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GDP composition in China 2018, by industry

In 2018, the industrial sector generated almost 33 percent of China's GDP. It was by far the largest contributor, followed by the wholesale and retail industry that was responsible for 9.7 percent and the financial sector that produced 7.7 percent of the country's economic output. Since China is the second-largest economy in the world, the industrial sector’s output alone exceeded the entire economy of Germany.

China’s export and investment-driven economy

China economic development of the early 2000s was mainly driven by investments and exports. A country's gross domestic product (GDP) consists of three parts: Consumption, investments, and net exports. Typically, emerging economies rely mainly on investments and exports for growing their economy and China was no exception. By the end of the 2010s, investments fueled more than 40 percent of China's GDP and exports were responsible for almost another 20 percent. In comparison to that, in most developed economies, investments make up only 20 percent of the economic output. Instead, the main economic driver is consumption. The economic structure in China created a huge industrial sector. For instance, China was the biggest steel exporter, the leading merchandise exporter, and exported more than a third of global household goods.

Great push towards transformation

In early 2018, the Chinese government proclaimed that the country's economy had reached a new development stage where consumption and services replaced investment and manufacturing as the main driver of economic growth. The fear of the middle-income trap and changing demographics were the main reasons for Beijing's emphasis on economic transformation. Although incomes in China had not stagnated, policymakers attempted to preempt “getting stuck” by steering the economy towards high-quality growth and consumption-focus. Furthermore, a society that was older and had a higher share of middle-class population had different requirements to the economy. In the case of a successful transformation, China's economy would become more similar to those of developed nations. For instance, the financial sector was the largest contributor to the United States economy. In the case of Germany, the service sector generates the largest share of gross domestic product.

Share of GDP in China in 2018, by industry

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Release date

June 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The source did not provide a date of publication. The date used here is the access date.

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Statistics on "Financial sector in China"

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