Total Area: 9,640,821 km2 (3,704,427 sq. miles)
Population: 1,339,724,852 (2010 census)
Officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), China is the world's most-populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion. As of 2012, it is the world's second-largest economy, after the United States, by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP) and is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods.
China is one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations and for most of the last two millenia was one of the largest and most advanced civilizations in the world, until the 1850s when the industrial revolution simply went passed it. It became known as one of the Four Asian Tigers along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore. Mainland China in the 1970s exercised reforms known as the Four Modernizations which in effect modernized the agriculture, industry, technology and defense sectors, eventually transforming China as one of the major powers. China is viewed as the source of many major inventions. It has also one of the world's oldest written language systems.
China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring 22,117 km (13,743 miles) from the mouth of the Yalu River to the Gulf of Tonkin. China borders 14 nations, more than any other country except Russia, which also borders 14. China extends across much of East Asia, bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Burma in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan in South Asia; Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; a small section of Russian Altai and Mongolia in Inner Asia; and the Russian Far East and North Korea in Northeast Asia.
Additionally, China shares maritime boundaries with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. The PRC and the Republic of China (Taiwan) make mutual claims over each other's territory and the frontier between areas under their respective control is closest near the islands of Kinmen and Matsu, off the Fujian coast, but otherwise run through the Taiwan Strait. The PRC and ROC assert identical claims over the entirety of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, and the southern-most extent of these claims reach Zengmu Ansha (James Shoal), which would form a maritime frontier with Malaysia.
Sources: Wikipedia, lonelyplanet.com
China's climate is mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which lead to a fairly strong temperature differences between winter and summer. In the winter, northern winds arriving from high-latitude areas are cold and dry. During summertime, southern winds from coastal areas at lower latitudes are warm and moist. The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's extensive and complex topography.
Sources: Wikipedia, infoplease
Since China's economic liberalization back in 1978, its investment and export-led economy has grown almost a hundredfold and is the fastest-growing major economy in the world. According to the IMF, China's 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, China's 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.
As of 2012, China has the world's second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP, totalling approximately US$7.298 trillion according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, China's 2011 nominal GDP per capita of US$5,184 puts it behind around ninety countries (out of 183 countries on the IMF list) in global GDP per capita rankings. If PPP is taken into account in GDP figures, China is again second only to the United States – in 2011, its PPP GDP reached $11.316 trillion, corresponding to $8,394 per capita. In 2009, China's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries contributed 10.6%, 46.8%, and 42.6% respectively to its total GDP.
It is a member of the WTO and is the world's 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 world's largest. China also owns an estimated $1.6 trillion of US (Treasury bonds) securities and in doing so, China is the largest foreign holder of US public debt. China is the world's 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.
China's phenomenal economic 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, and a possibly undervalued exchange rate. The latter has been sometimes blamed for China's huge trade surplus (US$262.7 billion in 2007) and has become a major source of dispute between China and its major trading partners -the EU, US, and Japan- despite the yuan having been de-pegged and having risen in value by 20% against the US dollar since 2005. China is moreover widely criticised for manufacturing large quantities of counterfeit goods; in 2005, the Asia Business Council alleged that the counterfeiting industry accounted for 8% of China's GDP at the time.
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 also increased its size and investments 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 China's national output, up from 1% in 1978. Its stock market in Shanghai, the SSE, has raised record amounts of IPOs and its benchmark Shanghai Composite index has doubled since 2005. SSE's market capitalization reached US$3 trillion in 2007, making it the world's fifth-largest stock exchange.
China's middle-class population (defined as those with annual income of at least US$17,000) has reached more than 100 million as of 2011, while the number of super-rich individuals worth more than 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) is estimated to be 825,000, according to Hurun Report. Based on the Hurun rich list, the number of US dollar billionaires in China doubled from 130 in 2009 to 271 in 2010, giving China the world's second-highest number of billionaires. China's 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 world's 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 use 20% to 100% more energy than similar ones in OECD countries. China became the world's largest energy consumer in 2010, but it still relies on coal to supply about 70% of its energy needs; if that is coupled with lax environmental regulations, it has led to massive water and air pollution, leaving China with 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities. Consequently, the government has promised to use more renewable energy, planning to make renewables constitute 30% of China's total energy production by 2050.
China is the third-most-visited country in the world, with 55.7 million inbound international visitors in 2010.
According to the WTO, in 2020, China will become the largest tourist country and among the largest for overseas travel. In terms of total outbound travel spending, China is expected to be the fastest growing in the world from 2006 to 2015, jumping into the number two slot for total travel spending by 2015.
China's tourism revenue reached $185 billion in 2009.
Even though English is becoming more and more popular in China, most Chinese people do not understand it. Some form of Chinese is virtually universal in China, with Mandarin as the standard form and many other varieties also in use; some, like Cantonese and Shanghainese, have tens of millions of speakers. Although many Chinese do not speak English, due to the educational system many Chinese near and in urban areas can read and write it, even though they may have difficulty with spoken English.
The top 10 countries which were the major suppliers of China’s inbound tourism for 2011 were as follows:
It is important to note that both China’s Inbound and Outbound Tourism figures are improving. Given the rise of personal incomes and living standards, the outbound tourism of China grows by leaps and bounds. Chinese people are eager to go sightseeing overseas which creates an immense market for some nearby countries. The popular outbound destinations include USA, Russia, France, Australia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Maldives, etc. In 2011, the number of outbound tourists totals 51 million, up over 20% comparing with 2010. At present, China has increased the number of permitted overseas destinations for her citizens to 140 countries and regions. A further and sustained growth of outbound tourism is expected in the years to come and leading to 2020.
Sources: Wikipedia, travelchinaguide
Car Hire in China with MisterHire.Com
First of all we would only recommend renting a car if you plan to visit a Chinese city centre or airport and planning to drive to a rural area or driving over long distances, as public transportation is not as advanced in China’ provinces. Sticking and driving in China’s cities is incredibly stressful and can be very dangerous, unless you are up for an adventure! Know also that you may be sharing the road with a mule while driving in China’s rural regions. This is not uncommon and should not unnerve you and it should be taken as part of your holiday experience!
There is a total of 3.5 million kilometers of roadways for driving in China, about 85,000 of which are expressways. China has spent billions of dollars on an extensive expressway system across the country. If you drive down one of these expressways, you may not encounter all that many other vehicles. The tolls on China’s expressways are so high for locals that many average Chinese citizens simply cannot afford them.
Aside from the expressways, there are also the so-called China National Highways. You will recognize these roads by their special nomenclature: G for guójia (national) and a three-digit number. They are important arterial traffic connections, especially in the eastern half of the country. In addition to the national highways, you might also discover provincial and country highways, most of which are definitely less well maintained.
As mentioned above, expressways are the most expensive, but also the most comfortable option for driving in China. They can be very pleasant to cruise along, as they have a speed limit of up to 120 km/h (75 mph) and they are rarely congested. In addition, many offer service areas, filling stations, restaurants, and even bilingual road signs for foreign visitors and residents driving in China.
In Chinese cities however, local drivers do not heed other cars or traffic regulations as you may know them from your home country on indeed, other countries. The rule of thumb for anyone driving in China’s cities is to drive both defensively and aggressively. Our dedicated purchasing teams compare prices across all the main suppliers and we present them to you Online with an inclusive insurance package so you need not search the internet for hours. Main associates include Sixt, Europcar, Budget, Avis, Hertz as well as some carefully selected reliable local suppliers to find you the best car rental rates possible, 24/7 all year round. YOU CAN SAVE UP TO 45% from each and every rental! Visit any of our pages and receive a concise Online quote today and see how much can be saved on your next car rental in China by using our services.
Book a rental car early with us in order to ensure availability of the selected car model, arrange all other details of your trip such as accomodation and flight and rest assure that for the car hire part, there will be a MisterHire.Com car waiting for you, wherever you plan to visit in China.
Sources: Wikipedia, Travelchinaguide
30-60 kph (18-36 mph) - in built-up areas
60-80 kph (36-50 mph) - on single carriageway roads
100-120 kph (62-75 mph) - on motorways