Living In and Around Shenyang

Liaoning Province is located in the southern part of China’s Northeast, bordering the Bohai Gulf and Yellow Sea to the south and the Korean Peninsula to the southeast. In the southeast, the Yalu River and the city of Dandong demarks the Liaoning/North Korean border, across which 70 percent of all official trade between China and North Korea passes.

Major Cities

Capital: Shenyang

Others: Anshan, Benxi, Dandong, Dalian, Fushun, Huludao, Jinzhou, Liaoyang, Tieling, Yingkou


In 2012, Liaoning’s population was 43.89 million. Ethnic minorities (e.g Koreans, Mongolians, Manchus, Hui, Xibo) make up about 16 percent of the population.

Political Leaders

Party Secretary: Wang Min 王珉
Governor: Chen Zhenggao 陈政高
Vice Party Secretary: Xu Weiguo 许卫国
Deputy Governor: Zhou Zhongxuan 周忠轩
Vice Governors:
He Min 贺旻
Tan Zuojun 谭作钧
Bing Zhigang 邴志刚
Zhao Huaming 赵化明
Xue Heng 薛恒
Liu Qiang 刘强
Pan Liguo 潘立国
CPPCC Chairman: Xia Deren 夏德仁
Communist Youth League Secretary: Tian Ye田野

Party Secretary of Shenyang: Zeng Wei 曾维
Mayor of Shenyang: Chen Haibo 陈海波

Economic Overview

Liaoning’s GDP reached 2,480.13 billion RMB (roughly 413.36 billion USD) in 2012, with a GDP growth rate of 12.6 percent, higher than China’s overall growth rate in 2012 of 10.1 percent. Liaoning’s GDP represents 49% of northeast China’s GDP, and Liaoning is the most industrialized and prosperous of the three northeastern provinces.

In 2003, the Central Government launched the “Revitalize the Northeast” plan, in part to further reform and privatize SOEs. Liaoning province has benefited significantly from this initiative. The province’s revitalization plan focused on the development of seven basic industrial sectors: shipbuilding, automobile production, transportation infrastructure, equipment manufacturing, steel, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

Liaoning has the largest variety of manufacturing industries in China, including machine tools, metallurgy, transformers, petrochemicals, iron & steel, and crude oil. Well-established industries in the province include automobile parts and manufacturing, modern construction, agriculture products and processing, chemicals, and steel and nonferrous metals processing. Emerging industries include advanced equipment manufacturing, IT, biopharmaceuticals, aviation, new materials, and energy and environmental technologies.

The capital city Shenyang, together with six mid-sized surrounding cities, is expanding into a “Greater Shenyang” region. In China’s Twelfth Five Year Plan, the development of the Shenyang Economic Zone was indicated as a national priority. The zone covers 8 large cities and 7 smaller cities.

Liaoning is the gateway to Northeast China and Inner Mongolia. Coastal city Dalian, with the biggest port in northeast China, has been selected by the central government to be developed into a transportation hub for Northeast Asia. Dalian also plays the leading role in the coastal economic development of the province. The regional development of Liaoning’s coastal economic belt is specifically mentioned in China’s Twelfth Five Year Plan, building on the Eleventh Five Year Plan, which outlined Liaoning’s “Five Points, One Line” development project, aimed at accelerating the development of five key industrial areas and providing interconnectivity between Liaoning’s coastal cities through the construction of a single road.

Liaoning is the northeast regional leader in international trade. In 2012, total foreign trade reached 103.99 billion USD, 46 billion of which was imports. In addition, utilized FDI reached 26. 8 billion USD, ranking second place out of all Chinese provinces. The value of trade with the United States in 2012 was roughly 11.8 billion USD. Many major American companies, such as General Motors, Goodyear, Pfizer, General Electric, IBM, Wal-Mart, and Coca-Cola have invested in Liaoning.

2012 GDP per capita: RMB 56,547

GDP Composition by Sector:
Agriculture: 8.7%
Industry: 53.8%
Services: 37.5%

Main Products: automobiles, heavy machinery, machine tools, oil, metal, petrochemical

Exports: electro-mechanical products, steel, processed agricultural products, Hi-Tech products, garments, refined oil

Main Export Destinations: Japan, EU, South Korea, U.S.

Imports: electro-mechanical products, crude oil, coal, agricultural products, iron ore

Main Import Sources: EU, Japan, South Korea, Saudi, US, Australia

Natural Resources: iron, magnesium, boron, petroleum, coal, shale oil

Arable Land: 15,830 square miles

Commercial Opportunities

U.S. companies can likely find export opportunities in Liaoning in machine tools, specialty steel manufacturing equipment, petrochemical refinery technology, and power generation equipment. Other areas of potential export interest are management of water resources; treatment of wastewater, solid and hazardous waste; and reduction of sulphur dioxide in manufacturing and power generation. Other emerging industries include IT and software, biopharmaceuticals, aviation, new materials, energy and environmental technologies, and advanced equipment manufacturing. The province is also focused on port upgrades and promoting outbound investment.


As of 2011, Liaoning has 122 colleges and universities, 22 adult colleges, 484 secondary vocational schools, 422 high schools, 1,637 junior secondary schools, 5,118 primary schools, and 8,661 kindergartens.

Prominent universities and university-level institutes in Liaoning include:

Shenyang: Northeast University, Liaoning University, China Medical University, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang Normal University, Shenyang Space and Aviation University, Shenyang Conservatoire, Luxun Academy of Fine Art, Shenyang Athletic University

Dalian: Dalian University of Industry and Technology, Northeast University Finance and Economy , Liaoning Normal, Dalian Medical University, Dalian Maritime University, Dalian Foreign Language Studies.

Shenyang is the capital city of Liaoning province and also the province’s most populous city with a population of 8.23 million and a land area of 4,992 square miles. 5.4 million of the population is metropolitan. The city is comprised of nine districts (5 urban and 4 suburban) and four counties. Six mid-sized cities surrounding Shenyang are considered part of “Greater Shenyang” and serve as bases for the province’s five major natural resources. Shenyang is an industrial center and transportation hub for Northeast China and is the largest political, economic, and cultural center of Northeast China. In fall 2013, Shenyang hosted China’s 12th National Games.

Five industries in Shenyang account for over half of industrial value-added. These include cars and automotive components, building products, agricultural product processing, chemical product manufacturing, and steel and non-ferrous metal smelting and rolling. Other important parts of Shenyang’s manufacturing base are aircraft, machine tools, electronics, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and light industrial products. The province is currently focused on moving towards more hi-tech industries and diversifying its formerly state-owned industrial structure. Shenyang is the home of a new China Positioning Industrial Park, which serves as the base for programmers and technicians working on China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. Brilliance Auto is headquartered in Shenyang and one of China’s top automakers. Brilliance has a joint venture with BMW and plans to double engine output to 400,000 a year by 2015.

Shenyang’s economy is ranked among the top 10 in China, owing to the high proportion of FDI in the city’s GDP (in 2011, Shenyang had $5,502 million USD of utilized FDI). Shenyang’s 2012 GDP was 660.68 billion RMB (roughly 110 billion USD), representing growth of 11% over the previous year. GDP per capita in 2012 stood at 80,296 RMB, with annual wages around 45,300 RMB.

Foreign trade and investment contributes significantly to Shenyang’s economy. In 2012, foreign trade in Shenyang was valued at 12,750 million USD. Over 80 Fortune 500 companies have a presence in Shenyang, and in 2012, 11.8 billion USD of trade passed between Shenyang and the United States. Other major trading partners of Shenyang include Germany, Angola, Russia, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.

Statistics sourced from 2012 Provincial and City level Economic and Societal Development Statistical Announcements(国民经济和社会发展统计公报)and the National Bureau of Statistics of China(中华人民共和国国家统计局;中国统计信息网)

Sometimes referred to as the Hong Kong of Northern China, Dalian is home to Northeast China’s largest deep water port and is an important international shipping and logistics center. Located near the end of the peninsula in southeast Liaoning Province, Dalian’s population in 2012 stood at 5.9 million. Dalian has repeatedly been voted the city with the best living environment in China.

Dalian Historical Overview

According to archaeological evidence, settlements in Dalian date back at least 6,000 years. The settlement was known as Sanshan under the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and Qing Niwakou under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In 1899 the name was changed to Dalian.

In the 19th century, Dalian (then Qing Niwakou) was only a small fishing village. However, beginning in the 1880’s, the Qing government constructed bridges and fortifications with built-in cannons in the region, and set up mining camps along the northern coast of Dalian’s gulf. During the first and second Opium Wars, the British army invaded the town. It was also a major battlefield during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 and the Japanese-Russian War of 1904-5, because Port Arthur (now called Lushun, and incorporated into greater Dalian) was only a few kilometers away. Following the settlements after the Russian-Japanese War, Dalian came under Russian and then Japanese control for 50 years, 40 of them under Japanese rule. After the Communists came to power in 1949, Dalian as a port city in a closed society underwent little further development until after the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, when Dalian began to modernize its port facilities. In 1984, the State Council approved Dalian as a coastal open city during China’s opening up to the West. It was designated a city with a separate economic plan in 1985, giving it provincial level decision-making authority. In the mid-90s, under then-Mayor Bo Xilai, Dalian began an ambitious undertaking to become a world-class port city on the level of Rotterdam, and a host to international events. Now Dalian has been transformed into a modern, pleasant city with architectural styles reminiscent of the Mediterranean and Sweden, making it a unique city in China.

Dalian Economic Overview

Dalian is home to Northeast China’s largest deep water port and is an important international shipping and logistics center. In 2006, China’s State Council approved Dalian as one of only a few Free Trade Port Areas in China. Dalian Port handled more than 303 million tons of cargo throughput in 2012, ranking 3rd out of China’s ports and making it the 19th busiest container port in the world. 99 container shipping routes have been established, and average shipping capacity rose 4.2% over 2011.

In 2012, Dalian’s GDP was more than $116 billion USD, a 15% year-on-year increase, with foreign trade valued at more than $64 billion USD, growing at 9% over the previous year. Dalian itself, contributed to 28%, 61% and 63% of Liaoning province’s GDP, foreign trade, and total imports. Dalian’s per capita GDP in 2012 was RMB 118,631, higher than other major northeastern cities and first tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Dalian’s main trading partners are Japan, the US, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Australia, and North Korea. In 2012, 11.3 billion USD of trade with the United States passed through Dalian

As a gateway to Northeast China, Dalian plays an integral role in the region’s economic development and serves as a financial base for Northeast Asia. Primary industries of the city include machine manufacturing, petrochemicals and oil refining, and shipbuilding. As part of the Liaoning Coastal Economic Belt, Dalian’s industry strengths and trends exist in: advanced equipment manufacturing, especially heavy machinery and shipbuilding, raw materials processing, bio-pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, new energy, IT/Software/Chips, tourism, special vehicles, financial services, and high-quality ag products and food processing.

While historically linked with heavy manufacturing, Dalian is now striving to become a high tech and business process outsourcing hub, a R&D and renovation center for multinational companies, a host of international conferences and expos, and significant opportunities exist for improvements in healthcare, education and infrastructure. In particular, best prospects exist in metro construction and expansion, transportation infrastructure, improving navigation capacity and logistics systems, healthcare for foreigners, education for foreigners, specialized international hospitals (prenatal care), and hospitality and tourism. The city already attracts many tourists with its beautiful coastlines.

Statistics sourced from 2012 Provincial and City level Economic and Societal Development Statistical Announcements(国民经济和社会发展统计公报)and the National Bureau of Statistics of China(中华人民共和国国家统计局;中国统计信息网)

Jilin Province is located between Liaoning and Heilongjiang provinces, bordering Russia to the east and the Korean Peninsula to the south across the Tumen River.

Major Cities

Capital: Changchun

Others: Beicheng, Jilin City, Siping, Tonghua, Yanji


As of 2012, Jilin’s population is 27.5 million. Ethnic minorities (e.g. Koreans, Manchus, Mongolians, Hui, Xibo) make up about 9 percent of the population. Jilin is home to over 1 million ethnic Koreans, 800,000 of whom reside in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, which borders North Korea.

Political Leaders

Party Secretary: Wang Rulin 王儒林
Governor: Bayin Chaolu 巴音朝鲁
Deputy Secretary: Zhu Yanfeng 竺延风
Vice Governors:
Ma Junqing 马俊清
Chen Weigen 陈伟根
Wang Huawen王化文
Huang Guanchun 黄关春
Gu Chunli谷春立
Sui Zhongcheng 隋忠诚
CPPCC Chairperson: Huang Yanming 黄燕明
Communist Youth League: Cheng Long 程龙

Changchun Party Secretary: Gao Guangbin 高广滨
Changchun Mayor: Jiang Zhiying 姜治莹

Economic Overview

Jilin’s GDP reached 1,193.78 billion RMB (USD 198.96 billion) in 2012. The province’s GDP growth rate in 2012 was 13.4 percent, compared with China’s national GDP growth rate of 10.1 percent. Jilin’s main industries include automobile and rail vehicle production, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy, equipment manufacturing, textiles, and agriculture. Changchun-based First Auto Works is China’s largest carmaker and currently has joint ventures with Mazda, Toyota, Audi, and GM. Jilin is also one of China’s top producers of corn, lying along the “golden corn belt.” Six of China’s top ten grain-producing counties are in Jilin. Jilin province is also included in the central government’s 2003 “Revitalize the Northeast” initiative, aimed at further reforming and privatizing state-owned enterprises and updating Jilin’s industrial structure.

In 2012, the total value of Jilin’s foreign trade was 24.56 billion USD, of which imports accounted for 18.6 billion. Jilin is somewhat disadvantaged when it comes to international trade because the province is landlocked and lacking navigable waterways during winter months. Therefore, Jilin is very focused on investing in infrastructure in the North Korean city, Ranson, with the intention of gaining access to North Korea’s ice-free Rajin sea port. In 2012, trade with the U.S. only represented 1% of the foreign trade passing through Jilin’s capital, Changchun (roughly 96 million USD). Current leading American investors in the province include WalMart, Pepsi-Cola, Johnson Controls, Dupont, Delphi, and Cargill.

2012 GDP per capita: RMB 43,412

GDP Composition by Sector:
Agriculture: 4.9%
Industry: 62.9%
Services: 32.2%

Main Products: automobiles, oil, metal, petrochemical products, processed grains

Exports: garments, automobiles, auto spare parts, plywood

Main Export Destinations: South Korea, North Korea, Russia, U.S.

Imports: automobiles, auto space parts, measurement instruments, automation appliances, iron ore

Main Import Sources: Japan, South Korea, North Korea

Natural Resources: shale oil, Molybdenum, nickel, magnesium, diatomite

Arable Land: 15,830 square miles

Commercial Opportunities

The best export opportunities for U.S. companies are in automobiles and automobile parts, as well as in food processing and packaging. A breadbasket of China, Jilin is also seeking technology and equipment for downstream food processing. Jilin is currently focused on upgrading its petrochemical industry from initial processing to fine chemical production. Jilin is also working on power infrastructure upgrades. Finally, tourism is an emerging focus in Jilin.


Jilin Province ranks higher in education than either of its northeast neighbors, with excellent access to primary and tertiary education. Prominent universities in Jilin include Jilin University, Northeast Normal University, and Yanbian University. A large number of student and exchange scholar visa applicants to the U.S. come from Jilin University, which has a number of established exchange programs with American universities.

Heilongjiang Province is located at the farthest Northeast limit of Chinese territory, bordering Russia to its east and north across the Heilongjiang River and Wusuli River. The province is China’s largest grain producer, and China’s gateway to Russia. Over ¼ of China’s trade with Russia is conducted through Heilongjiang.

Major Cities

Capital: Harbin

Others: Daqing, Heihe, Jiamusi, Mudanjiang, Qiqihar, Suifenhe


As of 2012, Heilongjiang’s population is 38.34 million. Ethnic minorities (e.g. Koreans, Manchus, Mongolians, Hui, Daur, and Xibe) make up about 5 percent of the province’s population.

Political Leaders

Party Secretary: Wang Xiankui 王宪奎
Governor: Lu Hao 陆昊
Vice Governors:
Liu Guozhong 刘国中
Sun Yao 孙尧
Lu Weifeng 吕维峰
Yu Shayan 于莎燕
Sun Yongbo 孙永波
Zhang Jianxing 张建星
Sun Dongsheng 孙冬生;
CPPCC Chairman: Du Yuxin 杜宇新
Communist Youth League Secretary: Li Haoyan 李豪岩

Party Secretary of Harbin: Lin Duo 林铎
Mayor of Harbin: Song Xibin 宋希斌

Economic Overview

Heilongjiang’s GDP reached USD 228.19 billion USD in 2012, with a growth rate over the past several years of around 11.5%. Petrochemicals and equipment manufacturing are Heilongjiang’s traditional “pillar” industries, and the province is home to the Daqing Oil Field, China’s largest. Agriculture is also a major industry in Heilongjiang, which is China’s largest soybean producer. In 2011, Heilongjiang produced 10% of China’s national grain output, and Heilongjiang State Farms have the highest mechanization level of all provinces in China. In 2003, the central government launched the “Revitalize the Northeast” plan, in part to further reform and privatize the state-owned enterprises (SOE) which historically dominated the province’s economy.

In 2012, the total value of Heilongjiang’s foreign trade reached 37.8 billion USD. Exports accounted for 14.4 billion USD, and imports accounted for 23.4 billion USD. Russia is Heilongjiang’s leading trading partner, accounting for over half of Heilongjiang’s total foreign trade value. In addition, over 25% of China’s total trade with Russia passes through Heilongjiang. The province’s other major trading partners are South Korea, Japan, and the United States. In 2012, 81.18 million USD of trade passed between the U.S. and Harbin. Several major American companies have investments in the province, including John Deere, Agco, Coca Cola, and Case New Holland (CNH).

2012 GDP per capita: RMB 35,711

GDP Composition by Sector:
Agriculture: 7.8%
Industry: 51.9%
Services: 40.3%

Main Products: crude oil, heavy machinery, automobiles, aircraft, grain, steel

Exports: electro-machineries, garments, plastic, steel, shoes, agricultural products

Main Export Destinations: Russia, South Korea, EU (Germany), Japan, U.S.

Imports: crude oil, electro-machineries, fertilizer, processed oil, lumber, iron ore, paper pulp

Main Import Sources: Russia, EU, U.S., ASEAN

Natural Resources: coal, gold, oil, graphite, wheat, soy, corn, rice

Arable Land: 45,833 square miles

Commercial Opportunities

Heilongjiang province has identified heavy industry (specifically, machinery and transportation equipment manufacturing), high technology products, organic food processing, and pharmaceuticals as priority industries in the “Revitalize the Northeast” plan. The province’s development targets are focused on hi-tech industrial development zones and continued development of the dairy industry. Agricultural modernization and mechanization is also a major provincial focus. A recent provincial initiative of increasing subsidies for agricultural machinery and offering economic incentives for foreign and domestic agricultural machinery companies moving to Heilongjiang is intended to develop the local agricultural machinery industry. Many opportunities exist for companies wishing to tap the agricultural machinery market and related processes.


Heilongjiang currently has 82 universities and institutes of higher learning. Prominent universities and university-level institutes include: Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin Engineering University, Heilongjiang University, Harbin Normal University, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin Medical University, and Harbin Science and Technology University.