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Market Research in China

Given its size and growth, China is a market which is of huge interest to organisations looking to expand in Asia. We provide a full market research service to design and run online surveys in China. We work with international panel companies but also many regional and local providers of panels in China. If you are looking to conduct market research in China, Asia Opinions can help.
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Country File: China

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The Economy

GDP: $7.74 trillion
GDP per capita: $5,184
GDP by sector: Industry (46.8%);
Services (43.6%)
GDP Growth: 9.5% (2011)

China has experienced rapid growth in recent decades, averaging 10% annual growth. It is now the world's second largest economy behind the USA. China is also the world's largest exporter, and the second largest importer. However, GDP per capita is $5,184 ranking China in 90th position.

The path to China's recent economic success stem from the economic reforms in the 1980s, instigated by Li Xiannian and continued by Deng Xiaoping, to encourage capitalist development, while maintaing central planning and state political control. The state established economic zones, encouraged foreign direct investment and in recent years has moved tentatively to introducing private property measures.

The continued success of the Chinese economy has been dependent on being the world's largest exporter. In 2010 China's GDP eclipsed Japan, to become the world's second largest economy. The government has recognised the need to become less dependent on exports, and to develop a growing internal consumer market if the economy is to continue to grow. Growth rates of 10% are impressive, but due to the size of the population, such growth rates are essential to sustain employment and social harmony.

Its main export trading partners are US, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Germany. Major Imports are from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, US, Taiwan and Germany. Total exports in 2011 were $1.897 trillion and had imports of $1.664 trillion.
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Urban Population: 665 million (49.6%)





Total: 1.3 billion




Male: 683 million




Female: 645 million




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Languages & Ethnic Groups

Official Language: Mandarin

The People's Republic of China (PRC) officially recognises 56 ethnic groups. Over 70% of the Han ethnic group (which represents 90% of the population) speak Mandarin. Other languages and dialects include Shanghainese, Cantonese, Fuzhou, Hokkien and Hakka. English is widely spoken in Hong Kong and Macau. For written Chinese, PRC officially uses simplified Chinese characters in mainland China and traditional Chinese characters in Hong and Macau.
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Business & Consumer Culture

Market reforms in China since the 1980s have resulted in significant privatisation of industry. State companies now account for less than a third of total national output compared with half of 1990. Legal transparency is not at Western levels, but new regulations are opening up opportunities to foreign investors.

The average Chinese consumer is poor compared with the West and other parts of Asia. However, the size of the population means the number of middle classes in China is large and growing. The UN estimates China will have 1.4 billion people classified as middle class by 2030, compared to 365 million in the US. The government is actively seeking to encourage the growth of internal consumption which in the longer term will create a high consumer market. Currently, however, the consumer market opportunity in China is within urban areas among middle class people. Current estimates of the middle class range from 100 million to 400 million.

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Market Research in China

Currency: Renminbi (RMB) ; Units: Yuan (CNY)
Smartphone ownership: 6%
Internet Users: 456 m (2010) (34%)
Homeownership: n/a

Online market research panels are growing rapidly in China, particularly in urban areas. Asia Opinions currently can access 234,000 online panellists. Surveys need to be conducted in local language.