Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province and a major city in western China. A thriving economic, transportation and communications center in southwestern China, Chengdu is also one of China’s primary manufacturing and agricultural bases.1 The city is part of the West Triangle Economic Zone along with Xi’an and Chongqing.2
Chengdu is mainland China’s top performing economy in job growth, foreign investment and high-value-added industries.3 The city has a land area of 4787 mi² (12,400 km²) and a population of more than 14 million.4 Accorded sub-provincial administrative status by the Chinese government, it has direct jurisdiction of more than 10 districts, five counties and four major cities.5
In the past 10 years, Chengdu rapidly developed its sophisticated transportation system. It hosts one of China’s busiest airports – Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport – and four trunk railway systems that start or run through the city. Chengdu is also an important center for education and R&D in China. Several prestigious universities are located in Chengdu, including Sichuan University, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, and Southwest Jiaotong University.6
Chengdu has a rich cultural heritage originating from the Shu Kingdom and the Three Kingdoms Period at the end of the Han Dynasty. The city’s unique architecture, scenic beauty, Sichuan cuisine and Sichuan opera attract tourists to the region. Chengdu is also the birthplace of the country’s tea culture and a major tea base in China.7
The economic growth of Chengdu’s service industry recently surpassed manufacturing. In 2013, services contributed to 50.2 percent of the city’s GDP, while the manufacturing industry contributed 45.9 percent. Chengdu has eight primary industries – electronic information, food processing (including tobacco), machinery, petrochemicals, metallurgy, automobiles, building materials and light industry. Collectively, their value added output in 2013 was U.S.$32.8 billion (RMB 251.8 billion) – a rise of 14.4 percent over 2012 and 86.3 percent of total industrial output.
Tourism is a pillar of Chengdu's service sector. In 2013, Chengdu welcomed more than 153.39 million visitors, providing revenues of US $19.5 billion (RMB 128.54 billion) (27.2 percent annual growth). Foreign exchange earnings amounted to U.S. $730 million during the same year, an increase of 16.5 percent over 2012. Chengdu is one of the top 14 service outsourcing cities in China and is among the world's top 50 emerging outsourcing cities.
In 2014, total foreign trade grew 9.3 percent reaching U.S.$55.32 billion (RMB 342.98 billion).9 Imports rose 16.7 percent and totaled U.S. $21.83 billion (RMB 135.32 billion).10 Key sectors of Chengdu’s economy which are easily accessible to U.S. exporters include the following:
Food and Agricultural Products 11
Fueled by Chengdu’s rapidly growing middle class, the demand for imported products has skyrocketed. Within the vibrant tourism sector, hotels in particular are avid consumers of imported food and beverage products. As an interior emerging city market, Chengdu has experienced less import penetration than other Chinese port cities, despite China’s burgeoning demand for imported goods. This provides attractive advantages to U.S. exporters.
Currently, U.S. exporters may find strong markets for the following agricultural/food products in Chengdu: Soybeans, poultry (especially chicken feet and wing tips), nuts, fresh fruits (oranges, California table grapes, apples, cherries), dried fruits (prunes and raisins), wheat, breakfast cereal, dairy products, seafood, spaghetti sauce/tomato products, candy and chocolate, baby food, premium ice cream, coffee and potato products.
During the past decade, U.S. agricultural exports to China have risen sharply, transforming the country into the fastest-growing and highest-value export destination for U.S. food and agricultural products. In 2011, China surpassed Canada to become the top U.S. export market. Approximately 16 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports are now to China. In 2015, food and agricultural exports totaled U.S.$25.9 billion.12
With its growing upper class population and strategic location, Chengdu provides immense opportunity for U.S. auto exporters. China's State Council recently designated Chengdu’s railway port as an automobile import port – the first in Sichuan Province.13 American automobile manufacturers and auto parts exporters could find tremendous business opportunity just as European automakers have found. Hybrid cars and environmentally friendly automobiles are particularly in demand. In 2014, China’s vehicle market continued to be among the top five performing export segments for the U.S., worth U.S. $136 billion (8.4 percent annual growth), but still showed a trade deficit of U.S.$125.1 billion.14
Machines, Engines and Pumps
Manufacturing provides more than 45 percent of Chengdu’s GDP. The city implemented a “1-3-13” development strategy, whereby the establishment of one modern industry system is enhanced by three levels of development, in turn promoting 13 industries such as electric information, automobiles, petrochemicals, and energy conversation. Consequently, there is a market for U.S. machines, engines and pumps, particularly for Chengdu’s aviation, aerospace and automobile industries. This segment is the top performer among U.S. exports, reaching U.S. $219.8 billion (13.6 percent of total exports) in 2014.15
The city of Chengdu has two state-level development zones. Each of these zones cater to the specific requirements of their investors.
Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
Ranking fourth among national hi-tech zones, the Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone was established in 1988 as part of the first group of national hi-tech development zones. Membership was extended to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members in 2000.
Chengdu Economic & Technological Development Zone17
The Chengdu Economic and Technological Development Zone was established in 2000 and ranks 25th among national development zones for comprehensive strength in China and 2nd in western China. The zone is hailed as the gateway connecting Chengdu with the Chongqing-Shaanxi-Guangxi sea-bound channel. The leading industry is automobiles (engineering machinery).
U.S. Commercial Service - Chengdu
4 Lingshiguan Lu, Renmin Nanlu Section 4
Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China
Tel: (86-28) 8558-3992/9642
Fax: (86-28) 8558-9221/3520
3 http://www.businessinsider.com/the-chinese-city-with-the-best-economy-is-chengdu-2015-9?IR=T ; http://www.best-cities-china.org/map.html
8 Chengdu Investment Guide 2014
11 http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Chengdu%20Emerging%20City%20Market%20Report_Chengdu%20ATO_China%20-%20Peoples%20Republic%20of_3-29-2012.pdf ; http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2015/11/0325.xml&contentidonly=true
16 Chengdu Investment Guide 2014
17 Chengdu Investment Guide 2014
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