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Overview of Xi’an regional market

Xi’an is the capital city of China’s Shaanxi province with direct jurisdiction over eleven districts and two counties, with a total population of approximately 10.2 million.

Situated in the heart of the north-west Xi’an has long been an important city serving as a transportation, trading and logistics hub in North-west China to connect the country’s eastern and central regions with the north-western and south-western regions. As Chinese President Xi unveiled the grand plans for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, the city has overseen a slew of infrastructure developments to transform itself into an international hub with a convergence of air routes, roads and railways.

Since 2000, Xi’an has benefitted extensively from the Chinese government’s ‘Go West’ policy to develop China’s western interiors. Xi’an is a critical node of the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative and the starting point of the New Silk Road. As the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative advances, Xi’an is honing its reputation as the leading city of the economic belt.

The city’s GDP was US $134.12 billion (RMB 932.12 billion) in 2019 – registering a growth rate of 11.6 percent year on year – and contributed 36.14 percent of Shaanxi province’s total GDP.

In February 2018, Xi’an was designated by China’s National Development and Reform Commission as the ninth national central city — a title awarded by the central government to spur the urbanization of key Chinese cities.

Key industries 

Home to one of China’s most notable historical attractions, the renowned Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, Xi’an is one of the country’s Four Great Ancient Capitals. The city is well known for its rich culture and history and has a thriving tourism industry.

Since 2018, Xi’an local government has been drawing up plans to develop major industrial parks and zones focused on strategic sectors including information technology, electronics, biopharmaceuticals and automobile manufacturing.

According to the working report of the People's Government of Xi’an City (2018) , the city will build itself into a Silk Road international financial centre by accelerating the establishment of three financial pilot zones covering science and technology, culture, and civil-military integration, as well as another three for the energy, logistics and green sectors.

With the city’s innovation drive to establish it as a hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G infrastructure and cloud computing to enhance its manufacturing capabilities, Xi’an has emerged as an investment hotspot. As of today, Xi’an is home to over 100 enterprises specializing in AI, bringing in revenues of 10 billion yuan (US$1.44 billion) a year.

Xi’an is among the top Chinese cities in terms of density of colleges and number of college graduates, making it a leader in terms of education and scientific research in China. The skilled resources here will draw an increasing number of enterprises to the city.

Trading relationship with Canada

Shaanxi province with Xi’an at its center has witnessed significant import increase from Canada in 2019, reaching US$258.59 million and registering an annual growth rate of 72%. The share of the province as an importer of Canadian goods shows a similar trend over the same period.

The total export from Shaanxi to Canada shows light sign of contracting from US$129.42 million in 2018 to US$112.04 million in 2019.

In comparison to the southern and eastern cities which have been traditionally import and export destinations, Xi’an and greater Shaanxi province’s share in China’s total import and export trading with Canada remains at a lower level.

Shaanxi Province’s Trading Relationship with Canada

20182019(%) Change
Imports from Canada (US$ millions)150.38258.5972%
Share of China’s Total Imports from Canada0.53%0.92%73.6%
Exports to Canada (US$ millions)129.42112.04-13.4%
Share of China’s Total Exports to Canada0.37%0.3%-18.9%

Imports from Canada

Canada’s major trading relationship with Xi’an and greater Shaanxi province is dominated by the supply of pharmaceutical products, which accounts for 73.6% of total Shaanxi’s import from Canada.

In 2019 pharmaceutical products imported from Canada continually saw purchases rise from US$115 million to US$190 million. Demand for optical, measuring, medical instruments showed similar results with purchase rising from US$2.35 million to US$32.05 million.

Shaanxi has also begun to open opportunities for Canadian animal or vegetable fats, oils & waxes products. In 2019 the import of these products jumps to rank top 3 of the province’s imports from Canada with the value of US$11.94 million.

Shaanxi Province’s Top Imports from Canada (2018/2019)

HS CodeProduct DescriptionValue (US$ millions)(%) Change
20182019
30Pharmaceutical products115.11190.2765.3%
90Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring,
checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments
and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof
  2.35  32.05  1264%
15Animal or vegetable fats, oils & waxes0.0011.94-
84Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery
and mechanical appliances; parts thereof
10.444.97-52.4%
85Electrical machinery & equip. & parts; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles1.893.3376.2%
88Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof1.723.1382%
27Mineral fuels, oils, waxes & bituminous sub0.012.0099%
75Nickel & articles thereof0.761.4692.1%
03Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates0.930.68-26.9%
81Other base metals; cermets; articles thereof0.330.5669.7%

Exports to Canada

Xi’an and greater Shaanxi’s exports to Canada showed significant volatility in 2019.

Machinery and mechanical appliances exporters maintain a substantial trading relationship with Canadian buyers, accounting for 26% of the province’s exports to Canada. However, the trading showed signs of slowing down from US$47.93 million in 2018 to US$29.18 million in 2019.

Representing 81.2% increase from 2018 to 2019, Shaanxi’s exports of base metals and cermets to Canada reached US$19.68 million. Over the same period, exports of vegetables, fruit and nuts dropped significantly from US$17.66 million to US$7.49 million, falling by 57.6%.

Shaanxi Province’s Top Exports to Canada (2018/2019)

HS CodeProduct DescriptionValue (US$ millions)(%) Change
20182019
84Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery
and mechanical appliances; parts thereof
47.9329.18-39.1%
81Other base metals; cermets; articles thereof10.8619.6881.2%
85Electrical machinery & equip. & parts; sound recorders and
reproducers, television image and sound recorders and
reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles
10.0110.131.2%
90Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring,
checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments
and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof
4.989.0982.5%
20Preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants17.667.49-57.6%
73Articles of iron or steel6.105.79-5.1%
29Organic chemicals3.735.7153.1%
70Glass and glassware2.635.68116%
88Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof1.803.2781.7%
40Rubber and articles thereof1.692.6556.8%
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