China is a vast country with a population of 1.4 billion and the world’s fastest-growing middle class; more than 100 Chinese cities each have a population of more than 1 million. Demand for U.S. products is strong in the market, since Chinese consumers consider these products to be of high quality and good value. China is also one of Wisconsin’s top trading partners, with more than $1.4 billion in goods and services from Wisconsin companies exported to China in 2016. In addition to being a fast-growing economy in general, China has a middle class that is among the world’s fastest-growing. Wisconsin companies that are not yet exporting to China would be wise to make a plan to enter this important market. An upcoming global trade venture to China, organized by the WEDC, will help connect you to potential buyers, distributors and other partners in the Chinese market. With logistics, interpretation and lodging arranged for you, you can focus your energies on meeting and vetting potential partners.


The top categories for Wisconsin products exported to China in 2016 were medical and scientific instruments (28 percent), industrial machinery (20 percent), electrical machinery (10 percent), non-rail vehicles and parts (5 percent) and wood products (5 percent).

The Chinese government’s current five-year plan focuses on improving the lives of ordinary Chinese citizens. Therefore, Wisconsin companies in the following sectors especially may benefit from exploring opportunities in China: energy, power and controls (particularly clean and renewable energy); water technology; food and beverage (especially processing equipment, ingredients and agricultural produce); and advanced manufacturing (especially machinery and new technologies).

Given the size and importance of the market, Wisconsin companies across many different sectors are encouraged to consider participating in this trade venture to explore opportunities in the market. However, due to China’s regional differences, unique regulatory environment and fast-changing marketing channels, it is not recommended as a first market for a company that is new to exporting; companies considering attending should have some prior exporting experience.


The global trade venture will take place April 13-25, 2018, and will include segments in Shanghai, Ningbo, Guangzhou and Beijing. In each city, participating companies will be scheduled for customized business meetings with potential local partners hand-picked for their companies by Wisconsin’s authorized trade representatives in China.

With a greater metropolitan area population of 34 million, Shanghai is China’s business and financial hub. Located in eastern China at the mouth of the Yangtze River, it is home to the world’s busiest container port.

Located just to the south of the Yangtze River delta is Ningbo, with a population of 3.5 million in the city proper and 7.6 million in the metro area. Since 2006, Ningbo and Milwaukee have had an agreement in place to encourage business, education and cultural exchange between the two cities. Ningbo is a major source of China’s exports in electrical products, textiles, food and industrial tools.

Guangzhou is the most developed city in southern China, with a population of 13.5 million. The city is the heart of Chinese manufacturing, and its proximity to Hong Kong makes it vibrant, progressive and cosmopolitan.

The program will conclude in the capital city of Beijing. With a population of 22 million, Beijing is the political, cultural and educational center of the country, as well as a technological research center and a major financial and insurance hub. With high per capita income and a growing middle class, Beijing is a promising market for Wisconsin products, especially those that promote efficiencies and or clean and sustainable urban living.