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Basic Information

Area: 9,598,086 km²

Calling code: +86

Population: 1,321,851,888

Official Language: Chinese (Mandarin)

Time zone: (UTC+8), Local time: 23:24


The People’s Republic of China is located in East Asia, with territory that spans 9.5 million km2, making it the 4th largest country in the world after Russia, Canada and the United States. It is also the world’s most populated country, with over 1.33 billion inhabitants, 43% of which live in urban areas. China has 22,117km of land borders and neighbours 14 countries. The capital city of Beijing is situated in the north-western region of the country, covering 16,801km2, with a population of 22 million. The city of Shanghai on the eastern coast, is known as a major commercial, economical and tourist area, thanks to its huge port, historical landmarks and important industrial zones. Other large cities in China with a population of over 2 million include Tianjin, Wuhan, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Harbin and Xian.

The country is divided into 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 2 special administrative regions (Macau and Hong Kong). China is a member of numerous multi-lateral organizations such as the WTO, G-20 and UN, it also has the largest standing army in the world. The currency used is the Chinese yuan (CNY).


China has one of the largest economies in the world, second only to the United States, based on its GDP purchasing power parity figure of $8.78 trillion. The industrial sector contributes the largest amount to the GDP, with mining and ore processing, textiles, apparel, petroleum, electronics, toys and transportation equipment being the most popular manufactured and processed goods in the country. In 2009 China exported $1.194 trillion worth of goods to the United States (17.7%), Hong Kong (13.3%), Japan (8.1%), South Korea (5.2%) and Germany (4.2%). The largest companies operating in the country according to Forbes, are Petro China (oil & gas), Bank of China (banking), China Construction Bank (banking), Sinopec (oil & gas) and China Telecom (telecommunications).

The agricultural sector is strong, employing over 300 million farmers in the country. China is the world’s premier exporter of agricultural products, and crops grown include rice, wheat, peanuts, tea, potatoes, cotton and barley. China has 10% of the world’s arable land, most of which is located in the western and southern regions of the country.


China’s large cities all have a modern and extensive transportation infrastructure, while smaller rural areas have a less developed system. There are 482 airports, and 57 heliports in the country. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), is the 3rd busiest airport in the world after London Heathrow (LHR) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and it handles over 65 million passengers annually.

A rail network spans the country and China carries almost a quarter of the world’s total railway passenger volume, on 77,838km of railways. Since 2007 high speed trains operate on over 6,000km of track, and the Transrapid Shanghai Maglev train can travel up to speeds of 431km an hour. There are 8 major metro systems in operation in the countries largest cities, such as the Beijing subway which has 147 stations and is 228km long. Roads and expressways are particularly developed in the western region of the country, and the road system transports almost 50% of all passengers and 13.5% of all cargo in China.

China has the third largest number of merchant marine in the world, with 1,826 cargo carriers, passenger ships and petroleum and oil refiners. There are 110,000km of navigable waterways and 8 major ports which serve the country: Dalian, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tianjin.


China has the largest workforce in the world, and in 2009 the official total labour-force figure was 812.7 million (CIA factbook). Over a third of the workforce work in agriculture, 33% work in the service sector and 27% work in industry. Most of the population speak the countries official language of Mandarin, and due to the large ethnic community a number of non-sintic languages are spoken, including Thai, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Hmong and Korean, while an estimated 10 million citizens speak English fluently.

The education system is operated by the state-run Ministry of Education, and nine years of free compulsory education is provided all citizens. After completion of primary and secondary schooling students can choose whether to further their studies in one of the countries 2,236 higher education institutes. Approximately 19% of the population continue with higher education, and there are over 20 million people currently enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. The national literacy rate is 90.9% - 95.15% for males, and 86.5% for females.

Business Costs

Office rental costs are highest in the Shanghai CBD, where it costs an average of $46.76 per square foot per annum, while in the capital city of Beijing rental space costs $43.53 per square foot per annum (Cushman & Wakefield 2010). Additional utility costs are minimal, and much lower than those found in the Western world.

Personal taxes are set on a tiered system depending on the amount of income earned by the individual on an annual basis - it consists of 9 tax brackets which range from 5% to 45%. The lowest tax bracket applies to individuals earning less than 500 CNY a year, while the highest tax bracket of 45% is for those who earn over 100,001 CNY a year. There are two rates of corporate tax, a standard rate of 25% for all domestic and foreign companies, and a discounted rate of 20% for small companies who fit specific requirements. VAT is payable on most goods and services at 17%, and a lower rate of 13% is available for books and oils. Small companies are also allowed reduced VAT levels of between 4% - 6%.

The People’s Republic of China has several minimum wages set, which vary depending on the province the individual works in. Currently the highest minimum wage is set in Shenzen, at 100 CNY a month, which currently converts to £102.121 a month.
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