The world's second-largest economy grew by 2.3 percent in 2020, and it is likely to be the only major economy to have achieved annual growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Breaking through the 11 trillion yuan ($1.71 trillion) threshold, Guangdong has retained its place as the province with the highest GDP in China for 32 years in a row. This figure exceeds the GDP of more than 90 percent of the world's countries. It is close to that of South Korea and equal to the sum of the GDPs of Switzerland, Singapore, Argentina and Ukraine.
Jiangsu comes in second place after south China's Guangdong, with a GDP surpassing 10 trillion yuan. The per capita GDP in Jiangsu reached 125,000 yuan ($19,230) last year, ranking first among all provincial-level regions in China.
In terms of city clusters, the Yangtze River Delta again assumed the leading position. In 2020, the total economic output of one city and three provinces in the Yangtze River Delta was 24.47 trillion yuan, accounting for 24.1 percent of the national total, contributing nearly a quarter of the country's economic output.
In 2020, a total of 20 provinces outperformed the national economic growth rate of 2.3 percent. These 20 provinces were Tibet, Xinjiang, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hebei, Chongqing, Gansu, Ningxia, Sichuan, Guangxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong, Hainan, Fujian, Anhui, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shanxi and Jilin.
Let's take a look at the top 10 provincial regions with the strongest GDPs in 2020.
GDP: 3.87 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 1.7%
Although hampered by COVID-19 and a global economic recession, Shanghai overcame these difficulties and took concrete measures to push its economy back on track from a 6.7 percent fall in the first quarter. Shanghai expects GDP growth of more than 6 percent this year and will keep its urban unemployment rate at no more than 5 percent.
GDP: 4.17 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 3.8%
With a complete industrial system, Hunan province has 10 advantageous industrial clusters, including engineering machinery, electronic information, new materials, petrochemical engineering, and automobiles and auto parts, as well as lead and zinc cemented carbide and its deep processing.
GDP: 4.34 trillion yuan
Growth rate: -5%
Since the lifting of the epidemic-induced lockdown in Wuhan on April 8, the economic recovery of its parent province has been better than expected. Hubei province's GDP growth increased from -39.2 percent in the first quarter of the year to -19.3 percent in the first half of the year, and -10.4 percent in the first nine months. Despite the short-term slowdown due to the COVID-19 epidemic, Hubei's economic recovery has been solid.
GDP: 4.39 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 3.3%
A coastal province in the southeastern part of the country, Fujian has seen rapid development over the past five years. It is actively promoting an open economy of higher standards amid the country's ongoing reform and opening-up. It is also stepping up its overseas investment, as it endeavors to seek further involvement in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
GDP: 4.85 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 3.8%
Historically known as the "Province of Abundance", Sichuan has one of the largest economies in western China. The province has been accelerating its industrial transformation and upgrading, developing five pillar industries–electronic information, equipment manufacturing, food and beverages, advanced materials and energy, and chemicals – and promoting the integrated development of the digital economy and the real economy.
GDP: 5.49 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 1.3%
Henan's economic volume has ranked first among those of the provinces and regions in the central and western region and among the top five in China for several consecutive years. As an economic heavyweight with many advantages, it is a good destination for foreign investors.
GDP: 6.46 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 3.6%
Since the reform and opening-up drive four decades ago, Zhejiang has embarked on a fast track of economic growth. Its GDP jumped to 6.46 trillion yuan in 2020, and has ranked fourth in China for 23 consecutive years. Over the years, its private economy has achieved leapfrog growth in scale and strength, nurturing a great number of successful enterprises.
GDP: 7.31 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 3.6%
Shandong is predominant in agriculture, and is renowned as "China's most outstanding agricultural province". This is due to the value it places on its agriculture, as well as its outstanding agricultural output of vegetables, fruit, meat and aquatic products. Shandong is also a major producer and supplier of petroleum, coal and nonferrous metal. It has the most gold reserves and output as well as abundant sea salt and a diverse array of coastal bird species.
GDP: 10.27 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 3.7%
Jiangsu plays a key role in the nation's economic and social development. As a promising region, Jiangsu is characterized by a strong economy, wealthy people, beautiful environment and a high degree of social civilization in this new development period.
GDP: 11.07 trillion yuan
Growth rate: 2.3%
Guangdong is one of the frontiers of China's reform and opening-up policy. It is one of the most attractive places for investors, with a great deal of market vigor. It is also the fastest economically developing province in China with the most advanced business and trade.