Top 21 Manufacturing and Product Sourcing Centers in China
Updated: Apr 25, 2022
China's manufacturing cities offer a range of opportunities for those looking to buy or sell items in other countries. It all depends on what you want your business venture to entail - whether it is simply buying goods from factories and retailers, or setting up an entire factory with staff members under one roof, as well as distribution centers throughout China.
Retailers, wholesalers and importers are trying their best to source the items from China, but there is a lot that goes into making this decision. Which city in China would you choose if given the opportunity? There are many different cities with rich cultural heritage and plenty of opportunities for business growth.
You are about to embark on your journey into the world of manufacturing and sourcing in China. There is no better country than this as it offers you opportunities with its lower business costs and vast supply chain network. This guide provides an overview of the top 21 manufacturing and product sourcing centers. The city locations are broken down by province so you can select your desired location with ease.
It has been called 'the backbone of China' due to being a major driving force in the Chinese economy and being the birthplace of several notable persons. Electromechanical industries, textiles, chemical industries, food, and building materials are all important parts of its economy. Considered one of China's wealthiest provinces, ranking fourth in GDP nationally with a nominal GDP of CN￥5.62 trillion (US$849 billion) as of 2018, richer than the Paris region or Greater London.
Forbes has recognized Hangzhou, the state capital of Zhejiang, as one of the best commercial cities in mainland China on several occasions. It was well-known for attracting experts and entrepreneurs who work in the information technology business. It is home to the headquarters of international Internet industry heavyweights such as the Alibaba Group.
The city has developed many new industries, including medicine, information technology, heavy equipment, automotive components, household electrical appliances, electronics, telecommunication, fine chemicals, chemical fibre and food processing.
Diversitech Global’s hand and power tool designing, assembling, and packaging facilities are also located in Hangzhou with less than an hour’s drive from the busy Hangzhou Xiaoshan International airport.
Jinhua has an industry mainly supported by processing and manufacturing. Leading industries of the city include clothing and textile, mechanics and electronics, pharmacy and chemistry, manufacturing crafts, metalwork processing architecture and building materials, automobile-and-motorcycle accessories, food processing, and plastic ware.
Yiwu International Trade City is Jinhua's most well-known wholesale location of light-industry commodities with approximately 58,000 businesses offering a wide range of items.
Wenzhou is widely regarded as a gauge of the Chinese export economy by Western media because of its commercially driven population and business savvy; among other things, Wenzhou manufactures over 90% of the world's eyeglasses and vast amounts of footwear.
Food, tea, wine, jute, lumber, paper, and Alunite are all exported from Wenzhou. Electrical machinery, leather goods, general equipment, power supply, plastic manufacturing, textile and garment, transport equipment, chemical products, metal products, and metal processing are its ten key sectors, each worth over 1.5 billion dollars.
Ningbo has one of the world's busiest ports. Its surroundings, especially Putuoshan, are renowned tourist sites in Eastern China. It has been privatized, with state firms accounting for less than 20% of the region's GDP. Ningbo is home to Zhejiang's sole free trade zone and the Nordic Industrial Park, one of China's few entirely foreign-owned industrial parks.
Since the building of the Hangzhou Bay Bridge, which connects it directly to southern Shanghai, foreign and local investment has expanded significantly. Consumer electronics, textiles, food, and industrial equipment are now major exports. Tianyi Square is a prominent retail district in the metropolitan centre, and the local GDP per capita is around three times the national average.
China's most populated and 15th-largest province by area. With a GDP of 1.66 trillion USD (10.77 trillion CNY) in 2019, its local economy is the largest in the country and the world's fourth-largest sub-national economy.
5. Zhongshan City
The city is recognized as China's lighting hub and one of the world's leading makers of lighting equipment. Its shipping port is among China's top 10 largest container ports. By the end of 2007, the city had accepted more than 4,000 foreign-invested businesses with an accumulative actually utilized foreign direct investment of USD 8.41 billion.
Manufacturing includes mahogany furniture, electric household appliances, lighting fixtures, food processing, casual wear manufacturing, locks and hardware, and electronic acoustics items.
6. Dongguan City
Dongguan transitioned from an agricultural hub to a major industrial center in the 1980s. After Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Suzhou, Dongguan is China's fourth-largest export area. Dongguan has a thriving electronics industry, with 1 in every 6 mobile phones in the world being made here.
More than 10,000 high-tech electronic manufacturing factories are located in this region In the clothing sector, Dongguan is also a key participant.
7. Shenzhen City
The electronics market in China is so large and complex that it's often compared to an entirely different country. The main hub for this industry? You guessed it: Shenzhen! As such, most importing companies call the city "China’s Silicon Valley.". And its Huaqiang Bei wholesaler’s market has the largest concentration of electronics products in the world.
It had the 3rd busiest container port in 2017 after Shanghai and Singapore. It was third in the economic output of Chinese cities in 2018 behind only Shanghai and Beijing with nominal GDP of 2.42 trillion RMB.
8. Guangzhou City
The capital of Guangdong Province is the third-largest city in China after Beijing and Shanghai with a population of more than 12 million. For three consecutive years (2013–2015), Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best commercial city in mainland China. Also known for the bi-annual The Canton Fair (China Import and Export Commodities Fair), held since 1957, it has the largest assortment of products, the largest attendance, and the largest number of business deals.
Guangzhou is a crossroads for worldwide commerce. According to a China Briefing report from 2018, Guangzhou has over 30,000 foreign-invested enterprises, including 297 Fortune Global 500 corporations with projects and 120 Fortune Global 500 companies with headquarters or regional offices.
9. Foshan City
Foshan is a very dense and industrial city with very few foreign tourists. Foshan has been well known for its ceramics industry since the Ming dynasty and now includes furniture. In 2015, Foshan had a gross domestic output of 0.8 trillion dollars, pushing its per capita GDP beyond $10,000.
It has over 3,000 electrical appliance manufacturers and suppliers, producing more than half of all air conditioners and refrigerators around the globe. More than 30 towns in Foshan today specialize in sectors like furniture, manufacturing, and drinks.
10. Huizhou City
Huizhou was a peaceful Guangdong town on the Pearl River Delta until very recently (the 1980s). It has now become a hive of activity, drawing investment from Japanese, Korean, European, and American firms.
Leather shoes are well-known in Huizhou where many importers look forward to sourcing shoes from this location because of their high quality and rapid turnaround. It is now looking to encourage Automobile Production/Assembly, Chemical Production and Processing, Electronics Assembly & Manufacturing.
An eastern-central coastal province of the People's Republic of China. Its capital, Nanjing, is one of China's top provinces in banking, education, technology, and tourism. Jiangsu is well connected to the rest of China, and the world, via road, train, and air. The new high-speed CRH trains, in particular, connect Hangzhou and Shanghai to Jiangsu cities such as Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, and Nanjing.
11. Wuxi City
Wuxi is one of China's fifteen economic cities and one of the birthplaces of China's national industry and commerce. Wuxi is a regional economic hub with a thriving manufacturing sector and big industrial parks dedicated to emerging industries.
Historically a textile manufacturing center, the city has diversified into other businesses including electric motor production. It has become a significant producer of electrical motors, software, solar technologies, and bicycle parts in recent decades.
12. Suzhou City
Suzhou has developed into a significant hub for joint-venture high-tech manufacturing and now has one of the world's hottest economies. It is the largest single maker of laptop computers in the world. Many North American, European, East Asian, and Australian corporations have plants in the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) in the east and the Suzhou New District (SND) in the west.
Major industrial products include electronics, computer equipment and telecommunications components, power tools, speciality chemicals and materials, automotive components, pharmaceuticals, and much more.
13. Danyang City
With a total paid-in capital of US$1 billion, businesses from 32 countries and regions have invested in Danyang. Danyang has attracted both local and international firms as a rising city inside the Shanghai economic zone of influence. Prescription eyeglasses, optical lenses, tools & hardware, and vehicle components are the primary industries of Danyang.
Spectacles City is one of China's major eyeglass goods hubs. The market center was built in three parts between 1986 and 1986. It now has a mind-boggling total size of 344,445 square feet (32,000 square meters).
Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient and modern north-south and east-west trading routes has helped establish it as an economic centre. Shandong is China's second-most populous province, with a population of over 100 million people. Shandong's economy is China's third-biggest province economy, with a GDP of CNY7.65 trillion (USD$1.156 trillion) in 2018.
14. Qingdao City
Qingdao is a significant seaport, naval base, and commercial and financial center in China, and it is a major nodal city of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative that connects Asia with Europe. As the province's main trading port, Qingdao thrives with foreign investment and international commerce. South Korea and Japan, in particular, invested heavily in the city. There are about 80,000 South Koreans who live there.
Perhaps best known for its Tsingtao Brewery, it is also the home to electronics multinationals such as Haier and Hisense. To fulfill the needs of China's vast textile and cotton industries, Qingdao manufacturers create a wide range of textile machinery and tools.
15. Yantai City
Yantai is the largest fishing seaport in Shandong and is also recognized for its agricultural production of fruit, including cherries, apples, peaches, and pears, as used in Changyu Wines, the country's largest and oldest grape winery.
The Yantai Export Processing Zone is one of the Chinese State Council's first 15 designated export processing zones. With standard workshops of 120,000 m2 (1,300,000 sq ft) and bonded warehouses of 40,000 m2 (430,000 sq ft), the zone has attracted numerous investors from foreign countries and regions.
16. Jining City
Jining is located in the southwest of Shandong, in a coal mining area and is particularly known for its garlic produce. Jining is an industrial city, and in 2021, a record 67.87 billion yuan ($10.74 billion) in foreign trade imports and exports was made, up 24.6 percent from 2020. There are 1,758 enterprises engaged in imports and exports. Mechanical and electrical products and labour-intensive products maintained the two major exports.
Liaoning is a northeastern Chinese coastline province. It is the People's Republic of China's northernmost coastal province, with its capital in Shenyang on the northern bank of the Yellow Sea. Liaoning is one of China's most important industrial bases, with businesses ranging from manufacturing to electronics to metal refining, petroleum to chemical industries, and building materials to coal.
17. Shenyang City
Located in central-north Liaoning, it's the province's most populous city. Heavy industry has been a focus, notably aircraft, machine tools, heavy equipment, and defense, as well as software, automotive, and electronics in recent years. The services sector—especially banking—has been developing in Shenyang.
Automobiles, train carriages, and iron alloy dominate Jilin's manufacturing. Rice, wheat, maize, and sorghum are the most common crops grown there. Jilin possesses China’s largest shale oil deposits and is also one of its top five mineral reserves among its natural resources. It has also long been renowned as a significant pharmaceutical hub, with some of China's highest outputs of Traditional Chinese medicine.
18. Tonghua City
Tonghua has also become a centre for several Chinese pharmaceutical companies, notably domestic insulin producers. These businesses are mostly concentrated in the city's several Industrial parks, with 46 projects placed in these parks in 2012. The pharmaceutical business in Tonghua is seeing a growth in investment, with 27 projects valued at more than 100 million Yuan.
With a population of 63.65 million, Anhui is the 8th most populous province in China. Anhui's natural resources include iron, coal, and copper, along with their related industries. The province is home to an automotive manufacturer and is China's largest cluster of volume production facilities for household electrical appliances and a variety of electronic items, including global brand names.
19. Hefei City
The Economist named Hefei, the Anhui’s provincial capital, as the world's fastest expanding urban economy in December 2012. Machinery, electronics, chemical, steel, textile, and tobacco industries, to name a few, are all present in modern-day Hefei. According to the Nature Index, Hefei is the world's leading city for scientific research, ranking 20th overall and 6th in China in 2021. With many burgeoning hi-tech companies, it is also is one of China's largest artificial intelligence manufacturing centers in the world.
Chongqing is an economically significant and the largest municipality in China. Located in the West of China, Chongqing can refer to either the city, population of around 8.5 million, or the central government-administered municipality with a population of over 30 million. It is a key manufacturing and transportation hub, and it was named one of China's "13 developing megalopolises" in a July 2012 study by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
20. Chongqing City
Chongqing is China's third-biggest vehicle manufacturing center, including well-known global brand names, with the greatest concentration of motorbikes. Factories that produce locally-targeted consumer items such as processed food, automobiles, chemicals, textiles, machinery, sporting goods, and electronics are prevalent.
In addition, the municipality is one of China's nine largest iron and steel manufacturers, as well as one of the country's three main aluminum producers. A push to advance up the value chain by moving to high-tech and knowledge-intensive sectors has resulted in new development zones such as the Chongqing New North Zone (CNNZ).
Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
Xinjiang covers 1.6 million square kilometers (620,000 square miles) and has a population of over 25 million people. Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India all border Xinjiang. From its east to the northwestern boundaries, the historic Silk Road passed through Xinjiang. It is currently China's biggest natural gas-producing area, with vast oil and mineral deposits discovered in recent decades.
21. Shizhei City
It was founded in 1954 in the Junggar desert and boasts more trees per acre than any other Chinese city. By China’s standards, it’s a small city with pleasant locals who don't see many tourists. In Shihezi, the textile and food sectors are the most prominent. Near Shihezi, sugar beets are grown. Cotton cultivation was boosted in the 1990s, and the crop currently dominates the economy.
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China is the world's fastest-growing major economy. And with that comes an unparalleled opportunity for manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers - but where should you start? China is a country that offers many options when it comes to industrial cities and the cities that make up this list are all prime examples of what global manufacturing can look like to fulfilling demands for various products.
When looking for a manufacturing and product sourcing center in China, it’s important to make the right decision for your company. The 21 locations we’ve highlighted should give you a good starting point as you consider where to establish your business. By understanding the pros and cons of each area, as well as what type of products or services you plan to produce, you can make an informed decision about where to invest your time and resources. With careful planning, you can find the perfect spot for your business, so take the time to do diligent research.