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Sichuan: Market Profile

Major Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators2016Jan-Nov 2017
(%, y-o-y)
(%, y-o-y)
Gross Domestic Product (RMB bn)3,268.17.712,729.738.11
Per Capita GDP (RMB)39,6957.01
Added Value Output
   Primary industry  (RMB bn)392.43.81337.133.81
   Secondary industry (RMB bn)1,392.57.511,055.737.51
   Tertiary industry (RMB bn)1,483.29.111,336.939.81
Value-added Industrial Output2 (RMB bn)7.918.41
Fixed-assets Investment (RMB bn)2,822.913.12,961.810.2
Retail Sales (RMB bn)1,550.211.71,577.812.0
Inflation (Consumer Price Index, %)1.91.4
Exports (US$ bn)26.2-7.734.136.7
   By foreign-invested enterprises (US$ bn)
Imports (US$ bn)21.917.928.249.1
   By foreign-invested enterprises (US$ bn)15.333.820.450.5
Utilised Foreign Direct Investment (US$ bn)8.0-19.7

1 In Renminbi real term
2 For all state-owned and other forms of enterprises with annual sales over RMB20 million
3 Jan-Sep 2017

Sources: Sichuan Statistical Yearbook 2017, Sichuan Statistical Bureau; China Customs Statistics 12.2016 & 11.2017


General Background

Sichuan is located at the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in southwestern China. It has a total area of 486,052 sq km. Total resident population stood at 82.62 million by end-2016. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, is the western hub for business and trade.

Sichuan is rich in natural resources and has the most well developed industrial sector in the region. Sichuan is also one of the major agricultural production bases in China, its output of rice, wheat, rapeseed, citrus fruit, peach, sugar cane, sweet potato and Chinese herbs all account for a significant share of China’s total.

The private sector in Sichuan has grown fast in recent years. The share of non-state activities in Sichuan’s GDP rose from less than 50% (46.9%) in 2006 to 60.8% in 2016. Sichuan has developed a number of famous local enterprises and brands, including the country’s largest colour TV producer – Changhong Electric Group Co. Ltd. (長虹); steel company – Panzhihua Steel Group (攀枝花), alcohol manufacturers – Wuliangye Group (五糧液), Jiannanchun Group (劍南春) and Luzhoulaojiao (瀘洲老窖); medicine manufacturers – Di’ao Group Company (地奥) and Di’kang Group (迪康); and animal feed company – New Hope (新希望).


While Sichuan is strong in agriculture, its industrial activities have expanded rapidly in the last two decades. In 2011, the secondary sector accounted for 47.8% of its GDP, up from the level of 36.5% in 2000, but gradually declined to 42.6 in 2016 while the share of the tertiary sector has continued to rise.


Composition of GDP (%)


Source: Sichuan Statistical Yearbook 2017


Nowadays, Sichuan is one of the most industrialised provinces in western China. While heavy industries (66% of the aggregate revenue from principal business in 2016) such as coal, energy and iron and steel remain as dominating sectors, the province has also established a light manufacturing sector comprising electronics, building materials, wood processing, food, silk processing, etc.

Sichuan’s production of TV sets, natural gas, electricity, steel, cement, Chinese medicine, wine and chemical fibre is among the largest in western China. Notably, the revenue of “telecommunication equipment, computer and other electronic equipment” has continued to increase and its share in gross industrial output increased from 5.5% in 2010 to 9.8% in 2016.


Revenue Share of Leading Industry Groups (2016)

 % share in aggregate revenue from principal business*
Food and beverage, farm byproducts processing16.3
Telecommunication equipment, computer and other electronic equipment9.8
Nonmetal mineral products7.3
Automobile manufacturing6.5
Raw chemical materials and chemical products6.4
Smelting and pressing of ferrous metals5.6
General purpose machinery manufacturing5.1

* For all state-owned enterprises and other forms with annual sales over RMB20 million
Source: Sichuan Statistical Yearbook 2017


Sichuan’s high-tech industry has been developing fast. In 2016, the gross output of new and high-tech products grew by 9% to RMB1,600 billion. Exports of new and high-tech products accounted for 56.8% of total exports. Sichuan has 13 state level key laboratories and two state level hi-tech industries development zones – The Chengdu New and Hi-tech Industries Development Zone (CDDZ), and the Mianyang New and Hi-tech Industries Development Zone (MYDZ). These zones have attracted a number of internationally renowned IT companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and IBM to set up R&D centers.

Sichuan is richly endowed with herbs (around 5,000 species) and is the home to many senior Chinese medicine doctors. Sichuan is strong in R&D of modern Chinese medicine. Chengdu is selected by the Ministry of Science and Technology to set up the first state-level Modernized Science and Technology Industry Base for Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Sichuan has abundant tourism resources: it is home to the giant panda; it has four world natural heritages and nine national AAAA grade nature parks, the largest number in China. Its internationally famous scenic attractions include Mt. Emei (峨眉山), Jiuzhaigou Valley (九寨溝) and Dujiangyan Irrigation System (都江堰).


 2016% change
Number of overseas tourist (million)3.113.0
Foreign exchange income (US$ mn)1,58233.9

Source: Sichuan Statistical Yearbook 2017


Foreign Trade

Sichuan’s foreign trade grew strongly in the past few years. It is the leading export base in the western region. Major export markets in 2016 included the US (29.3% of the total), Hong Kong (10.9%), the Netherlands (5.7%), Japan (4.7%) and Vietnam (3.7%). Major export products included computer products (35.8% of the total), integrated circuits (7.5%), jewellery (3.5%), garment (2.5%) and footwear (2.3%).

Major import sources in 2016 were the US (27.6% of the total), Japan (9.4%) , South Korea (8.4%), Taiwan (6.9%) and Ireland (6.5%), and with integrated circuits, minerals, printed circuit boards and testing apparatus being the major import items.

As a result of increased foreign investment in recent years, foreign trade conducted by foreign investment enterprises has risen. In 2016, exports conducted by FIE accounted for 60.7% of the province’s total exports.

Foreign Investment

Chart: Utilised FDI of Sichuan
Chart: Utilised FDI of Sichuan


Sichuan came first in attracting FDI among all western provinces. Prominent multinationals like Intel, Onsun, Sony, UPS, Sanyo and Kingfisher have invested in Sichuan, especially in its capital Chengdu. By the end of 2016, 232 of the world’s largest 500 overseas companies have invested in Sichuan.

Consumer Market

Sichuan has the biggest consumer market in western China. In 2016, annual per capita disposal income of urban households reached RMB28,335 (+8.1%).


Composition of Per Capita Expenditure of Urban Household (%)

Transportation & communications6.313.1
Recreation, cultural & education12.99.7
Household articles8.66.3
Medicine & medical services5.56.9

Source: Sichuan Statistical Yearbook, 2017


Since China fully liberalises the retail and wholesale distribution sector, foreign retail enterprises have entered the Sichuan market. Major foreign retail enterprises include Metro (麥德龍) from Germany, Carrefour from France, Trust-mart (好又多) from Taiwan, Itoyokado (伊藤洋華堂) from Japan, and Parkson (百盛) from Malaysia.


Economic Indicators of Major Cities (2016)

(RMB bn)
Per Capita GDP
Retail Sales
(RMB bn)
(US$ mn)
Chengdu (成都) 1,217.076,960574.221,939
Zigong (自貢) 123.444,48155.6225
Panzhihua (攀枝花) 101.5
Deyang (德陽) 175.249,83569.91,346
Mianyang (綿陽) 183.038,20298.81,035
Leshan (樂山) 140.743,11062.4683
Yibin (宜賓) 165.336,73576.8552

Source: Sichuan Statistical Yearbook, 2017

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