China's 2023 Cross-Border E-Commerce Hits CNY 2.38 Trillion, Up 15.6%

Financials Author: Yiru Qian Editor: Yuehan LI Jan 13, 2024 06:48 AM (GMT+8)

China's Report for Foreign Trade in 2023 is Here!


According to data released by the General Administration of Customs on January 12, China's total goods trade import and export value in 2023 reached CNY 41.76 trillion, a marginal YoY growth of 0.2%. Exports amounted to CNY 23.77 trillion, up by 0.6%, while imports were CNY 17.99 trillion, reflecting a 0.3% decrease. 

In 2023, China's export of electromechanical products reached CNY 13.92 trillion, a 2.9% increase, constituting 58.6% of the total export value. Labor-intensive product exports during the same period were CNY4.11 trillion, representing 17.3% of the total export value. Notably, within electromechanical products, the combined export of electric passenger cars, lithium-ion batteries, and solar batteries—termed the "new triumvirate"—exceeded CNY1 trillion for the first time, marking a 29.9% growth. Ship and household appliance exports increased by 35.4% and 9.9%, respectively, showcasing a shift from "Made in China" to "Created in China." 

In terms of business entities, the role of private enterprises strengthened, with over 600,000 entities engaged in foreign trade, surpassing this threshold for the first time in 2023. Among them, private enterprises, numbering 556,000, contributed to a combined import and export value of CNY 22.36 trillion, a YoY increase of 6.3%. This accounted for 53.5% of the total import and export value, a 3.1 percentage point rise, consistently maintaining their position as the leading foreign trade entities in China for five consecutive years.

Examining trade partners, China's diversified and stable economic relations continued to expand. In 2023, imports and exports with countries participating in the "Belt and Road" initiative reached CNY 19.47 trillion, a 2.8% YoY increase, constituting 46.6% of China's total foreign trade value—a record high since the initiative's inception. With the other 14 member countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), total imports and exports amounted to CNY 12.6 trillion, reflecting a 5.3% growth compared to the year before the agreement took effect in 2021. Trade with Latin America and Africa increased by 6.8% and 7.1%, respectively. In the fourth quarter, trade with the EU and the United States rebounded, reaching CNY 5.51 trillion and CNY 4.67 trillion for the full year.

Furthermore, emerging platforms and new business formats showed positive development trends. In 2023, China's free trade zones expanded to 22, with a total import and export value of CNY 7.67 trillion, a 2.7% YoY increase. As a representative force in foreign trade innovation, cross-border e-commerce achieved CNY 2.38 trillion in imports and exports during the same period, demonstrating a robust 15.6% YoY growth.