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Visualizing China’s $18 Trillion Economy in One Chart



Visualizing China's Economy By Sector in 2021

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Visualizing China’s $18 Trillion Economy in 2021

China is the world’s second largest economy after the U.S., and it is expected to eventually climb into the number one position in the coming decades.

While China’s economy has had a much rockier start this year due to zero-tolerance COVID-19 lockdowns and supply chain issues, our visualization covers a full year of data for 2021⁠—a year in which most economies recovered after the initial chaos of the pandemic.

In 2021, China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached ¥114 trillion ($18 trillion in USD), according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The country’s economy outperformed government targets of 6% growth, with the overall economy growing by 8.1%.

Let’s take a look at what powers China’s modern economy.

Breaking Down China’s Economy By Sector

Sector2021 Total GDP
2021 Total GDP
% Share
Wholesale and Retail Trades¥10.5T$1.7T9.2%
Farming, Forestry, Animal Husbandry, and Fishery¥8.7T$1.4T7.6%
Real Estate¥7.8T$1.2T6.9%
Transport, Storage, and Post¥4.7T$0.7T4.1%
Information Transmission, Software and IT Services¥4.4T$0.7T3.9%
Renting & Leasing Activities and Business Services¥3.5T$0.6T3.1%
Accommodation and Restaurants¥1.8T$0.3T1.6%

Industrial production—activity in the manufacturing, mining, and utilities sectors—is by far the leading driver of China’s economy. In 2021, the sector generated ¥37.3 trillion, or one-third of the country’s total economic activity.

Despite a slowdown in December, wholesale and retail trades also performed strongly in 2021. As the main gauge of consumption, it was affected by lockdown measures and the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant towards the end of the year, but still rose by double digits, reaching a total of ¥10.5 trillion*.

“Other services”, which includes everything from scientific research and development to education and social services, generated 16% of China’s total economy in 2021, or ¥18.1 trillion.

*Editor’s note: At time of publishing, China’s government seems to have since adjusted this number to ¥11.0 trillion, which is not consistent with the original data set provided, but worth noting.

Where is China’s GDP Headed?

China’s economy recovered noticeably faster than most major economies last year, and as the overall trend below shows, the country has grown consistently in the years prior.

Visualizing China's GDP Growth

Before the pandemic hit, China’s quarterly GDP growth had been quite stable at just above 5%.

After the initial onset of COVID-19, the country’s economy faltered, mirroring economies around the globe. But after a strong recovery into 2021, resurging cases caused a new series of crackdowns on the private sector, slowing down GDP growth considerably.

With the slowdown continuing into early 2022, China’s economic horizon still looks uncertain. The lockdown in Shanghai is expected to continue all the way to June 1st, and over recent months there have been hundreds of ships stuck outside of Shanghai’s port as a part of ongoing supply chain challenges.

China’s Zero-COVID Policy: Good or Bad for the Economy?

While every country reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic differently, China adopted a zero-COVID policy of strict lockdowns to control cases and outbreaks.

For most of 2021, the policy didn’t deter GDP growth. Despite some major cities fully or partially locked down to control regional outbreaks, the country’s economy still paced well ahead of many other major economies.

But the policy faced a challenge with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Despite lockdowns and an 88% vaccination rate nationally, seven out of China’s 31 provinces and all of the biggest cities have reported Omicron cases.

And China’s zero-COVID policy has not affected all sectors equally. Industrial production rose by more than 10% in the first 11 months of 2021, despite city lockdowns around the country. That’s because many factories in China are in suburban industrial parks outside the cities, and employees often live nearby.

But many sectors like hotels and restaurants have been more severely affected by city lockdowns. Many global economies are starting to transition to living with COVID, with China remaining as one of the last countries to follow a zero-COVID policy. Does that ensure the country’s economy will continue to slow in 2022, or will China manage to recover and maintain one of the world’s fastest growing economies?

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Mapped: Indian States with Cities Over 1 Million People

Ten Indian states—most of them from the northeast region of the country—don’t have a single city with 1 million residents.



A cropped map of Indian states and the number of 1 million+ cities in them.

Mapped: Indian States with Cities Over 1 Million People

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Slightly more than one-third of the 1.4 billion Indian population lives in an urban area. So where are the country’s most populous cities, and how are they spread across the country’s 28 states and eight union territories?

This map shows the number of Indian urban agglomerations (cities) with more than a million residents in each jurisdiction. Data for this graphic is sourced from 2024 urban agglomeration estimates in the UN World Urbanization Prospects.

Ranked: Indian States by Cities with 1M Residents

India’s Uttar Pradesh state has 10 cities with a population size of 1 million or more. It is also India’s most populous state, home to 240 million people. This makes it comparable to the size of Pakistan, the fifth most populous country in the world.

Indian StateCities with 1M Residents (2024)City Names
Uttar Pradesh10Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Meerut,
Varanasi, Prayagraj,
Bareilly, Aligarh,
Moradabad, Saharanpur
Thrissur, Kochi,
Kannur, Kollam
Maharashtra6Mumbai, Pune,
Nagpur, Nashik,
Aurangabad, Solapur
Tamil Nadu6Chennai, Coimbatore,
Madurai, Tiruppur,
Tiruchirappalli, Salem
Gujarat4Ahmedabad, Surat,
Vadodara, Rajkot
Madhya Pradesh4Indore, Bhopal,
Jabalpur, Gwalior
Jharkhand3Jamshedpur, Ranchi,
Karnataka3Bengaluru, Mysore,
Punjab3Ludhiana, Amritsar,
Rajasthan3Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota
West Bengal3Kolkata, Asansol, Siliguri
Andhra Pradesh2Visakhapatnam,
Chhattisgarh2Raipur, Durg-Bhilainagar
Telangana2Hyderabad, Warangal
Delhi*1New Delhi
Jammu & Kashmir*1Srinagar

*Union Territories. Figures rounded. Some city names may have changed since this data was published.

Further south, Kerala (7), Maharashtra (6), and Tamil Nadu (6) also have more than five cities with a million or more people.

Meanwhile, some cities, including India’s national capital, New Delhi, are either in or are themselves union territories—areas directly administered by the central government.

Ten Indian states—most of them from the country’s northeast region—don’t have a single city with 1 million residents.

All together, India has 65 cities with more than one million inhabitants. For comparison, China has 105, and the U.S. has nine.

RankCityState/Union Territory2024 Population
1New DelhiDelhi*34M
3KolkataWest Bengal16M
5ChennaiTamil Nadu12M
13LucknowUttar Pradesh4M
16IndoreMadhya Pradesh3M
17KanpurUttar Pradesh3M
19CoimbatoreTamil Nadu3M
22BhopalMadhya Pradesh3M
23AgraUttar Pradesh3M
25VisakhapatnamAndhra Pradesh2M
28VijayawadaAndhra Pradesh2M
32MaduraiTamil Nadu2M
34MeerutUttar Pradesh2M
35VaranasiUttar Pradesh2M
36SrinagarJammu & Kashmir*2M
37TiruppurTamil Nadu2M
43JabalpurMadhya Pradesh2M
44AsansolWest Bengal2M
45GwaliorMadhya Pradesh2M
46AllahabadUttar Pradesh2M
49BareillyUttar Pradesh1M
50AligarhUttar Pradesh1M
51MoradabadUttar Pradesh1M
55TiruchirappalliTamil Nadu1M
57SaharanpurUttar Pradesh1M
60SalemTamil Nadu1M
61SiliguriWest Bengal1M

*Union Territories. Figures rounded. Some city names may have changed since this data was published.

Interestingly, three of the five most populous Indian cities (Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai) were villages that became key British trading outposts. As a result all three cities have a fort within their city limits which acted as protection against competing colonial interests at the time.

Finally, Uttar Pradesh—which leads the states by number of cities with 1M people—doesn’t have a single metropolis within the top 10.

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