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Zhongshan (Guangdong) City Information

Major Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators20172018
(%, y-o-y)
(%, y-o-y)
Gross Domestic Product (RMB billion)343.036.61363.275.91
Per Capita GDP (RMB)
Added Value Output
- Primary Industry (RMB billion)5.56-6.416.162.21
- Secondary Industry (RMB billion)172.494.81178.024.51
- Tertiary Industry (RMB billion)164.979.31179.097.61
Value-added Industrial Output2 (RMB billion)4.913.11
Fixed-assets Investment (RMB billion)124.858.7111.6435.51
Retail Sales of Consumer Goods (RMB billion)130.998.6149.0834.51
Inflation (Consumer Price Index, %)1.61.4
Exports (RMB billion)205.5616.6180.19-12.3
Imports (RMB billion)52.5910.953.992.6
Utilised Foreign Direct Investment (US$ million)5097.45273.5

1 In renminbi real terms
2 For all state-owned enterprises and other forms with annual sales over RMB20 million
3 The series on fixed-assets investment and retail sales were rebased in 2018, the growth rates were in real terms.
Source: Zhongshan Statistical Yearbook 2018, Zhongshan Statistics Bureau

General Background

Zhongshan is located on the west bank of the Pearl River estuary in the central-south part of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region. It has a total area of 1,784 sq km and had a permanent population of 3.31 million in 2018. Among all the PRD cities on the west bank of the Pearl River, Zhongshan’s GDP and total value-added industrial output comes second only to Foshan. It has been estimated that some 800,000 of all the overseas Chinese worldwide, including the residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, came originally from Zhongshan.

Under the terms of Guangdong’s 13th Five-Year Plan, Zhongshan has been assigned four priorities in terms of its future development. This would see it evolve into a world-class manufacturing base for modern equipment, while functioning both as a regional integrated transportation hub for the west bank of the Pearl River and a regional technology innovation and R&D centre. At the same time, it would also retain its role as a PRD boutique city offering a high standard of living to its residents.

The Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area supports Zhongshan to leverage on its advantages of having complete industry chains in enhancing collaboration and connectivity among industries in the Greater Bay Area; supports Zhongshan in unearthing and promoting cultural resources related to Sun Yat-sen; takes forward the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao youth innovation and entrepreneurial cooperation platform in Zhongshan; to support Zhongshan to take forward innovation in biomedical technologies.


Overall, the secondary industry is the lead contributor to Zhongshan’s GDP, although the tertiary industry has been responsible for a rising share since 2005.

Composition of GDP (%)

Primary Industry
Secondary Industry60.9
Tertiary Industry35.6

Source: Zhongshan Statistics Bureau

Historically, there have been a number of industry sectors where Zhongshan has seemed to excel, including home appliances, garments, electronics, lightings, furniture and hardware. One consequence of this is that the city is at the heart of a fully-fledged home appliance industry chain, one that includes the production bases of several of China’s home appliance giants, including TCL and Midea. In the textile and garment sectors, Zhongshan is best known as a production centre for leisure and denim wear, with nearby Dachong known as “China’s Cowboy Clothing Town” on account of the comprehensive range of denim wear it produces. In addition to these core sectors, Zhongshan is also a key player in the electronics manufacturing and audio electronics sectors.

To the northwest of the city is Guzhen, an area known as “China’s Lighting Capital”. As a sign of its unique qualities, the town has been designated by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development as part of the first tranche of “Chinese Towns with Local Characteristics”. Moving onto the furniture sector and Dachong, a town to the southwest of Zhongshan, has long been known as both “China’s Specialist Rosewood Furniture Production Town” and “China’s Rosewood Furniture Capital”. Completing the picture, Xiaolan, a town to the northwest of the city centre, is already established as one of China’s leading hardware production bases and is now looking to add to that by establishing dedicated industrial clusters for the manufacture of locks and gas appliances.

In recent years, the focus has been on developing the high-tech enterprises active in Zhongshan. The number of such businesses was over 2,300 in 2018, a marked increase from over 1,700 in 2017. In Zhongshan as a whole, R&D spending was 2.3% of GDP in 2017, this is expected to rise to 2.9% by 2020.

Under the terms of the city’s own 13th Five-Year Plan, the development of three new pillar industries is to be prioritised – high-end, innovative electronic information, biomedicine and semiconductor lighting. At the same time, an industrial cluster focussed around the needs of the yacht manufacturing sector is also to be established. Amid all this activity, many of the city’s traditional industries are also expected to transform their operations, with quality enhancement and brand building seen as the priorities.

Looking to the agricultural sector and it is anticipated that Zhongshan will look to develop a range of new, highly cost-effective agricultural formats, including initiatives related to leisure agriculture and tourism agriculture.

Foreign Trade and Investment

Overall, Zhongshan’s exports accounted for 4.2% of Guangdong’s total exports in 2018. Of Zhongshan’s own exports, machinery and electrical products represented 73% of the total in 2018, while foreign-invested enterprises contributed some 56% overall. In 2018, 46% of the foreign capital actually utilised by Zhongshan was invested in the manufacturing sector. In 2017, 45% of the utilised foreign capital came from Hong Kong or Macau.

Of late, Zhongshan has looked to establish itself as an integrated transportation hub for the west bank of the Pearl River. This has seen the construction of the Shenzhen-Zhongshan corridor, the Shenzhen-Maoming railway and its connecting lines all accelerated in a bid to boost transportation connectivity with the cities of the east bank. Ultimately, it is believed that this will make a major contribution towards facilitating regional transportation integration via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

In line with the goals of the 13th Five-Year Plan, Zhongshan will also focus on developing its trade in services. With this in mind, it will look to promote its cultural services, R&D and design, technology, software and international logistics capabilities beyond its established local market. To this end, it will also make use of a number of provincial-level import facilities, including the region’s bonded logistics centres, in order to boost the import of certain preferred commodities. This will be further enhanced by the establishment of a cross-border e-commerce import platform, as well as a number of distribution centres for imported consumer goods, which may also function as cross-border direct purchase outlets.

With regards to the travel and leisure sector, Zhongshan plans to upgrade the hometown of Sun Yat-sen, one of its premier visitor destinations, into a national 5A-class tourist attraction. At the same time, the region’s spa resorts, boating and health/medical tourism facilities will also be widely promoted, while the construction of more distinctly local townships will also be prioritised.



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