Which countries match the GDP, population and exports of Chinese provinces?
GDP per person
CHINA is now the world’s second-biggest economy, but some of its provinces by themselves would rank fairly high in the global league. Our map shows the nearest equivalent country. For example, Guangdong’s GDP (at market exchange rates) is almost as big as Indonesia’s; the output of both Jiangsu and Shandong exceeds Switzerland’s. Some provinces may exaggerate their output: the sum of reported GDPs is a tenth higher than the national total. But over time the national total has consistently been revised up, suggesting that any overstatement is modest.
What about other economic yardsticks? Guangdong exports abroad as much as South Korea, Jiangsu as much as Taiwan. Shanghai’s GDP per person is as high as Saudi Arabia’s (at purchasing-power parity, or PPP), though still well below that in China’s special regions of Hong Kong and Macau. At the other extreme, poor Guizhou has an income per head close to that of India. Note that these figures use the same PPP conversion rate for the whole of China, yet prices are likely to be lower in poorer provinces than they are in richer ones, thus slightly reducing regional inequality.