3. Liaoning Economy

Strong Growth During and After the Global Crisis

According to preliminary data, Liaoning realized a GDP of 1,827.8 billion RMB (about 276 billion USD or 203 billion Euro) in 2010. The province ranked about the same as the Czech Republic, and seventh among the 31 provinces and municipalities of China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan). Already in 2009, Liaoning surpassed Shanghai in terms of GDP, and confirmed its strong position among globally leading economic regions.

In 2009, the global financial crisis effected only the exports but had much less impact on the overall economy than in any other competing region both within China and globally. The chart shows GDP growth from 2004 to 2009. The following industries particularly leaped forward in Liaoning in 2009:

Total Profits and Taxes Realized Billion RMB Billion USD Growth
Building materials 9.3 1.3 + 35.6 %
Agricultural product processing 19.5 3.0 + 19.3 %
Equipment manufacturing 42.9 6.0 + 17.2 %

The registered urban unemployment rate in Liaoning was 3.7 percent in 2010, which was 0.2 percentage points lower than 2009, and lower than the national average in both years. This rate, however, does not include unemployment in rural areas.

Key Economic Indicators

Liaoning Key Economic Indicators 2009 2008
Million USD Growth Million USD Growth
Gross Domestic Product 220,547.50 13.1% 193,828.74 13.1%
Added Value of Primary Industry 20,712.93 3.1% 18,747.03 6.3%
Added Value of Secondary Industry 114,503.00 15.6% 108,164.03 15.5%
Added Value of Tertiary Industry 85,331.58 12.1% 66,917.68 11.2%
Total Investment in Fixed Assets 191,405.36 30.5% 144,261.42 34.8%
Total Value of Imports and Exports 62,920.00 -13.1% 72,440.00 21.8%
Total Value of Exports 33,440.00 -20.5% 42,050.00 19.0%
Total Value of Imports 29,480.00 -3.0% 30,380.00 25.8%
Amount of Foreign direct Investment 15,440.00 28.5% 12,020.00 32.1%
Budget Revenue of Local Government 23,290.88 17.3% 19,526.00 25.3%
Budget Expenditures of Local Government 39,256.33 24.5% 31,006.03 22.1%


The fertile land of the Liaohe River valley makes Liaoning a natural choice for agriculture. While traditionally associated with industrial development in China, the province is also a major agricultural, animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries base. Despite a serious drought in 2009, the agricultural sector has grown to 141 billion RMB (about 20.7 billion USD) with 3.1 percent growth rate. Meat production has increased to over 4 million tons with 7 percent growth while grain output dropped 14.5 percent because of the drought.


In 2009, the secondary sector grew 15.6 percent to 782 billion RMB (114 billion USD). Equipment manufacturing, including general equipment, transport equipment and electric machinery, increased 18.3 percent, accounting to one third of industrial value. Metallurgy and petrochemical industry grew 23.8 percent and 6.8 percent, agricultural processing climbed 24 percent. Production of automobiles and steel ships grew over 50 percent.

Service Sector

Liaoning has a long history of service sector activity and is the key logistical hub for all of Northeast China. In 2009, the service sector has developed rapidly and reached a value of 85.3 billion USD. Financial services, particularly banking and insurance have developed well in recent years with support from the State. Loans in Renminbi and foreign exchange of the financial institutions reached over 1,622 billion RMB (about 237 billion USD) with 11 percent increase, while savings deposits totaled 2,335 billion RMB (341 billion USD) with 6.8 percent growth. The logistics sector increased by over 11 percent and sales of the real estate industry grew by 41 percent.

Foreign Trade and Investment

Liaoning has maintained trade ties with 208 countries and regions. Exports particularly remained strong to Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the European Union, and the United States. In 2008, imports and exports of Liaoning reached 72.4 billion USD with a 21.8 percent increase. Specifically, exports grew by over 42 billion USD, accounting for 58 percent of the total foreign trade volume.

In 2009, foreign investment was USD 15.4 billion, 28.5 percent more than in 2008. Liaoning remained No. 3 in attracting foreign investment in China, following Jiangsu and Guangdong. Meanwhile, domestic investment even climbed up 30 percent to 250 billion RMB (about 36.6 billion USD). Liaoning is becoming a more and more attractive location for investment, specifically in electromechanical products, high-tech products and in the service sector. Hong Kong investors have poured in business in Liaoning, accounting for over 50 percent of total foreign investment. Trade activities are undertaken primarily with northeast Asian countries, particularly with Japan and South Korea, which accounted for 20 percent and 10 percent of the total in 2009.

Industries Foreign Direct Investment in 2009 Growth
Secondary Sector 7.4 billion USD + 30.5 %
Tertiary Sector 7.9 billion USD + 27.6 %
Total 15.4 billion USD + 28.5 %

Business seeking inroads into China via Liaoning also benefit from the province’s own market. In 2008, retail consumption amounted to about 70 billion USD, with 22 percent annual increase. In recent years, Liaoning enterprises also invested more and more overseas. In 2009, they invested a total of USD 1,040 million, including project and labor contracts. More than 74,000 Liaons worked overseas under such contracts.

Foreign Trade of Liaoning with the North East Asian Countries 2009

Value of Import and Export (million USD) and Share of Totals

Total % Export % Import %
Total 62,924.99 100.00 33,441.42 100.00 29,483.57 100.00
Japan 12,136.38 19.29 7,710.15 23.06 4,426.23 15.01
South Korea 5,929.08 9.42 3,332.57 9.97 2,596.51 8.81
DPRK 1,159.29 1.84 754.65 2.26 404.64 1.37
Russia 1,106.25 1.76 504.10 1.51 602.15 2.04

Ranking of Liaoning in China

The system of official national and regional statistics in China is developing fast and its reliability is constantly improving. Especially comparisons between regions are a good information basis for decision-making, since discrepancies in data reporting may be assumed to be evenly distributed across the country. Absolute numbers of some statistical criteria are often less relevant than a ranking among regions, which for the purpose of this business guide includes the 31 provinces, province-level cities and autonomous regions of China, but excludes Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Liaoning ranks 14th in population and 21st in land area, but its GDP was the 8th highest of China in 2008 and even moved up to 7th position in 2009, leaving Shanghai behind. The following list shows the ranking of Liaoning in several criteria, with ranks higher than 14 (population ranking) marked in green to show an above-average performance. All data is for 2008 unless otherwise indicated.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Rank GDP Growth and Indicators Rank
GDP 2008 8 Real Growth 2008 7
GDP 2009 7 Real Growth 2009 10
GDP Primary Sector 11 GDP per Capita 9
GDP Secondary Sector 7 Share of GDP Primary Sector 23
Industry 7 Share of GDP Secondary Sector 6
Construction 8 Share of GDP Tertiary Sector 21
GDP Tertiary Sector 9 Wages, Salaries, Earnings Rank
Transport, Storage and Post 9
Wholesale and Retail Trades 6 Average Wages 10
Hotels and Catering Services 9 Average Earnings in Urban Units 10
Financial Intermediation 12 Wages in State-owned Enterprises 8
Real Estate 11 Wages in Collective Enterprises 8
Others 12 Wages in Private, Other Enterprises 9
Transportation Networks Rank Large Industrial Enterprises Rank
Transport Volume Railways 4 Number of Enterprises 5
Transport Volume Expressways 7 Fixed Assets 5
Transport Volume Highways 21 Taxes Paid 8
Transport Volume Waterways 23 Employed Persons 7
Foreign Trade Rank Foreign Visitors Rank
Total Exports 2007 9 1995 13
Total Exports 2008 9 2000 10
Total Imports 2007 9 2007 7
Total Imports 2008 8 2008 6
Foreign Invested Enterprises (FIE) Rank Exports and Imports of FIE Rank
Number of Enterprises 8 Exports 9
Investment 5 Imports 9
Total Registered Capital 5 FIE Share of Total Exports 8
Regist. Capital of Foreign Investors 5 FIE Share of Total Imports 11


Natural Resources

Liaoning has 115 different mineral resources, 69 of them with proven reserves. Reserves of iron, boron, magnetite, diamond, talcum, jade, and solvent limestone rank first in China. The province is also rich in nonferrous metals such as gold, silver, copper, aluminum, and zinc as well as non-metallic minerals like asbestos. Oil and gas reserves of the Liaohe oil field account for 15 percent and 10 percent of the nation’s total, crude oil production ranks third in China.

Liaoning has 3.9 million hectares of woodland and a forest coverage of 28.7 percent. Grassland, grass hills and grass slopes total an area of 2.3 million hectares, suitable for the development of animal husbandry.

The Liaoning coastline is rich in prawn, abalone, scallops, sea cucumber and other precious marine products. The province abounds in rice, wheat, corn, sorghum, soybean, peanut, cotton, and sunflower. The Eastern Liaoning Peninsula and the western hilly regions are important production bases for fruits, ginseng and other traditional edible plant favorites, with a high production volume.

As one of China’s five major salt producing regions, Liaoning has more than 66,000 square kilometers of salt fields. The coastal region of Panjin and Yingkou has close to 670 square kilometers of reed pond, an important raw material for the paper industry.

R&D and Innovation

Liaoning has built a strong reputation in science, technology and education. Well developed links between enterprises, universities, and R&D institutions ensure a smooth and efficient technology transfer with practical, marketable innovations and product development matching demand. Liaoning is where applied research enters the market. There are 619 research and development engineering laboratories and 535 alliances established among enterprises, universities and R&D institutions. Over 12,000 patents were issued in 2009.

The business of Liaoning is diverse and dynamic, one tenth of China’s industrial enterprises are located here. They range from heavy industries to state-of-the-art companies in key development sectors, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and information technology. The Northeast automotive cluster is one of the largest in China, growing at a rate that is set to rival and surpass South China and Shanghai. Key global investors in the sector include BMW, General Motors, Toyota and VW.

New high technology enterprises continue to locate and develop in Liaoning, and centers of excellence have been established in many cities to cater for their specific needs. Most notable are the hi-tech incubator parks in Shenyang and Dalian, which, through the provision of essential services, encourage and support the development of new science and technology businesses. Special provision is made for overseas businesses or for scholars to establish business within these complexes, to share ideas and to co-operate. In 2008, the added value of hi-tech products reached over 247.3 billion RMB (about 35 billion USD), with 23 percent annual increase.

Human Resources and Remuneration

Liaoning has a well-educated workforce. Young Liaons have a choice of 69 universities and colleges to get their degrees in sciences, arts, engineering, agriculture, medicine and finance. More than 200,000 graduate, 21,000 post graduate and 76,000 postgraduate and doctorate students are on campus. Top universities of Liaoning with a nationwide reputation are Dalian Technical University, Northeastern University, Dalian Maritime University, Liaoning University, Dalian University and Shenyang University.

University graduates are said to be more regionally flexible than blue collar workers. As one of the industrial fundaments of China, Liaoning needs – even more urgently than university graduates – a large number of highly skilled workers. Liaons receive their vocational education at 142 vocational and technical schools with more than 180,000 graduates per year. In recent years, strong support has been given by the State to promote high-quality vocational education and training (VET), including tuition fee waiving and assistance. Liaoning has taken advantage of the national policy and developed into one of the model regions of China for vocational training. Especially the vocational schools of Shenyang, Dalian and Anshan are among the best in the country. Some of them have long-term cooperations with Germany and adopted parts of the “dual system”, globally recognized as exemplary in combining practical training in enterprises with theoretical education at school.

In a recent selection by the Ministry of Education, no province had more institutions appointed as model schools for national vocational reform than Liaoning. The Shenyang Automotive Engineering School is a national model school for professions in car manufacturing and repair, the Dalian Computer Vocational School for professions in computer applications, the Shenyang Foreign Service School for professions in hotel management and services, and the Benxi Chemical Industry School is a model school for laboratory specialists and other analytical industry professions.

In 2008, the average salaries and wages of working employees in Liaoning stood at 27,729 RMB (about 3,984 USD). Average salaries in foreign invested enterprises (FIE) were no higher than the level for all enterprises. Liaoning has a first-class workforce, while employers just need to pay medium-level wages compared with other parts of China like Guangdong or Jiangsu. Latest statistics of 2010 show that minimum wages of Liaoning are among the lowest in the coastal provinces of China.


Tourist Attractions

The province is rich in tourist attractions, and six of them have been listed by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage. The most visited sites are located primarily close to or within the cities of Shenyang, Dalian, Anshan, Fushun, Benxi, Dandong and Jinzhou. Main attractions include:

Visitors 2008 Chinese Foreigners
Shenyang 51,610,000 476,357
Dalian 30,000,000 950,045
Anshan 15,300,000 155,055
Fushun 12,200,000 77,201
Benxi 13,900,000 217,816
Dandong 14,200,000 190,762
Jinzhou 8,700,000 114,820
Yingkou 5,850,000 49,670
Fuxin 3,410,000 10,953
Liaoyang 10,300,000 18,080
Panjin 9,800,000 82,110
Tieling 7,200,000 33,054
Chaoyang 7,090,000 7,563
Huludao 8,800,000 35,221
2008 198,360,000 2,418,707
2009 241,948,000 2,507,000

The Great Wall on water (Huludao Jiumenkou Great Wall), UNESCO World Cultural Heritage

Shenyang Imperial Palace (Mukden Palace), UNESCO World Cultural Heritage

Fu and Zhao Tombs of Beiling in Shenyang, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage

Yongling Tomb in Fushun, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage

World’s Largest Jade Buddha, Temple in Anshan

Benxi Water Cave, one of the largest underground water caves in Asia

Dalian Tiger Beach Aquarium, the world’s biggest aquarium of polar animals

Dalian Jinshitan Golf Course

Shenyang Ancient Aerolite (Meteorite)

Panjin Shuangtaizi Natural Protection Zone of Marsh, the world’s second biggest field of reed and home to a large number of cranes.

Tourism to Liaoning developed rapidly in recent years. More visitors are coming as people discover the attractions of the region and the warm welcome offered by the Liaons. The province has much to offer, investors and residents alike, you just have to explore. The promotion of tourism is also part of the regional development strategy, and more and more as of yet undiscovered sites will be easy to reach.

For summer sun, the best time to travel is from May to October. If you prefer winter sports or like to witness unique ice festivals, January and February are the months to visit. There is something for everyone in Liaoning!

Folk Art, Food and Features

Famous among Liaons are the “five favorite” products: sea cucumber, kelp (seaweed), magnolia trees, amber craft of Fushun, and silk flowers. Local natural, agricultural and aquacultural products include Liaoning apples, autumn white pears, hazelnuts, hawthorn, shrimps, clams, abalone, scallops, mink, sable, Chinese Tasar Moth (Antheraea Pernyi), Tussah silk, spine date seed, tobacco, Schisandra shrubs, ginseng, deer antler, and wild ginger leaves (Asarum). Famous Liaoning creations are the Fushun coal sculptures, the feather paintings of Shenyang Imperial Palace, Dalian crystal products, Anshan jade, Benxi ink stone, Fuxin marble, and agate fossils in western Liaoning.

Liaoning cuisine is a major branch of the eight traditional Chinese styles, based on Manchu and northern China dishes. The western favorite “spring rolls” and “Jiaozi” (steamed, cooked, or fried ravioli-like dumplings with hundreds of different fillings) are typical provincial dishes, others include fried shrimp, hot pot, fried sea cucumber, chicken wings, and pancake with smoked meat. Typical home cooking of the Liaons includes sauerkraut, potatoes, and a variety of dishes with corn.

Transportation and Telecommunication


Liaoning is a main artery of traffic between Northeast China and the rest of the country, and also a gateway connecting Northeast China with Inner Mongolia and the rest of the world as well as the Eurasian continental bridge. It embraces the seaports of Dalian, Yingkou, Dandong, Jinzhou, and Huludao, which have opened navigation routes with over 140 countries and regions of the five continents.

Six airports, Shenyang, Dalian, Anshan, Jinzhou, Dandong and Chaoyang, are linked to the United States, Japan, Russia, Germany, Korea, and Hong Kong and more than 100 large and medium-sized cities in China. A road network of 50,000 kilometers covers the province, one of the densest networks in China.

A comprehensive integrated transportation network has also been well established which connects the ports as gateways with railways as arteries and roads as backbones, and is supplemented by civil aviation, pipeline transport, and maritime transport.

Telecommunication and Internet

All of Liaoning’s 14 cities under provincial supervision and 44 counties (cities) have access to international and domestic telephone networks. Provincial statistics listed 16 million telephone landlines for 2008, an average of 38 lines per 100 inhabitants. In a comparison with other provinces, Liaoning ranks 6th in the number of fixed telephone subscribers. These 16 million made 3.5 billion minutes of long-distance calls via their fixed line subscriptions and 4.9 billion minutes via IP call.

2008 Telephone Landlines Internet
Shenyang 3,500,000 1,060,500
Dalian 3,125,000 997,300
Anshan 1,556,000 341,900
Fushun 860,000 252,200
Benxi 478,000 162,900
Dandong 815,000 251,200
Jinzhou 1,048,000 267,800
Yingkou 685,000 210,500
Fuxin 565,000 147,600
Liaoyang 563,000 186,200
Panjin 424,000 149,100
Tieling 785,000 167,200
Chaoyang 864,000 177,800
Huludao 777,000 184,100
Unspecified 6,823,900
Liaoning 16,043,000 11,380,000


Mobile telephones have become ubiquitous all over China. Liaoning lists more than 24 million mobile phone subscribers, 57 percent per capita. In 2008, they made 5.5 billion minutes of long-distance mobile phone calls, which is a total of over 10,000 years. They also sent 22 billion SMS messages, more than 900 per subscriber. Combining mobile, landline, and IP calls, the average Liaon spent 344 minutes in 2008 making long-distance phone calls, not including their time spent to receive calls.

Liaoning connects to the internet via IXPs in Beijing. According to national statistics, the province has more than 11 million internet users, about 27 percent of the population, but less than half of them are attributable to individual prefectures within the province. The Chinese internet registration authority CNNIC listed Liaoning as occupying 2.9 percent of all national unique IPv4 internet addresses, which is rank 8 among the provinces. In 2009, Liaoning was home to 46,881 web servers, but the CNNIC statistics exclude the extensive education network “edu.cn”. CNNIC had 263,459 domain names registered for Liaoning, 1.6 percent of the China total, and rank 14. These websites contained 433,321,189 pages, but less than two percent of them in English.

More than 300 regional websites are listed for Liaoning in the Chinese language section of the largest human edited directory of websites, but less than 40 in the English section. See



In the number of entries for English websites, Liaoning ranks 9th among the provinces of China.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.