive iron and steel industry production chain including geological prospecting, designing, construction, mining, separation, smelting, rolling. The Wuhan Iron and Steel Corp. is one of the most famous steel giants in China.

Hubei is an important base of auto production in China. Hong Kong listed Dongfeng Motor Corp. is one of the key players. Hubei’s output of motor vehicles reached 1.96 million in 2015, accounting for 8% of the national total. The concentration of automakers has also led to the development of the auto parts industry. Hundreds of auto parts manufacturers, local or foreign, have emerged in Wuhan.

The textiles and garment industry has developed into a comprehensive range of products including cotton textiles, wool textiles, linen textiles, knitting, silk textiles, printing and dyeing, chemical fiber, fabric material processing. It has successfully undergone a transformation, from concentrating on clothes to diversifying into intermediate products.

In recent years, new and hi-tech industries have shown rapid growth. In 2015, value-added output of hi-tech industry grew by 12.5%, accounting for 8% of Hubei’s total value-added industrial output.


Hubei is rich in tourism resources. The famous Three Gorges (三峽景區) takes the lead in the top 10 famous places of interest in China. Mount Wudang (武當山), Yellow Crane Tower (黃鶴樓) and Jinzhou Ancient City (荊州古城) are all renowned places for tourists.

 2015% change
Number of domestic tourist (million)506.78.0
Income generated (RMB bn)420.614.4
Number of overseas tourist (million)3.1112.5
Foreign exchange income (US$ mn)1,671.935.0

Source: Hubei Statistical Yearbook 2016


Foreign Trade

Major exports included textile, garment, machinery, electronic component and device and medicinal raw material. In 2015, major export markets included Hong Kong, US and India. Hong Kong accounted for 37.2% of Hubei’s exports in 2015.

Major imports included synthetic fiber, machinery, chemicals and pharmaceutical raw material, electronic equipment and instrument. In 2015, major import sources included Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Foreign Direct Investment

Chart: Utilised FDI of Hubei
Chart: Utilised FDI of Hubei

Foreign investments mainly involved in the sectors of manufacturing (accounting for 43.8% of the utilised FDI in 2015) and real estate (33.4%). Hong Kong is a major source of FDI in Hubei. Wuhan is the major destination of FDI in Hubei.

Consumer Market

In 2015, per capita disposable income of urban households reached RMB27,051 (+8.8%). Wuhan accounted for about 36.5% of Hubei’s total retail sales in 2015.

Composition of Per Capita Expenditure of Urban Household (%)

Food 46.6 21.4
Clothing 14.7 8.4
Household articles 7.5 6.0
Medicine & medical services 3.0 8.1
Transportation & communications 4.7 11.8
Recreation, cultural & education 11.8 10.8
Residence 7.7 20.6

Source: Hubei Statistical Yearbook 1997, 2016

Wuhan has been a major distribution center in central China. It attracts a number of domestic and foreign retail enterprises to invest there in order to tap the market potential of the region. For instance, New World Shopping Arcade (新世界百貨商場) of New World Development Group. Wangfujing Department Store (王府井百貨) from Beijing, Sogo (莊勝崇光百貨) and Intime (銀泰百貨) have also set up their branches in Wuhan.

Major local retailers in Wuhan include Wuhan International Plaza (武漢國際廣場購物中心), Wushang Group World Trade Plaza (武商集團世貿廣場購物中心), Wuhan Plaza (武漢廣場) and Wuhan Zhongbai Department Store (武漢中百百貨).

Economic Indicators of Major Cities (2015)

(RMB bn)
Per capita GDP (RMB)Gross Industrial Output* (RMB bn)Retail Sales
(RMB bn)
Wuhan (武漢)  1,090.6 10.6
 104,132 1,286.3
Yichang (宜昌)  338.5 4.1 82,360 571.4
Xiangyang (襄陽)  338.2 5.6 60,319 587.9 116.5
Jingzhou (荊州)  159.1 5.7 27,781 236.8 94.6

* Industrial output value of enterprises with annual revenue over RMB20 million.

Source: Hubei Statistical Yearbook 2016




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