The Australia-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry
of New South Wales






Beijing Municipality is shown as the small white square surrounded by the black area, which is Hebei Province

General Profile:

Population: 13,800,000

Area: 16,808 square kilometres

General information: Beijing is situated within the northern part of the Huabei Plain (華北平原)and is the capital of China, as well as the main cultural and international exchange centre. 

Average temperatures: -7 deg C to -4 deg C in January; 25 deg C to 26 deg C in July.

Physical features: The area contained in the municipality is mountainous in the north and west with flatlands in the southeast.

Rivers: Yongding River, which is a branch of the Hai River, flows through the municipality.

Administrative divisions: 10 districts and 8 counties.

Historical significance:  Beijing occupies a site that was inhabited since prehistoric times.  It was the capital of a feudal kingdom as early as the 3rd century BC and became a political seat of the empire under the Mongols (Yuan Dynasty between 1279 and 1368 AD).  Much of the city was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).

The city, at that time, consisted of the walled Forbidden City (residence of the emperors) and the Imperial City, surrounded by the rectangular Inner City.  To the south was the walled Outer City, devoted mainly to industry and commerce. 

Beijing’s influence was strengthened under the Manchus (the Qing Dynasty 1644-1911 AD), and was chosen as the seat of government for the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Famous scenic spots include the Forbidden City(紫禁城), which is the biggest palace complex in the world, Tianmamen Square(天安門), the Great Wall(長城), Yihe Summer Palace(頤和園), Lugou Bridge(蘆溝橋), which is mentioned in Marco Polo’s Tales, Xiang Shan(香山), Heaven Altar(天壇), the Tombs of 13 Ming Emperors (十三陵), Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum(毛澤東紀念館), and People’s Conference Hall(人民大會堂).

Natural Resources:

Beijing has considerable deposits of coal, marble, limestone, iron and copper ores.  The Jingxi Coal Field(京西煤礦)is an important anthracite production base within the municipality.

Economic Profile:




Economic Indicators





(% p.a.)

(% p.a.)

Gross domestic product (RMB bn)





Per capita GDP (RMB)





Disposable income per capita

  - urban (RMB)





  - rural (RMB)





Fixed investment (RMB bn)





Value added by sector

  - primary (RMB bn)





  - secondary (RMB bn)





  - tertiary (RMB bn)





Retail sales (RMB bn)





Inflation (CPI, %)



Exports (US$ bn)





  - by FIEs (US$ bn)





Imports (US$ bn)





  - by FIEs (US$ bn)





Foreign direct investment

  - number of projects





  - contracted amount (US$ bn)





  - utilised amount (US$ bn)





Notes: *in real terms
Beijing Statistical Yearbook

A report published by China Daily on 15 February 2002 stated:

Beijing, the nation's capital, is planning to achieve a 9 per cent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) this year in spite of the world economic slowdown, Mayor Liu Qi announced recently.

"Stimulating the development of consumer spending, investment and exports may be the core issues in achieving this," said Liu.

"We plan to push Beijingers' average income up by 5 per cent this year through the creation of more job opportunitiest," Liu said.

Sources from the Beijing Statistics Bureau said the average salary for workers and staff members in Beijing reached 18,640 yuan (US$2,245) last year, 2,290 yuan (US$276) more than in the previous year. Meanwhile, the per capita GDP exceeded US$3,000.

Fixed assets investment is expected to surge swiftly, thanks to the launching of a group of key projects - projects for the 2008 Olympic Games, infrastructure construction, old house renovation and traditional enterprise upgrading.

"We decided to use BOT (build, operate and transfer), project fund-raising and operation rights transfer methods to attract more foreign and domestic investment into such fields," Liu said.



Railways Beijing is the transport hub of China.  It has the most fully developed railway system in the country with direct services to all provincial capital cities.  Since the Beijing West Railway Station(北京西站)commenced operation in January 1996, Beijing has two passenger railway terminals and four freight railway terminals.  The Beijing-Kowloon Railways(京九鐵路)began operation in June 1997 and travel time from Beijing to Hong Kong was shortened to 29 hours.

Currently, the State Council is studying the feasibility of building a magnetic levitation railway system in Beijing.  A likely choice is a railway connecting the Capital International Airport with the central business district of Beijing.

Roadways The roadway network in the Beijing region was improved in recent years.  With the completion of the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangu Expressway(京津塘高速公路), road freight vehicles can reach the ports in Tianjin within two hours.  Other major roadways and expressways that are built in recent years include the Jing-Chang Expressway (京昌高速公路), the Beijing-Harbin Highway, and the roadway that links the central business district in with the Beijing Capital International Airport(首都國際機場).  The Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway(京珠高速公路)is under construction.

Air Transport The Beijing Capital International Airport is among the busiest in the country, providing access to more than 60 domestic cities and about 40 overseas countries and regions.

Planned expansion of the Beijing Capital International Airport, includes an additional runway, a new passenger terminal building and parking bays for many more aircraft.  Upon completion prior to the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the annual capacity will increase to over 50 million passengers

Telecommunications The city has direct-dial telephone and telegram links with all major foreign countries and regions.  The number of mobile telephone subscribers exceeded 1.5 million at the end of 1999.  Pager service, GSM network, Internet, Smartnet, as well as other networks and Internet connections are becoming popular.

A total of RMB 180 billion has been allocated for the continued expansion of telecommunications in Beijing over the next five years.

Environmental Protection – The municipal government plans to spend RMB 54 billion between 2003 and 2007 to complete 9 major environmental protection projects.


The agricultural land within the jurisdiction of Beijing Municipal Government produces wheat, corn, millet, potatoes, rice, peanuts, soybeans, sesame, cotton, silk, tobacco, pears and grapes.  Specialties include Miyun dates, Jingbai pears and Liangxiang chestnuts.


Major industries in Beijing include chemicals, motor vehicles, machinery, metallurgy, electronics, clothing and textiles, toys, household electrical appliances and food processing.  Beijing's woolen textiles, electronics and organic chemicals are especially competitive.  In 1999, Beijing's industrial output reached RMB 190.5 billion, an increase of 11 per cent over 1998. 

Beijing is keen to develop high-tech industries such as electronic information, biological engineering and pharmaceuticals; technology-intensive industries such a motor vehicles and electronics; and basic industries such as metallurgy, chemicals and building materials.

Rapid growth has occurred in the services sector.  During the 1991-97 period, the tertiary sector grew at an annual rate of 13 per cent, which was higher than that of the primary and secondary sectors.  In 1999, the added value of the tertiary sector grew by 9.4 per cent to RMB123.8 billion.  The tertiary sector has surpassed the secondary industry to become the biggest economic sector in Beijing, accounting for 57 per cent of the city’s GDP.

Currently, Beijing is trying to build a Chinese Silicon Valley that rivals the one in the USA.  In the next 15 years, the Beijing government will invest US$30 billion to build a “Northern Micro-Electronic Technology Base” in Zhongguancun, a leading High and New Technology Development Zone.  The government plans to construct 10 semiconductor chip assembly lines by 2010.  To boost investments in the zone, the Beijing government offers incentives such as no land rents for 30 years and tax reductions.

In 2000, Beijing's total external trade (imports plus exports) rose by 37.2 per cent to US$24.2 billion. Japan was Beijing's largest overseas market, followed by the USA, Germany and Hong Kong.  The city’s exports increased by 20.6 per cent to US$7.6 billion.  Major export goods included textiles and garments, foodstuff, carpets, colour TV sets, steel products and hand tools.

Beijing's imports increased by 37.2 per cent to US$16.6 billion in 2000.  Major import commodities were industrial equipment, textiles, light industrial products and chemicals. 

Science and Technology:

Beijing has the largest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning and scientific research in China.  There are more than 70 universities (including the Beijing University and Tsinghua University) and 560 research institutes.  The number of scientists and engineers working within the municipality exceeds 1 million.

Beijing New Technology Development Zone(北京新技術產業開發試驗區)

The zone has an area of 100 square kilometres and, was set up in the north-western Haidian District(海淀區)in 1988.  The centre of the zone was situated at Zhongguancun New Technology Development Zone(中關村新技術產業開發區). By the end of 1999, there were 1,100 foreign-invested firms in the zone, accounting for 17.7 per cent of the total investment of US$3.3 billion. 

In addition, a 3 square kilometre zone was set up in both Haidian and Shangdi to act as the industrial and experimental base.  The Shangdi Information Industry Base(上地信息產業基地), covering an area of 1.8 square kilometres, is an industrial park for mass production of high-tech electronic products.

There are more than 230 technical and research institutions with 378,000 technicians in the zone, accounting for some 60 per cent of the technical and research institutions of Beijing.  Information technology, machinery, new materials and new energy, new medicine and bio-medical industries are the pillar industries in the zone.

A number of large enterprises were established within this zone and some have been developed as multinationals such as Legend(聯想), Stone(四通)and Beida Founders(北大方正).  Over 60 per cent of 1,000 foreign-owned high-tech enterprises in the zone are in the field of electronics such as General Electric of the USA and Matsushita, Hitachi, Fujitsu of Japan.

Beijing Economic & Technological Development Zone(北京經濟技術開發區)

This has an area of 15 square kilometres and was built in 1991 in Daxing County(大興縣), along the Beijing-Tianjin Expressway to attract foreign investment.  The zone was approved by the State Council in August 1994 to be a state-level development zone.

By the end of July 2000, there were more than 690 enterprises in the zone, of which 205 were foreign-funded with total investment of US$1.9 billion.  Among with the FIEs, at least 20 are multinational enterprises from Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and the USA.  Those include Coca-Cola, General Motors, ABB, SNC and Matsushita.

Other municipal-level development zones include Beijing Electronics Zone (北京電子城and Beijing Electronics Zone Airport Scientific Area. Both of which are located adjacent to the Airport Expressway.

Consumers’ Market:

In 2000, Beijing's retail sales of consumer goods grew at the rate of 9.9 per cent to RMB 144.3 billion.  Attracted by the size and potential of the consumer market, new department stores and shopping complexes mushroomed in the past couple of years.  Retail outlets such as supermarkets, convenient stores, warehouse clubs have also developed rapidly.

Beijing's three traditional shopping districts Wangfujing(王府井), Xidan(西單)and Qianmen(前門)- are well known in the country.  Major department stores which have strong customer flows include Xidan Shopping Arcade(西單百貨商場), Wangfujing Department Store(王府井百貨大樓), Longfu Building(隆福大廈), New Dong An Market(新東安巿場)and the Friendship Store(友誼商店).  A new business complex, the Dongfang Plaza(東方廣場), one of the biggest business complexes in Asia, was opened in 2000.

Beijing was chosen by the State Council in 1992 as one of the 11 pilot cities where Sino-foreign joint venture retail enterprises can be established.  Two enterprises - the Beijing Lufthansa Shopping Centre(燕莎購物中心)and the New Dongan Shopping Arcade(新東安巿場)- are now located in Beijing.  In addition, two Sino-foreign JV chain stores Huatang Co.(華堂責任有限公司)and China Tuxu-Macro Co. (中土畜萬客隆有限公司)jointed by Netherlands Makro and Japan's Itochu were approved by the State Council.

Information Sources:

Information contained in this page was obtained from:

Hong Kong Trade Development Council (http://www.hktdc.com).

Additional Information:

The Chamber is in the process of maintaining regular contact with organisations in the Beijing.  Please contact us if you require additional information.

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