China’s foreign trade grows as both imports and exports rise

China’s foreign trade grew 8.6% year-on-year to 38.34 trillion yuan ($5.78 trillion) from January to November 2022, according to figures from the General Administration of Customs.

They show that the country’s exports rose 11.9% year-on-year to 21.84 trillion yuan, while imports were up by 4.6% to 16.5 trillion yuan. China’s trade surplus grew by 42.8% on a yearly basis, to 5.34 trillion yuan.

Trade with ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) was valued at 5.89 trillion yuan in the first 11 months, a rise of 15.5% on a yearly basis, while trade with the European Union was up 7%, to 5.17 trillion yuan.

And trade between China and the United States grew 4.8% year-on-year, to 4.62 trillion yuan.

Among the leading exports were household solar energy equipment, electric blankets, laser cutting machines and, more recently, products related to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to data released by Alibaba.com, Alibaba Group’s business-to-business platform that helps facilitate foreign trade.

It said sales of China-made new energy-related commodities have maintained triple-digit growth for three consecutive years. In the first three quarters of this year, the turnover of domestic heating appliances, including electric water heaters and electric blankets, surged due to the worldwide increases in the price of natural gas.

Zhang Kuo, president of Alibaba.com, said goods made in China are playing an increasingly important role in ensuring the stability of global industrial and supply chains.

The import and export volume of China’s cross-border e-commerce reached 1.98 trillion yuan ($284 billion) in 2021, up 15% year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs. E-commerce exports stood at 1.44 trillion yuan, an annual increase of 24.5%.

“As a new form of foreign trade, cross-border e-commerce has witnessed rapid growth during the COVID-19 and become an important driving force in stabilizing China’s foreign trade,” said Zhang Zhouping, a senior analyst of business-to-business and cross-border activities at the Internet Economy Institute, a domestic consultancy.

And according to a white paper released by online media outlets Sina News and Huanqiu.com, overseas consumers “have gradually boosted their awareness of and trust in Chinese companies and products, and maintained an optimistic attitude toward Chinese brands.”

 

Black Friday boost to sales

Chinese brands got a boost to sales due to the recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday online promotional events.

Smart home appliance products and sound equipment were particularly popular with overseas consumers, seeing a big growth in sales.

Figures from AliExpress, Alibaba Group’s business-to-customer platform, showed Chinese augmented reality goggles were the bestselling products during this year’s promotional campaign in overseas markets, with sales revenue jumping more than fivefold on the previous November.

In a further boost for its international trade, China and Saudi Arabia have signed deals for seven new projects, further expanding production cooperation between the two nations.

The projects, valued at more than $1 billion, include the food and beverage industries and the manufacturing of automobiles, new materials and intelligent equipment, according to a statement from the Guangzhou Development District (GDD).

“The China-Saudi Arabia cooperation in production capacity is an important measure for Guangdong province and the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in north-west China,” the statement said.

The GDD and Ningxia’s Yinchuan Economic and Technological Development Zone signed a memorandum of cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, witnessed by the heads of state of the two nations in 2016, opening a new chapter in production capacity cooperation.

The seven projects signed in Riyadh are from Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dalian, Shaoxing and Changsha. They will help further advance the cooperation between the two nations, it said.

Located in eastern part of Guangzhou, the GDD has attracted more than 4,600 foreign-funded organisations from more than 100 countries and regions, including 179 projects by the world’s top 500 companies.