China home to 50 10-billion-yuan industrial belts: report

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Coffee machines are manufactured in a workshop of a home appliance company in Foshan, south China's Guangdong province. (Photo by Qiu Xinsheng/People's Daily Online)
Coffee machines are manufactured in a workshop of a home appliance company in Foshan, south China's Guangdong province. (Photo by Qiu Xinsheng/People's Daily Online)

By Li Jie

Different regions in China have developed specialized industrial clusters. 

For example, Baoding of Hebei province is known for its wide range of high-quality luggage, and Wenzhou of Zhejiang province is renowned for its women’s shoes. In Guangdong province, Shantou is a hub for toy production, Foshan is famous for its furniture, and Zhongshan is a leading producer of lighting products.

These regional industrial clusters have become the backbone of the supply chain, providing consumers with diverse options and products of excellent quality.

A total of 50 industrial belts with an annual turnover of over 10 billion yuan ($1.41 billion) were recorded across China in 2023, according to a report recently issued by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall Group. 

These 10-billion-yuan industrial belts are located in 21 cities including Jinhua, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Foshan, Jiaxing and Baoding, and engaged in a variety of businesses such as women’s apparel, furniture, mobile phone, skincare and jewelry.

The report studied cities at the prefectural level or above, and defined 10-billion-yuan industrial belts as those reporting the total annual transaction volume of over 10 billion yuan in certain first-level product categories on Alibaba’s Taobao, Tmall and 1688 platforms.

According to the report, the 50 industrial belts are densely located in the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta, which are considered the most developed regions for manufacturing and e-commerce economy in China.

Guangdong province, boasting a solid manufacturing foundation and strong advantages in commerce, is home to 21 10-billion-yuan industrial belts, according to the report. Cities in the Pearl River Delta including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, and Dongguan have particularly impressive industrial clusters in sectors such as women’s apparel, furniture, mobile phones, and digital accessories.

Jinhua in east China’s Zhejiang province, relying on “the world’s largest small commodity wholesale market” Yiwu, houses eight 10-billion-yuan industrial belts, the highest among all cities across China. 

The impressive performance of Jinhua comes from the strengths of multiple well-developed counties. Yiwu, known for its traditional industries in office supplies and sports products, has successfully tapped into the trend of new consumer demands, making it an outstander in the e-commerce era. In Yongkang, which boasts sports and outdoor industrial clusters, thousands of traditional lithium drill enterprises have transformed into producers of fascia guns.

Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province have five 10-billion-yuan industrial belts respectively, and Quanzhou in southeast China’s Fujian province has four. Baoding, with its luggage industry, is the most northern city on the list. Ganzhou in east China’s Jiangxi province is also on the list with its residential furniture industry.

Twenty-three of the 10-billion-yuan industrial belts are engaged in the clothing industry, the report says, and nine are in the women’s apparel sector. 

The women’s apparel sector in Guangzhou is the first super large industrial belt in China with an annual transaction of over 100 billion yuan, according to Taobao and Tmall data. Dayuan village in the city alone, known for its high sales on Taobao, has reported a transaction scale of over 10 billion yuan.

Besides, the report also nominated growth-oriented industrial belts with an annual transaction volume exceeding 1 billion yuan and a year-on-year growth rate ranking top 30. These industrial belts are located in 24 regions including Zhengzhou, Beihai, Xingtai and Ji’an.

Statistics show that the large industrial belts are mainly concentrated in the consumer goods industry, while many fast-growing ones are from the industrial goods sectors.

According to insiders, with the advancement of e-commerce platforms, production and processing links are increasingly shifting towards third- and fourth-tier cities and county-level areas. Besides, transaction costs are continuously decreasing, enabling different segments within industrial belts to collaborate on a larger scale. This trend is most pronounced in growth-oriented industry belts.

All the industrial belts mentioned in the report are an epitome of the integrated development of e-commerce and industries over the past more than 20 years. 

According to statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the total online retail sales in China exceeded 15.42 trillion yuan in 2023, an increase of 11 percent compared to the previous year, accounting for 27.6 percent of the country’s total retail volume. It is believed that more 10-billion-yuan industrial belts will emerge as e-commerce continues to develop.

The emergence and development of industrial belts also signify opportunities for domestic products and brand building. From April to November 2023, Guangdong saw over 12,000 new brands joining Tmall, representing a year-on-year growth of 49.4 percent. Zhejiang had over 7,000 new brands joining the platform in the same period, with a year-on-year growth of 51.7 percent. 

Skiing equipment emerged as the hottest sector in brand building in 2023. Domestic skiing brands like Nandn, Awka, and Snowline have seized consumer demand and become the top players in the industry. The market will see more brilliant performance in China’s industrial belts. 

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