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China Profile

Country Facts

Area: 9,956,960 sq km (3.7m sq miles)
Population: 1.3 bn
Capital City: Beijing
People: Han Chinese make up around 92% of the population. The remaining 8% is comprised of five minority ethnic groups.
Official Language: Mandarin (Putonghua) with many local dialects.
Religion(s): China is officially atheistic, but there are five State-Registered religions: Daoism, Buddhism, Islam, Catholic and Protestant Christianity.
Currency: Yuan or Renminbi (RMB)
Major political parties: Chinese Communist Party
Government: There are major hierarchies in China: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the National People's Congress (China's legislature), the government and the military. The supreme decision-making body in China is the CCP Politburo and its 9-member Standing Committee, which acts as a kind of 'inner cabinet', and is headed by the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. The National People's Congress (NPC) is China's legislative body. It has a 5-year membership and meets once a year in plenary session. However, in practice it is the CCP who takes all key decisions.
Head of State and General Secretary of the CCP: President Hu Jintao
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC: Wu Bangguo
Premier of the State Council: Wen Jiabao
State Councillor (Foreign Affairs): Dai Bingguo
Foreign Minister: Yang Jiechi
Membership of international groups/organisations: United Nations (including permanent membership of the UN Security Council), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF); Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC); Asian Development Bank (ADB); Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Economic indicators

GDP: US $6.9trn (est.) (2011)
GDP per capita: Int’l $8,394 per capita (2011 – source: IMF)
Annual Growth: 9.2% (est.) (2011)
Consumer prices: 4.8% (est.) (2011)
Exchange rate: 10.4 Renminbi = £1 (2011 average exchange rate)

China has been one of the world's economic success stories since reforms began in 1978. China is the world's second biggest economy. Official figures show that GDP has grown on average by 10% a year over the past 30 years with an estimate of 9.2% recorded for 2011.

The current growth model, and policy underlying it, remains heavily skewed towards exports and investment, with little emphasis on private consumption. China has started to adjust its economic policies to better promote sustainable growth.

The Government has highlighted its intention to:

Undertake more banking reform (and encourage banks to provide finance to rural areas and smaller firms)
Develop the capital markets (so firms can more easily raise finance)
Further reform of the insurance sector to expand the options available to consumers and
Provide a sounder regulatory structure aimed at promoting financial integration.

A growing share of China's economic growth has been generated in the private sector as the government has opened up industries to domestic and foreign competition, though the role of the state in ownership and planning remains extensive. China's entry into the World Trade Organisation in December 2001 is further integrating China into the global economy.

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