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Sometimes referred to as the Hong Kong of Northern China, Dalian is home to Northeast China’s largest deep water port and is an important international shipping and logistics center. Situated on the isthmus of the Liaodong Peninsula in the bay of Korea, Dalian enjoys proximity to world markets with its location near Japan and Korea, and serves as the principal marine gateway to Northeastern China.

China’s northernmost ice-free port, Dalian Port handled more than 303 million tons of cargo throughput in 2012, ranking 3rd out of China’s ports and making it the 19th busiest container port in the world. Ninety-nine container shipping routes have been established, and average shipping capacity rose 4.2% over 2011. Dalian Port is listed on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges and is the first Chinese port with a dual listing. The majority of products manufactured in Northeast China are exported through Dalian, and most of the Northeast’s trade volume flows through Dalian’s ports. Dalian handles roughly 70% of the region’s cargo and 90% of the region’s container transportation. Dalian also has newly developed transportation links with the rest of Liaoning province and China’s northeast region, such as the high-speed train that connects Dalian to Harbin in four hours.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s city rankings, which measures cities with a population of over 1 million people on a variety of different metrics, Dalian’s economy ranked first in China in 2011. In 2012, Dalian’s GDP was more than $116 billion USD, with foreign trade comprising 55% of GDP, valued at more than $64 billion USD and growing at 9% over the previous year. Dalian alone contributed to 28%, 61% and 63% of Liaoning province’s GDP, foreign trade, and total imports. Dalian’s per capita GDP in 2012 was RMB 118,631, the highest in all of Liaoning province, and even higher than many first tier cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Of all cities in Liaoning Province, Dalian also boasts the highest annual wages and income per capita and has been repeatedly voted the city with the best living environment in China. Property prices are significantly lower than in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Dalian is a major destination for foreign investment, drawing in more FDI in 2011 than major first-tier international cities. This investment occurs in a variety of diverse industries. In 2011, Dalian had $11,012 million USD of utilized FDI, more than double that of the provincial capital, Shenyang. The city is host to large investments from several major Western companies such as Volkswagen, IBM, Oracle, and Dell, as well as Japanese, Korean, and Indian companies. Dalian boasts Intel’s most advanced wafer fabrication facility in Asia, with a total investment of around US $4 billion, making it one of the largest foreign high-tech investments in all of China. US manufacturers also have a significant presence in Dalian. The success of these firms demonstrates the market potential for US companies in the Northeast region.

Dalian’s Leading Industries

As a gateway to Northeast China, Dalian plays an integral role in the region’s economic development and serves as a financial base for Northeast Asia. As part of the Liaoning Coastal Economic Belt, Dalian’s industry strengths and trends exist in:

  • Advanced equipment manufacturing, especially heavy machinery and shipbuilding
  • Raw materials processing
  • Bio-pharmaceuticals
  • Petrochemicals
  • New energy
  • IT/Software/Chips
  • Electronics
  • Logistics
  • Tourism
  • Special Vehicles
  • Financial services
  • High-quality agricultural products and food processing

In the manufacturing sector, Dalian is prominent in the production of digital-control machine tools, heavy machinery, diesel oil engines, and auto parts. The city's manufacture of electronic products includes digital and audio systems, electronic equipment used in cars and ships, mobile telecommunication equipment, integrated circuits, computers & peripherals, and medical electronic apparatus. While historically linked with heavy manufacturing, Dalian is now striving to become a high tech and business process outsourcing hub and an R&D and innovation center for multinational companies. A historical base for China’s petrochemicals industry, Dalian not only ships oil sourced from the Northeast, but also imports and refines crude oil. The city is home to one of the largest oil refinery bases in China, with a refining capacity of 30 million tons per year. Dalian often hosts international conferences and expos, and the city attracts many tourists with its beautiful coastlines.

Best Prospects exist in:

  • Metro construction and expansion
  • Transportation infrastructure
  • Improving navigation capacity and logistics systems
  • Healthcare for foreigners
  • Education for foreigners
  • Specialized international hospitals (prenatal care)
  • Hospitality and Tourism

Development Zones

Dalian Development Area – Jinzhou New District

Dalian High-Tech Industrial Zone

Dalian Changxing Island Seaport Industrial Area

Dalian Software Park

Huayuankou Economic Zone

Dalian Economic and Technological Development Zone

Dalian Export Processing Zone

Dalian Free Trade Zone

Dalian Statistics


GDP (billion RMB)

GDP growth rate

Population (million)

Per Capita GDP (RMB)

Per Capita Disposable Income (RMB)

Foreign Trade (million USD)

Total Imports (million USD)

Total Exports (million USD)




























Source: Provincial and City level Economic and Societal Development Statistical Announcements (国民经济和社会发展统计公报); National Bureau of Statistics of China (中华人民共和国国家统计局); (中国统计信息网)

United States Foreign Commercial Service, Northeast China

The mission of our office is to assist American businesses enter and succeed in the Northeast China market. Our jurisdiction covers the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, together representing the fastest growing region of mainland China, with a population of 110 million and a land area of 800k square kilometers.

Please contact our office and let our Commercial Officer and team of Commercial Specialists help your business enter and succeed in Northeast China!

Commercial Service Shenyang Webpage

Contact Us

U.S. Commercial Service, Shenyang

52 Shi Si Wei Road, Heping District

Shenyang, Liaoning 110003, China

Tel: (86-24) 2322-1198

Fax: (86-24) 2322-2206

Email: Office.Shenyang@trade.gov

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