Visualizing All of China’s Trade Partners
China stands as a formidable player in the global trade arena, wielding its influence as the world’s largest goods exporter.
With a complex network of trade partnerships spanning more than 200 countries, regions, and territories, the world’s second-largest economy has significant economic relationships with both allies and adversaries.
By using 2022 trade data from China’s General Administration of Customs, this visualization from Truman Du breaks down the nation’s top trading partners through imports and exports by destination.
China’s Imports and Exports by Country in 2022
Over the course of 2022, China saw exports totaling $3.57 trillion and imports totaling $2.71 trillion, giving it a massive trade surplus of $857 billion.
|Country||Imports (2022 USD)||Exports (2022 USD)||Balance (2022 USD)|
|🇺🇸 United States||$177.7B||$578.8B||+$401.1B|
|🇭🇰 Hong Kong||$7.8B||$295.2B||+$287.4B|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||$21.8B||$81.0B||+$59.2B|
|🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||$45.4B||$53.5B||+$8.1B|
|🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||$0.5B||$4.3B||+$3.7B|
|🇲🇭 Marshall Islands||$0.0B||$3.5B||+$3.5B|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||$0.5B||$3.7B||+$3.2B|
|🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire||$1.0B||$3.5B||+$2.5B|
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||$0.2B||$1.7B||+$1.4B|
|🇰🇵 Korea, DPR||$0.1B||$0.8B||+$0.7B|
|🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||$0.1B||$0.5B||+$0.4B|
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||$2.0B||$2.4B||+$0.4B|
|🇵🇫 French Polynesia||$0.0B||$0.2B||+$0.1B|
|🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands||$0.0B||$0.1B||+$0.1B|
|🌏 Other Oceanian Territories||$0.0B||$0.1B||+$0.1B|
|🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||$0.0B||$0.1B||+$0.1B|
|🇨🇻 Cabo Verde||$0.0B||$0.1B||+$0.1B|
|🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||$0.1B||$0.2B||+$0.1B|
|🇲🇰 North Macedonia||$0.2B||$0.2B||+$0.1B|
|🇰🇾 Cayman Islands||$0.0B||$0.1B||+$0.1B|
|🌎 Other Latin American Territories||$0.0B||$0.1B||+$0.1B|
|🇬🇫 French Guiana||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇱🇨 Saint Lucia||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇫🇲 Federated States of Micronesia||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇨🇫 Central African Republic||$0.0B||$0.1B||+$0.0B|
|🇧🇶 Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🌍 Other European Territories||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇨🇰 Cook Islands||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos Islands||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇲🇫 Saint Martin||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🌏 Other North American Territories||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇸🇲 San Marino||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🌍 Other African Territories||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇮🇨 Canary Islands||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇼🇫 Wallis and Futuna||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇳🇫 Norfolk Island||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇪🇭 Western Sahara||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🌏 Other Asian Territories||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇻🇦 Holy See||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇵🇲 Saint Pierre and Miquelon||$0.0B||$0.0B||+$0.0B|
|🇸🇸 South Sudan||$0.2B||$0.2B||-$-0.1B|
|🇸🇧 Solomon Islands||$0.3B||$0.2B||-$-0.1B|
|🇫🇴 Faroe Islands||$0.1B||$0.0B||-$-0.1B|
|🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||$0.8B||$0.6B||-$-0.2B|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||$0.8B||$0.5B||-$-0.2B|
|🇵🇷 Puerto Rico||$1.3B||$1.0B||-$-0.3B|
|🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||$1.5B||$0.2B||-$-1.3B|
|🌏 Unknown Countries (Territories)||$1.4B||$0.0B||-$-1.4B|
|🇳🇨 New Caledonia||$1.9B||$0.2B||-$-1.7B|
|🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||$3.8B||$1.4B||-$-2.4B|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||$16.0B||$9.1B||-$-6.8B|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||$32.4B||$24.0B||-$-8.4B|
|🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of Congo||$16.6B||$5.1B||-$-11.5B|
|🇰🇷 Republic of Korea||$199.1B||$161.3B||-$-37.8B|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||$78.1B||$37.7B||-$-40.4B|
China had individual trade surpluses with the overwhelming majority of its trade partners: 174 of the 234 countries and territories listed.
These trade surpluses are especially visible in China’s trade relationships with many of the world’s largest economies, including the U.S. and India, with $401.1 billion and $100.3 billion surpluses respectively.
Meanwhile, a good sum of the country’s trade deficits are with major Asian economies. Its largest deficit is with Taiwan, primarily coming from integrated circuit imports. China also has deficits with Japan (-$11.9 billion) and South Korea (-$37.8 billion), the region’s second and fourth-largest economies respectively, largely due to electronics and machinery imports.
The country’s other trade deficits stem from fulfilling strategic needs. For example, China has deficits with oil-producing countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia. It also has a trade deficit with Australia, a key supplier of raw goods such as iron, gold, lithium, and liquefied petroleum gas.
China’s Evolving Trade Partner Relationships
China’s trade relationships extend far beyond just economic considerations; they reflect historical, geopolitical, and strategic factors as well.
Taiwan’s major role in the semiconductor market, for example, makes it both a valuable trade partner and a contentious rival. China considers Taiwan a part of its territory, while Taiwan operates as a separate, self-governed entity.
Likewise, China’s increasing investments in infrastructure across parts of Asia and Africa are starting to reflect growing trade balances with developing countries set to become major trade partners in the future.
As the Chinese economy evolves (and potentially weakens), its relationships with both allies and potential enemies may only grow more complex.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Charted: Six Red Flags Pointing to China’s Economy Slowing Down
We chart six red flag indicators threatening China’s economy and it’s post-pandemic recovery, as well as global economic growth
Six Red Flags Pointing to China’s Economy Slowing Down
The People’s Republic of China is the world’s second-largest economy, responsible for one quarter of global GDP growth this millennium—so when the country catches a cold, the world notices.
The past several months have seen an avalanche of bad economic news for China, putting the country’s post-pandemic recovery, and global economic growth, in jeopardy.
In this visualization, we look at six important indicators that point to China’s economy slowing down. Data comes from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the People’s Bank of China, and the General Administration of Customs, to see what is flashing red.
Six Red Flag Indicators on China’s Economy
China’s annual GDP growth rate has averaged 9% since 1978, when the country opened itself up to the global market under Deng Xiaoping.
However, growth seems to have slowed to a crawl, down to 0.8% (quarter-to-quarter) in the second quarter of 2023 driven by weakness in the Tertiary Sector, which includes retail spending and the troubled real estate sector. This follows a more robust 2.2% figure in Q1, which was driven by pent-up demand released by the end of COVID-era lockdowns.
On an annual basis, China’s GDP expanded 6.3% year-over-year, below the forecasted 7.3% rate.
Exports fell by 14.5% in July, marking the third straight month of declines, and hitting lows not seen since February 2020. Meanwhile, imports fell 12.4%, reflecting the cautious consumer mood.
On a regional basis, exports fell year-over-year to China’s three biggest customers, ASEAN, the EU, and the U.S., by 17.4%, 15.1%, and 20.8% respectively.
There was one bright spot, however: exports to sanction-burdened Russia increased 51.8%, but that wasn’t nearly enough to offset the overall downward trend.
3. Consumer Price Index
The consumer price index moved into deflationary territory for the first time since 2021, with prices falling 3% year-over-year. The decline was led by Household Articles and Services, Food & Tobacco, and Transportation and Communications.
At the same time, the prices that producers paid for industrial products (PPI) fell 4.4% (year-over-year), the tenth month in a row with a negative reading.
4. Youth Unemployment
And while the headline unemployment rate remained steady at 5.3% in August 2023, up slightly from 5.2% the month before, it papers over serious weakness for urban youth, aged 16 to 24.
5. Yuan vs. USD
Given the stream of economic bad news, it’s no surprise that the yuan fell to a 16-year low against the U.S. dollar on August 16, 2023 in offshore trading.
In an effort to stabilize the currency, major state-owned Chinese banks were seen buying up yuan in offshore money markets. At the same time, the spread between the fixed exchange rate set by the People’s Bank of China and the offshore rate, rose to more than 1,000 basis points.
6. New Loans
Adding to the dismal economic mood, people borrowed less money according to the most recent figures provided by the government.
New bank loans fell to ¥346 billion in July, down from ¥3.05 trillion in the month before. This was the lowest reading since late-2009, and less than half of the ¥780 billion economists had forecast.
Foreign Affairs recently published an article with the provocative title “The End of China’s Economic Miracle,” arguing that China’s troubles could be a U.S. opportunity.
And while this may be somewhat premature, the Middle Kingdom has some serious structural issues to contend with, many of them of their own making. Some of the top challenges include crackdowns on the tech sector, a collapsing real estate market, a larger debt crisis, and a shrinking population.
But large-scale government intervention does not appear to be in the offing, beyond exhortations for consumers to spend more and blaming Western media for engaging in “cognitive warfare.”
It’s no wonder that consumer confidence has plunged so low. At least we think so: the Chinese government stopped publishing that too.
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