China's Santa factory capital tops richest county ranking

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 July, 2013, 9:10am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 July, 2013, 3:27pm

Counties in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu top the Forbes ranking of China's 10 richest county-level cities as other provinces are challenging Guangdong's status as the nation's economic powerhouse.

Yiwu in Zhejiang province, the hometown of the first translator of the Communist Manifesto Chen Wangdao, topped the ranking.

The Zhejiang city of roughly one million people is a manufacturing and trading hub dubbed Santa's China factory for producing most of the world's christmas products. It's average per capita disposable income of 40,000 yuan (HK$50,580) per year is the highest among China's counties, followed closely by Zhuji just 60km to its south.

Kunshan, a satellite city of Jiangsu's capital Suzhou, ranked third. The county-level city was the first in China to exceed a US$4,000 in economic output per capita in 2010, it now stands at roughly at US$5,736.

Five counties from each province ranked in the Forbes' list this year in the first such survey the magazine has made.

"Where is Guangdong!," one netizen commented when sharing the list on Sina Weibo, referring to the southern province which still topped the country's ranking in terms of economic output.

Its economy grew by "only" 8.2 per cent last year, according to provincial statistics, the fourth lowest growth rate among China's administrative divisions.

Jiangsu was ranked second last year. The province grew by 10.1 per cent last year, narrowing its gap to Guangdong and might soon retake the leading position it held in the 1980s.