China Overtakes U.S. as World's Leading Exporter of Information Technology Goods

PRC producing more of its own electronic components, importing more IT, communications purchases from other Asian nations

PRC producing more of its own electronic components, importing more IT, communications purchases from other Asian nations

Washington, DC — December 13, 2005 — China overtook the United States in 2004 to become the world's leading exporter of information and communications technology (ICT) goods such as mobile phones, laptop computers and digital cameras, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

China exported $180 billion worth of ICT goods in 2004, compared with U.S. exports in the same category valued at $149 billion. In 2003, the United States led with exports of ICT goods worth $137 billion, followed by China with $123 billion.

China's share of total world trade in ICT goods, including both imports and exports, rose to $329 billion in 2004, up from $234 billion in 2003 and $35 billion in 1996. By comparison, the U.S. share of total world trade stood at $375 billion in 2004, $301 billion in 2003 and $230 billion in 1996.

According to the OECD, the data show a shift towards more trade between China and other Asian countries, with a corresponding decline in ICT imports to this region from the European Union and the United States. To manufacture laptops and advanced mobile phones, China previously relied on electronic components, such as computer chips, imported from the European Union and United States. These are now also being increasingly sourced from other Asian countries, including Japan (18 percent of China's ICT imports), Chinese Taipei (16 percent), Korea (13 percent) and Malaysia (8 percent).

The increased share of Japan's exports to China, for example, was mainly in electronic components. China itself is also manufacturing and exporting more electronic components than ever before, with these now forming China's second largest export item, after computer and related equipment.

China is the single largest exporter of ICT goods to the U.S. market, supplying 27 percent of all U.S. imports of these goods in 2004, up from only 10 percent in 2000. Its ICT trade surplus with the United States stood at $34 billion in 2004 and with the European Union at $27 billion.

Additional Articles of Interest

— With U.S. manufacturers increasingly challenged by global rivals, American Axle & Manufacturing's Abdallah Shanti believes that the best way to compete is to collaborate. Read more in "Uniting for a Competitive Edge," in the December2003/January 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— All that glitters may not be gold when it comes to outsourcing manufacturing productions to China. First, weigh the costs and learn the facts with this helpful guide. Read "China or Bust: Recognizing the True Costs of Outsourcing" on

— Look before you leap: For tips to follow before you set up shop in China, especially with regard to the supply chain, read the exclusive "Entering China: No One Said It Was Easy."