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15 Important Cities in China for Business Travel

As the most populous country in the world, China has a vast and promising domestic market. Moreover, China is reputed as the“World’s Factory” and is able to make almost anything the consumers need. So it keeps luring overseas businessmen to come and seek business opportunities. But China is so large and where to go? 

Generally, economically prosperous cities gather in southeast coastal area of China, especially the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. Cities in Beijing - Tianjin - Hebei Area and the Shandong Peninsula also provide plentiful business opportunities. First-rate corporations, factories, financial institutions and exhibitions bring great conveniences for overseas businessmen to conduct survey and research. If you want to make a business travel to China, the below 15 important cities in China should not be missed.

Yangtze River Delta City Cluster around Shanghai

30 cities constitute the Yangtze River Delta City Cluster. Apart from Shanghai, there are Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Zhenjiang, Nantong, Yangzhou, Taizhou, Yancheng, Huai’an, Lianyungang, Suqian and Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Jiaxing, Huzhou, Shaoxing, Jinhua, Quzhou, Zhoushan, Taizhou and Lishui in Zhejiang Province, and Hefei, Ma’anshan, Wuhu, Chuzhou and Huainan in Anhui Province.

Though the Yangtze River Delta only occupies 300,000 km2 (115,830 sq. mi), 2.1% of China’s land area, more than 170 million people live here and generate 1/4 of China’s GDP and 1/4 of the country’s industrial added value, serving as a powerful engine for China’s economy. The top 5 recommended destinations for your business trip to China are all in this area.

There is no doubt that Shanghai plays a leading role in the Yangtze River Delta. Its competitive edges are financial services and emerging industries. In terms of finance, Shanghai owns an inclusive system for transacting securities, futures and financial derivatives. Major foreign-funded banks consider it the best place to set up China headquarters. On the other hand, supported by talents across the world, Shanghai keeps gaining momentum in biomedical and new energy industry. Prosperous export trading also contributes to its No.1 position by GDP among all China cities.

 Top attractions to see: The Bund, Nanjing Road, Yu Garden, Zhujiajiao Watertown, Disneyland Park

 Recommened Tour:  3 Days' Shanghai Private Tour with Hotel from $439

Suzhou is right inside the Shanghai One-Hour Economic Circle, thus significantly benefits from Shanghai’s development. Sound manufacturing industry and cutting-edge Internet economy help to create favorable environment for foreign investment. By the way, when traveling to China for business, many people will be impressed by Suzhou’s pleasant climate, convenient visa policy, housing system and medical care. That’s why foreign people all agree that it is one of the most livable cities in China.

 Top attractions to see: Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Zhouzhuang Water Town, Tongli Town

 Recommended Tour:  Private Suzhou Highlights Tour from $121

Hangzhou always reminds businessmen of Alibaba and NetEase, as their headquarters are here. Indeed, thanks to the development of network, this city has made great strides in e-commerce in the last ten years. As a result, online bank, securities and insurance are no longer new things. Thriving cultural industries, especially animation and online literature, also bring Hangzhou creative atmosphere. In the future, Hangzhou will lay more focus on biotechnology, medical equipment and high-end manufacturing.

 Top attractions to see: West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Grand Canal, Wuzhen Water Town
Nanjing is the capital city of Jiangsu Province, and the second industry has long been its base. Nevertheless, the shift to software and information service becomes a noticeable feature of its economy. It makes sense because Nanjing has many excellent universities, and talents are paid high salary to promote technical innovation. Accordingly, high-tech companies spring up and show considerable demand for service outsourcing. Moreover, many international conferences are held here. No wonder it is one of the popular China business tour destinations.

 Top attractions to see: Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao), Qinhuan River, City Wall, Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum


Located in southern Yangtze River Delta, Ningbo is the second economic center in Zhejiang after Hangzhou. Its prosperity is largely due to the industrial cluster of traditional manufacturing. Two mainstays are clothing & textiles and chemical industry, specifically petrochemicals, rubber and plastic articles and dyestuffs. Blessed with favorable location, Ningbo also enjoys a flourishing port economy. High-tech industry is another rising star, and the most representative example is the Ningbo Hangzhou Bay New Area. It has attracted lots of Fortune 500 corporations, such as Volkswagen, Geely Auto and Unilever.

 Top attractions to see: Baoguo Temple, Tianfeng Pagoda, Tianyi Pavillion, Yandang Mountain

Important Cities in China Pearl River Delta

The Pearl River Delta lies in central and southern Guangdong Province in southeast China, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Huizhou, Zhongshan and Jiangmen. It has an area of 55,370 km2 (21,380 sq. mi) and population of 63 million, contributing to over 10% of China’s GDP. Electronic information and household appliances manufacturing are the most characteristic industries. Besides, it is a popular place for overseas companies to conduct industrial transfer.

On the periphery of the delta are another two most important cities in China, Hong Kong and Macau. The development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) not only accelerates economic growth, but also stimulates the synergic effect among these ‘9+2’ cities, paving way for a world-class prosperous bay area.

Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, is of paramount importance in the Pearl River Delta. For a long time, automobile, electronics and petrochemical manufacturing were its three driving forces. Later, financial services and high-tech industries succeeded in catching up from behind. Guangzhou’s economy is also vivified by overseas companies’ entry, such as P&G, Royal Dutch Shell, Honda, Toyota, Microsoft, Foxconn, Carrefour, etc. Here is a tip for traveling to China on business. The China Import and Export Fair is held in Guangzhou two times each year, Apr. 15th - May 5th and Oct. 15th - Nov. 4th respectively.

 Top attractions to see: Pearl River, Canton Tower, Shamian Island, Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou Museum

 Recommended Tour:  3 Days Guangzhou City Tour from $279

Shenzhen is the fastest developing city worldwide, from a fishing village to the second economy of China in just 40 years. Under the leadership of technology-intensive corporations, such as Tencent, Huawei, ZTE and DJI, local industries with high-added value are growing by leaps and bounds. It is already a consensus that Shenzhen is a good place to seek business opportunities. First, known for high efficiency, local companies advocate quick decision-making process without red tape. Second, it features inclusiveness, with various subsidy policies open to competent people. Lastly, Shenzhen is full of potential, and will be a rival to London and New York someday.

 Top attractions to see: Splendid China - Folk Culture Villages, Window of the World, Happy Valley, Dameisha Beach

 Recommended Tour:  Private Shenzhen City Tour from $269

As the third largest financial center in the world, Hong Kong has a robust market for currency, foreign exchange and gold. Besides, it features a high degree of service-led industry. Apart from the financial services mentioned just now, other pillar industries are tourism, trade & logistics, and support services for commerce. This is why Hong Kong was appointed as a trade and shipping center in the GBA, linking cities inland and the rest of the world. During your business travel to China, why not come here to feel its charm as the Oriental Pearl and the Shopping Paradise?

 Top attractions to see: Victoria Harbor, Avenue of Stars, Disneyland, Madame Tussauds

 Recommended Tour:  3 Days Hong Kong Private Tour with Hotel from $599

It is pretty common that many companies in the Pearl River Delta set their headquarters in Guangzhou but workshops in Foshan, because manufacturing is the key strength of the latter. Now, along with the development of private economy, Foshan gains its comparative advantage in processing and fabricating household appliances, building materials, metal materials, and food and beverage. Superior products, tiles and sanitary wares for example, are very marketable both at home and abroad. Country Garden, Midea, and Haitian Flavoring and Food are well-known brands of this important city in China.

 Top attractions to see: Foshan Ancestral Temple, Xiqiao Mountain, Qinghui Garden, Ancient Nanfeng Kiln
Likewise, in Dongguan, almost 90% of its GDP is earned from manufacturing. Take a look at the tag and you will find many clothes, toys, paper products, food and beverage, etc. were made here. In recent years, being spurred by electronic information and artificial intelligence, Dongguan processes not only labor-intensive but increasingly more high-tech products, such as smart phone, laptop and robot. As Fortune 500 companies settle here one after another, Nokia, Nestle, Samsung, DuPont, Royal Philips and Sony for example, Dongguan really lives up to its title as the World Factory. Last but not least, Huawei also moved its headquarters here, making the city even more competitive. 

 Top attractions to see: Humen Bridge & Naval Battle Museum, Keyuan Garden, Opium War Museum

Other Important Cities in China for Business Trip

As the most business-friendly and important city in China, Beijing plays an exemplary role in optimizing industrial structure. Over the past ten years, the percentage of the primary and second sectors keeps decreasing, while that of the tertiary sector increasing dramatically. By 2019, the ratio of three sectors is 0.3:16.2:83.5. Specifically, the heavy industry and wholesale & retail are losing their momentum, whereas industries related to finance, information, software, and science and technology are expanding at full blast. Two typical examples are pharmaceutical and aerospace manufacturing. Ubiquitous restaurants, hotels and amenities will make your business trip to this China city incredibly enjoyable.

 Top attractions to see: Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven
Tianjin gains benefits a lot from its location by the sea and between Beijing and the Bohai Sea. It is the largest port city in northern China. Good shipping conditions and rich natural resources ensure its long-standing prosperity of heavy industry. In order to facilitate the modernization, Tianjin set up the Binhai New Area in 1994. Now, it has gained advantage in aviation, petrochemical, electronic information, biopharmaceutical, new energy, textiles, auto manufacturing and metallurgy industry. If you are engaged in these industrial areas, add Tianjin to your business trip to China.

 Top attractions to see: Ancient Cultural Street, Huangyaguan Great Wall, Mt. Panshan Scenic Area, Haihe River
Chongqing is the sole municipality in western China. Two industrial clusters, automobile and electronic information, have laid solid foundation for its development. For the former, well-known companies which have factory in Chongqing include Changan Auto, SAIC Motor, Beijing Hyundai, etc. For the latter, Chongqing is now the world’s largest manufacturing base for laptop and the second largest for smart phone. Meanwhile, this city is striving for industrial upgrading, and strenuous efforts will be put in big data, artificial intelligence, integrated circuit and intellectual manufacturing. 

 Top attractions to see: Ci Qi Kou, Hongya Cave, Dazu Rock Carvings, Yangtze River Cruise, Jiefangbei CBD

 Recommended Tour:  Chongqing Private Tours from $369

If a technology- or knowledge- intensive company is your primary goal of business travel to China, it’s worthwhile for an on-site inspection in Chengdu. Its leading industries cover aviation manufacturing, rail transport, energy conservation and environment protection. Moreover, favorable policies make it easier to get the upper hand in the field of artificial intelligence, precision medicine, virtual reality, sensing control and 3D printing. Other areas of service industry are also promising, because Chengdu’s consumer potential has not been fully tapped. The 31st Summer Universiade in 2021 and the World Games 2025 will bring more vitality to this host city.

 Top attractions to see: Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Wuhou Temple, Jinli Street, Sanxingdui Museum, Jiuzhaigou, Dujiangyan Irrigation System

 Recommended Tour:  3 Days Chengdu Private Tour from $309

Located in the Shandong Peninsula, west of the Yellow Sea, Qingdao makes marine industry the most distinctive part of its economy. Priorities are set in exploiting marine resources and fabricating ship equipment. On account of technological innovation, Qingdao is committed to creating conditions for high-end marine scientific research. Also, the Port of Qingdao, with increasing handling capacity, plays an indispensable part in international ocean shipping. Needless to say that the coastal location is fully used to boost tourism. Besides, there are five brands of Qingdao worth mentioning, respectively Haier (household appliance), Hisense (household appliance), Tsingtao Brewery, DoubleStar (tire), and Aucma (refrigerator).

 Top attractions to see: Zhan Bridge, Gold Sand Beach, Badaguan Scenic Area, Mt. Laoshan

     Recommended Tour:  3 Days Private Qingdao Tour from $349

- Last updated on Jul. 20, 2023 by Catherine He -
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