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  About China

Population & Geography

China, officially the Peoples Republic of China, is a country in East Asia. It is the worlds most populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion. The capital city is Beijing. China is the worlds second largest country by land area, approximately 9.6 million square kilometres, and the third or fourth largest by total area, depending on the definition of total area.


As of 2012, China has the worlds second largest economy in terms of nominal GDP, totalling approximately US$7.298 trillion according to the International Monetary Fund. 

China is the fastest-growing major economy in the world. According to the IMF, Chinas annual average GDP growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5%, and the Chinese economy is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 9.5% between 2011 and 2015. Between 2007 and 2011, Chinas economic growth rate was equivalent to all of the G7 countries growth combined. According to the Global Growth Generators index announced by Citigroup in February 2011, China has a very high 3G growth rating.

China is the third-most-visited country in the world, with 55.7 million inbound international visitors in 2010. It also experiences an enormous volume of domestic tourism; an estimated 740 million Chinese holidaymakers travelled within the country in October 2012 alone. China is a member of the WTO and is the worlds second-largest trading power behind the US, with a total international trade value of US$3.64 trillion in 2011. Its foreign exchange reserves reached US$2.85 trillion by the end of 2010, an increase of 18.7% over the previous year, making its reserves by far the worlds largest. China owns an estimated $1.6 trillion of US securities. China, holding over US$1.16 trillion in US Tresury bonds, it is the largest foreign holder of US public debt. China is the worlds third-largest recipient of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), attracting $115 billion in 2011 alone, marking a 9% increase over 2010. China also increasingly invests abroad, with a total outward FDI of $68 billion in 2010, and a number of major takeovers of foreign firms by Chinese companies.

Chinas success has been primarily due to manufacturing as a low-cost producer. This is attributed to a combination of cheap labor, good infrastructure, relatively high productivity, favorable government policy.

The state still dominates in strategic "pillar" industries (such as energy and heavy industries, but private enterprise (composed of around 30 million private businesses) has expanded enormously; in 2005, it accounted for anywhere between 33% to 70% of national GDP, while the OECD estimate for that year was over 50% of Chinas national output. The Shanghai Stock Exchange has raised record amounts of IPOs, and its benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has doubled since 2005.

In 2011, 61 Chinese companies were listed in the Fortune Global 500. Measured by total revenues, three of the worlds top ten most valuable companies are Chinese, including fifth-ranked Sinopec Group, sixth-ranked China National Petroleum and seventh-ranked State Grid (the worlds largest electric utilities company).

Chinas middle-class population (defined as those with annual income of at least US$17,000) had reached more than 100 million by 2011, while the number of individuals worth more than 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) was estimated to be 1.02 million in 2012, according to the Hurun Report. Based on the Hurun rich list, the number of US dollar billionaires in China increased from 130 in 2009 to 251 in 2012, giving China the worlds second-highest number of billionaires. Chinas retail market was worth RMB 8.9 trillion (US$1.302 trillion) in 2007, and is growing at 16.8% annually. China is also now the worlds second-largest consumer of luxury goods behind Japan, with 27.5% of the global share.

The Chinese economy is highly energy-intensive and inefficient—on average, industrial processes in China between 20% and 100% more energy than similar ones in OECD countries. China became the worlds largest energy consumer in 2010, but still relies on coal to supply over 70% of its energy needs. Coupled with lax environmental regulations, this has led to massive water and air pollution, leaving China with 20 of the worlds 30 most polluted cities. Consequently, the government has promised to use more renewable energy, planning to make renewables constitute 30% of Chinas total energy production by 2050. In 2010, China became the largest wind energy provider in the world, with a total installed wind power capacity of 41.8 GW.


Mandarin is the official national and most spoken language in China. There are also several major linguistic groups within the chinese language itself, including, Wu (includes Shanghainese), Yue (includes Cantonese and Taishanese), Min (includes Hokkien and Teochew), Xiang, Gan, and Hakka. Non-Sinitic languages spoken widely by ethnic minorities include Zhuang, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Hmong and Korean. Standard Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, is the official national language of China and is used as a lingua franca between people of different linguistic backgrounds.

Tourism & Scottish Culture in China

Projections for the numbers of international tourists emanating from China over the years ahead are dramatic. The World Tourism Organisation predicts that there will be more than 100 million Chinese tourists travelling worldwide by 2020. In 2011, the UK attracted around 150,000 tourists from China who spent an estimated £1.5 billion on their travling, whereas 1.2 million chinese visited the French shores last year, those figures has led the UK Home Office to review their Visa Policy. 

Golf is one of Scotlands great tourist draws, and thats particularly true in China, where the game is one of the countrys fastest growing sports with more than one million registered golfers, 200 courses in place and another 100 under construction. Chinese golfers are well aware of Scotlands status as the Home of Golf, not least due to the fact that 90 per-cent of Chinas green-keepers are trained by Fifes Elmwood College. China has been identified as one of Scotlands most important emerging tourism markets, with an increase in visitors from 7,000 in 2005 to approximately 11,000 a year over the past three years - worth on more than £7 million a year to the Scottish economy.

China is a top 20 market for Scotch Whisky with exports estimated to be worth around £100 million in total last year and its popularity continues to grow. Senior industry representatives are currently visiting Asia to further promote Scotch Whisky and strengthen trade links.

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