China Economy

By | June 4, 2021

Natural resources

China is very rich in natural resources. Bituminous coal, lead, iron ore, zinc and oil are mined, gold and diamonds are mined. There are also tin, copper and natural gas deposits in China. But electricity has to be introduced because China cannot completely supply itself with energy. Despite great efforts to expand hydropower by building dams (see also the Three Gorges Dam), China is not self-sufficient.

What is the Three Gorges Dam?

The Three Gorges Damis a huge structure with a height of 185 meters and a length of more than 2,300 meters. It dams the Yangtze River over a length of 660 kilometers. To build this dam, many people had to leave their cities and villages. It is twice as large as Lake Constance and measures an area of ​​1100 square kilometers. The dam is used for flood protection and electricity generation. The output should correspond to that of 16 medium-sized nuclear power plants. The resistance of the people in the run-up to and during the construction was very strong. But the Chinese government praises this project as an example of environmental protection, as it would not have to burn as much coal. Coal is a major contributor to environmental pollution in China. However, the construction of the dam not only destroyed culture – such as old graves and monuments – but also a lot of nature.


Only a tenth of the total area of ​​China can be used for agriculture, as a large part of the country is very mountainous. Yet 37 out of 100 Chinese work in agriculture. China is very successful in growing various products such as rice, wheat, corn, millet and oats. There are also tobacco, peanuts, soy, sugar cane and cotton. Pigs and poultry are mainly kept in the south and north, but cattle, sheep and goats are also bred. China is leading in the breeding of silkworms and has been asserting itself here for many centuries (see: silk worm breeding). Due to the coastal location, fish farming also plays an important role and the rivers within the country are also fished.

Made in china

According to, the most important thing for China is not agriculture, but industry. Most of the factories are in the east of China. China not only produces cars, planes, ships and trains, but also satellite systems, products for telecommunications and medicine. Another important item that is running is clothing. Very often you will find a piece of clothing that says Made in China, which means “made in China”.

Made in china

Opening up the economy

Since 1978 there have been reforms within the economy that Deng Xiaoping initiated at the time. Since then, China’s economy has opened up to the West. It was only through this opening that the Chinese economy was able to grow and become as important as it is today. Anyone who wants to found a company in China today is allowed to do so. You couldn’t do that for a long time. There are many rich Chinese who, however, have to get on well with the government in order to stay that rich. Many people still live in the countryside who have very little benefit from the growing Chinese economy; they continue to be very poor. China is one of the countries in which the difference between rich and poor is growing.


China trades with the USA, Japan and South Korea. Germany and other European countries are now just as important as trading partners. They import goods from China, but also export goods. The ability to deliver goods to China and earn money with it is crucial for many countries. The Germans, for example, sell a lot of cars in China. Even if you do not agree with the Chinese politics, which suppress other opinions, you do not want to forego the money. That is why many politicians hold back criticizing China. Very low wages are still paid in China. That is why German companies also like to relocate their factories directly to China, as they then do not have to pay the much higher wages in Germany.

Environment and tourism

Many people also work in the field of services and especially in tourism. Since the country opened up, more and more people want to get to know the fascinating nature and ancient culture of China. It is expected that China will be the world’s most popular tourist destination by 2020 – but only if it does something about the equally increasing environmental problems. They scare off foreign tourists. Due to rising industrial production and increasing car traffic, China is now struggling with serious environmental problems, especially in the larger cities. The smog is rampant, and people in the big cities can often no longer walk without a face mask.