China 2023 Economic Growth Breakdown – GDP Statistics and Targets by Province

Posted by Written by Giulia Interesse Reading Time: 9 minutes

China’s 31 mainland provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions have released their local GDP and economic indicators for 2023. The data reflects the nationwide recovery in economic growth in 2023, but with significant variations from region to region. We analyze the drivers behind the 2023 China provincial GDP figures and discuss the prospects for growth in 2024.

Over the course of January, the local statistics bureaus of China’s 31 mainland provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions (hereinafter collectively referred to as “provinces”) have released local economic data for 2023. The data, which includes nominal GDP, GDP growth rates, and in several cases – data on social and industrial development – reveals an overall economic recovery from 2022 as the country finally left behind COVID-19 restrictions and regained momentum in various sectors, marking a resurgence in consumer confidence and business activity.

Meanwhile, the provinces have announced their GDP growth targets for 2024, indicating a more moderate approach compared to the previous year – which partially fell short of expectations.

In this article, we analyze the economic data for 2023 at the local level and forecast how the prospects of China’s mainland provinces might evolve in 2024.

China’s provincial GDP growth in 2023

Local GDP growth in 2023 varied greatly from province to province. The provinces with the highest annual growth rates were Tibet and Hainan, which grew 9.5 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively, to reach RMB 23.93 million (approx. US$3.32 million) and RMB 75.51 million (approx. US$10.48 million). For context, China’s total GDP reached RMB 126.06 trillion (approx. US$17.52 trillion) in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 5.2 percent.

Inner Mongolia achieved a notable 7.3 percent GDP growth rate, followed by Ningxia, Gansu, Jilin, Chongqing, Shandong, Sichuan, Zhejiang, and several others surpassing 6 percent in GDP growth.

Most provinces experienced growth rates ranging from 4 percent to 6 percent.

Unlike the previous year, 2023 saw no contraction but positive growth across all provinces in China, with many even surpassing the national GDP growth target of 5 percent. This strong economic performance can be attributed to the robust recovery seen in key sectors like industry, manufacturing, services, and consumption. These segments rebounded strongly following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of the year. Overall, this economic resilience and recovery momentum propelled all provinces towards a path of positive growth throughout 2023.

In terms of nominal GDP, Guangdong province retained its status as the largest province in China, surpassing RMB 13 trillion (approximately US$1.8 trillion), and marking a 4.5 percent increase year-on-year. Following closely was Jiangsu, reaching RMB 12.8 trillion, with a 5.8 percent growth year-on-year. Notably, Jiangsu also maintained its leading position as the top province for the actual use of foreign capital.

On the other hand, the provinces with the lowest nominal GDP were Tibet (RMB 239.2 billion; approx. US$32.2 billion) followed by Qinghai RMB 379.9 billion (approx. US$52.7 billion).

Shanghai remained the single largest city in China by GDP in 2023, reaching RMB 4.7 trillion (approx. US$ 657.2 billion), and closely followed by Beijing, with a local GDP of RMB 4.4 trillion (approx. US$ 618.26 billion).

Nevertheless, despite various economic initiatives and trade opportunities, several regions in China faced challenges in meeting their growth targets in 2023. In the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, despite flourishing trade relations with Russia, growth only reached 2.6 percent, considerably lower than the anticipated 6 percent. Similarly, Jiangxi reported a growth rate of 4.1 percent, missing its target of approximately 7 percent. Henan fell short by 1.9 percentage points, while even Shanghai, amidst recovery efforts from previous COVID-19 lockdowns in 2022, failed to meet its growth objectives for 2023.


Local GDP (RMB, billion) GDP growth rate 2023 (%) GDP growth rate target 2024 (%)
1 Guangdong 13,5567 4.8 5
2 Jiangsu 12,822 5.8 above 5
3 Shandong 9,206 6 above 5
4 Zhejiang 8,255 6 around 5.5
5 Sichuan 6,013 6 around 6
6 Henan 5,913 4.1 5.5
7 Hubei 5,580 6 6
8 Fujian 5,435 4.5 around 5.5
9 Hunan 5,001 4.6 around 6
10 Shanghai 4,721 5 around 5
11 Anhui 4,795 5.8 around 6
12 Hebei 4,394 5.5 around 5.5
13 Beijing 4,376 5.2 around 5
14 Shaanxi 3,378 4.3 around 5.5
15 Jiangxi 3,220 4.1 around 5
16 Liaoning 3,020 5.3 around 5.5
17 Chongqing 3,014 6.1 around 6
18 Yunnan 3,002 4.4 around 5
19 Guangxi 2,720 4.1 above 5
20 Shanxi 2,569 5 around 5
21 Inner Mongolia 2,462 7.3 above 6
22 Guizhou 2,091 4.9 around 5.5
23 Xinjiang 1,912 6.8 around 6.6
24 Tianjin 1,673 4.3 around 4.5
25 Heilongjiang 1,588 2.6 around 5.5
26 Guilin 1,353 6.3 around 6
27 Gansu 1,186 6.4 around 6
28 Hainan 755 9.2 around 8
29 Ningxia 531 6.6 around 6
30 Qinghai 379 5.3 around 5
31 Tibet 239 9.5 around 8
Explore economic, geographic & regulatory insights, expert guidance, news, and videos featuring on-the-ground advisors that contribute to the Doing Business in China knowledge for investors, managers, or expats to understand India, and chart their path to a healthy business. Access here

Industry output and highest-performing sectors in 2023

In 2023, China’s GDP growth faced pressure due in part to a decline in industrial value-added output. Some provinces experienced a reduction in industrial revenue, prompting discussions about the challenges within the industrial sector. However, analyzing the situation requires a nuanced approach.

The broader industrial landscape of 2023 bore considerable pressure, influenced by sluggish overseas economies affecting external demand and persistently low levels of the Producer Price Index (PPI), impacting industrial revenue and profits. Consequently, industrial revenue encountered significant upward pressure throughout the year.

The most substantial declines in annual industrial revenue were concentrated among provinces ranked from 5th to 16th nationwide, which also experienced relatively sluggish nominal GDP growth in 2023. Fujian and Henan witnessed the most significant declines, with nominal revenue dropping by around 20 percent. Despite maintaining its 5th position with revenue at around RMB 5.65 trillion (approx. US$784.92 billion), Fujian’s gap with the top four provinces widened significantly.

Henan’s revenue decreased by 22.8 percent to RMB 4.65 trillion (approx. US$646 billion), losing its leading position in the central and western regions to Anhui and Sichuan.

Jiangxi and Hunan also experienced revenue declines of over 15 percent, resulting in a reduction of in revenue.

The revenue declines in provinces like Shanxi and Shaanxi, by 8.1 percent and 18.8 percent, respectively, were primarily due to falling coal prices and unfavorable semiconductor product prices, leading to narrower revenue streams.

In contrast, provinces like Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang demonstrated relative stability in their industrial revenue, despite facing significant downward pressure. These coastal provinces, with strong export-oriented economies, were more affected by weak external demand. Nevertheless, they managed to maintain a certain growth rate, indicating resilience in their industrial operations.

Guangdong and Jiangsu recorded growth rates of around 4 percent, expanding their revenue to over RMB 18.5 trillion (approx. US$2.57 trillion) and RMB 16.8 trillion (approx. US$2.33 trillion), respectively. Shandong’s growth rate exceeded 5 percent, with revenue reaching RMB 11.35 trillion (approx. US$1.57 trillion), while Zhejiang’s growth rate was slightly slower at 2.8 percent, but its revenue still exceeded 11 trillion (approx. US$1.52 trillion).

Provinces like Hebei, Shanghai, and Liaoning experienced marginal declines, largely within normal operational parameters, influenced by the decline in the PPI.

Anhui Province witnessed a 3.7 percent increase, with revenue reaching RMB 5.08 trillion (approx. US$705.74 billion), leading among the provinces in the central and western regions.

Broken down by industry, we can see that green energy accounted for the largest portion of China’s economic growth in 2023 on average, contributing to almost half (40 percent) of its economic expansion last year. Clean energy, which includes renewable energy sources, nuclear power, electricity grids, energy storage, electric vehicles (EVs) and railways, accounted for 9.0 percent of China’s GDP in 2023, a 7.2 percent growth year-on-year.

This increase in the share came mostly from the solar, EV, and energy storage sectors. The country’s solar sector grew by 63 percent, reaching RMB 2.5 trillion (approx. US$639.92 billion) in 2023, while EV production grew by 36 percent year-on-year.

Several other industries saw positive growth in 2023, such as the traditional manufacturing segments of automotive and electronics production, which continued to maintain strong growth throughout the year.

Retail sales of consumer goods on average reached RMB 47.15 trillion (approx. US$6.6 trillion), an increase of 7.2 percent over the previous year.

Provincial GDP targets for 2024

China’s mainland provinces have also released their GDP growth targets for 2024. In 2023, a significant portion of China’s provinces failed to achieve their GDP growth objectives, with notable underperformance observed in provinces like Heilongjiang and Jiangxi. Looking forward to 2024, 16 provinces have adjusted their growth forecasts downward, reflecting a cautious approach amid ongoing economic uncertainties.

Local authorities are shifting their focus away from traditional investment-led growth strategies towards fostering modern industrial ecosystems. They are prioritizing the development of advanced industry clusters and promoting scientific research to drive economic restructuring and innovation.

These initiatives are taking place against the backdrop of persistent efforts to address challenges in the real estate sector and manage local government debt. Some regions are highlighting their strategic importance in vital sectors such as energy and food production, with increased investment from the central government. Furthermore, there is a growing emphasis on the role of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to catalyze development in key sectors, such as technology.

Provinces that have adjusted their growth targets include Jiangxi and Hainan, which have decreased their targets by 2.0 and 1.5 percentage points, respectively, indicating substantial reductions. Shanxi and Yunnan have both revised their targets downward by 1 percentage point, while the rest of the provinces have all made adjustments of 0.5 percentage points to their targets.

Most provinces, however, have set their GDP targets for 2024 to exceed 5 percent, surpassing the general GDP target of “around 5 percent” announced during the annual Two Sessions. Tianjin stands out as an exception, being the only province to have set its growth target below 5 percent (at “around 4.5 percent”) – although this still marks an increase from last year’s target of “around 4 percent.”

Notably, Hainan and Tibet have both set their 2024 growth targets at approximately 8 percent, marking the highest targets nationwide, while Xinjiang is aiming for a growth rate of “about 6.5 percent.”

Nine provinces have set their growth objectives at 6.0 percent – including those considering “around” and “above” 6 percent targets. In addition, eight provinces are aiming for growth rates of about 5.5 percent, while 10 provinces have targeted 5.0 percent (also with considerations for figures “around” and “above”).

While Hainan‘s growth target for the current year is slightly less ambitious than last year’s, dropping from “around 9.5 percent” to “around 8 percent,” it still stands as the highest nationwide.

The island province encountered significant challenges during the pandemic, primarily due to its heavy reliance on tourism, which sharply declined due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. However, with the lifting of these restrictions, travel and tourism experienced a rebound in 2023, propelling Hainan to achieve the highest growth rate among provinces.

The establishment of a free trade port on the island, coupled with the introduction of various preferential policies, aims to further stimulate business activity. In February 2024, the government introduced additional changes to its visa-free policy, aiming to attract more visitors from countries like Russia, France, the United States, Brazil, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates. Under the revised policy, eligible visitors can enter Hainan for various purposes, including business, tourism, visiting relatives, medical treatment, attending exhibitions, or sports events, for up to 30 days. This marks a significant expansion from the previous policy, which only allowed visa-free entry for tourism purposes.

On the other hand, Xinjiang‘s ambitious growth target for 2024 is driven both by its past economic performance and its strategic initiatives. In 2023, the autonomous region emerged as one of China’s fastest-growing provinces, achieving record-high exports of RMB 246.57 billion (approx. US$34.25 billion) to Central Asian countries. Xinjiang’s regional GDP also soared by 6.8 percent in 2023, surpassing the national growth rate and demonstrating its potential for sustained economic development.

The increased cooperation with Central Asian nations, especially following the China-Central Asia Summit in May 2023, has unlocked significant growth opportunities for the region. Moreover, with backing from the central government, Xinjiang is strategically capitalizing on its strengths to drive further regional economic development. The planned establishment of a pilot free trade zone (FTZ) underscores Xinjiang’s dedication to fostering high-quality development and attracting investment.

Meanwhile, China’s top three economic provinces—Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Shandong—all set their 2024 GDP growth targets at 5 percent, with Guangdong aiming precisely for 5 percent, while Jiangsu and Shandong target growth rates “above 5 percent.”

Over the past year, these three economic powerhouses achieved notable milestones: Guangdong emerged as the country’s first province to surpass the RMB 13 trillion mark in GDP, Jiangsu proudly claimed the distinction of hosting five “trillion-yuan cities,” and Shandong’s GDP breached RMB 9 trillion for the first time. As a result, in 2024, the commitment of these three provinces to upholding stability and embracing the duties associated with their economic prowess remains unchanged.

Beijing and Shanghai have also established their economic growth targets for 2024 at “around 5 percent.” Notably, Beijing’s target for 2024 slightly exceeds last year’s “above 4.5 percent”. The Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission emphasized the necessity of stabilizing expectations and fostering confidence, as well as achieving crucial livelihood goals such as employment and residents’ income.

Regional development strategies

The interplay of regional development within China’s provincial growth landscape reflects a multifaceted approach aimed at fostering economic prosperity while addressing specific regional needs and challenges.

The last Central Economic Work Conference outlined comprehensive strategies to leverage each region’s unique advantages. This approach prioritizes not only economic expansion but also considerations such as security, innovation, and ecological sustainability.

Regions like the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Yangtze River Delta are spearheading efforts to drive regional integration and innovation. They are focusing on technological advancement, promoting collaborative industrial ecosystems, and enhancing infrastructure to boost economic growth and global competitiveness.

Meanwhile, provinces in the Northeast and certain central and western regions are prioritizing security concerns, particularly in terms of food and energy security. These regions are implementing measures to fortify agricultural productivity, expand energy resources, and enhance disaster resilience to ensure stability and adaptability amid external pressures.

Moreover, the emphasis on strategic hinterland construction and the establishment of pilot free trade zones reflects a forward-thinking approach to economic expansion. Provinces like Gansu and Ningxia are capitalizing on their geographical advantages to attract investments and create innovation in emerging sectors such as renewable energy and advanced manufacturing.

All in all, 2024 is a critical year for China’s economy to sustain recovery and achieve high-quality development. Provinces are targeting new productive forces, leading with technological innovation to stimulate new drivers and continue to strive for new heights in promoting high-quality economic development.

About Us

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

Dezan Shira & Associates has offices in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, United States, Germany, Italy, India, and Dubai (UAE). We also have partner firms assisting foreign investors in Australia, The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Bangladesh.