The Overview of Foreign Trade of China’s Hardware Industry in 2016
1. The foreign trade of hardware industry shows negative growth due to multiple factors
According to the Custom, from Jan.-Dec., 2016, the total export & import amount of China’s Hardware Industry reached 116.947 billion US dollars, a 6.98% decrease year on year. This is the first negative growth in the industry in recent years, and the growth rate decreased 7.73-percentage points over the same period last year. To be specific, the total export amount reached 95.237 billion US dollars, decreasing 8.53% year on year and dropping 11.34 percentage points compared to the same period of last year; the total import amount reached 21.71 billion US dollars, with a year on year growth of 0.49%, increasing 8.6 percentage points compared to the same period of last year. In 2016, the foreign trade of China’s Hardware Industry encountered a downward pressure, with 9 months trade slowdown. In the second half of 2016, the export & import trade recovered gradually; therefore, the overall accumulative growth rate returned to a positive growth.
Diagram 1-1 Monthly Import & Export Amount of China’s Standard Hardware Industry forThree Consecutive Years
2. Most sub-sectors encountered negative growth in the foreign trade
From Jan.-Dec., 2016, among all sub-sectors of hardware industry, building hardware, hardware tools, bathroom hardware and daily hardware accounted for as high as over 10% in terms of total import and export amount and reached 37.952 billion US dollars, 20.919 billion US dollars, 16.132 billion US dollars and 15.882 billion US dollars, respectively.
Only hardware tools maintain a positive growth of 0.27%, while all other sub-sectors encountered negative growth. Stainless steel tableware suffered the most, the rate of which dropped over 20%.
Diagram 1-2 The Proportion of Import & Export Amount of China’s Hardware Sub-Sectors for Jan.-Dec., 2016
Table 1-1 The Import & Export Amount and YoY Proportion of China’s Hardware Sub-Sectors for Jan.-Dec., 2016
(In order of YoY growth) Unit: USD
Cumulative Current Period
Cumulative Corresponding Period last Year
Cookware & Aluminum Product
Stainless Steel Tableware
3. Foreign trade growth rate is slightly slower than the Light Industry
From Jan.-Dec., 2016,the total foreign trade of China’s Light Industry fell 6.59% year on year, compared with China’s Hardware Industry that fell 6.98% year on year, slightly lower than the Light Industry. The import growth for China’s Light Industry and Hardware Industry fell 7.85% and 8.53%, respectively. China’s Light Industry and Hardware Industry grew -0.75% and 0.49% in terms of import, respectively. The export growth of Hardware Industry was lower than the Light Industry, and its import growth was higher than the Light Industry.
From the diagram below, it is obvious that both industries almost followed the same growth curve, but in July, August, November and December, the foreign trade growth of Hardware Industry was higher than the Light Industry.
Diagram 1-3 Foreign Trade Monthly Growth for Light Industry and Hardware Industry in 2016
4. Both trade surplus and growth dropped, but the surplus amount still remained higher
Since China’s hardware industry is an export-oriented industry, export trade is very crucial to the hardware industry. From Jan. –Dec., 2016, the total accumulated trade surplus of hardware industry reached 73.527 billion US dollars, with a decrease of 8.593 billion US dollars from the same period of 2015 and a surplus decline of 10.46% year on year; the growth rate of trade surplus of hardware industry dropped 16.64 percentage points compared to 2015. Although the trade surplus amount of China’s Hardware Industry was increasing in recent years and this year is the first time the industry encountered a trade surplus decline, the surplus amount still accounted for 62.87% of total foreign trade, which indicates Hardware Industry still plays a pivotal role in earning foreign exchange through exporting.
5. The ratio of general trade dropped slightly, but the advantage was still obvious
From Jan. to Dec., 2016, the general trade of China’s hardware industry reached a total import and export amount of 81.518 billion US dollars, falling 10.78% year on year, and accounting for 69.71% of total foreign trade of hardware industry, a drop of 2.96 percentage points from previous year. In particular, the accumulated general export trade reached 66.529 billion US dollars, falling 13.16% year on year and accounting for 69.86% of total export amount. The accumulated general import trade reached 14.989 billion US dollars, up 1.59% year on year, accounting for 69.04% of total import volume. Although ratio of general trade dropped slightly, it is nearly 70%, so the advantage is still obvious. Enterprises with higher ratio in general trade can boost their export added-value and improve their profitability. Overall, it is conducive to optimizing the trading structure of China’s hardware industry.
Table 1-2 Export Trade of Major Hardware Products
Export & Import in 2015
Import & Export in 2016
Hardware Industry Total
6. The import price of hardware product is higher than the export price, and industry needs to offer products with higher added-value
Table 1-3 Import & Export Price Comparison for Hardware Products
Pipeline Connector: No forgeable
Spare Parts (Saw)
Drilling Tool (with diamond)
Small Electric Tool
In major foreign trade of hardware products, most of the hardware product’s average import price was higher than their export price, except for several products such as massage bathtubs, plastic showers, measuring tools, drilling tools and nails, buttons. Import price of these four products---the lighter, saw parts, drilling tool with diamond and frying, was over 10 times higher than the export price, which was 26.21 times, 16.98 times, 15.22 times and 12.88 times, respectively. Such price difference encourages the hardware industry to upgrade their product and increase the added-value.
7. Industry trade is still widespread, while the traditional market is relatively stable
At present, China can produce a complete range of hardware products and many of them are the world’s No.1 in terms of production volume, which also make up a higher market share globally. According to the customs’ data, there are 11 product categories in hardware, with 241 Tax File Numbers. Hardware products are exported to 5 continents and 230 countries and regions, including USA, India, UK, Australia, France, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Canada, Malaysia etc. There were seven regions absent from export trade list compared to the same period of 2015. Hardware products are imported from 167 countries and regions, such as Vietnam, China, South Korea, USA, Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, Hong Kong etc. The number of import countries decreased by 26 compared to the same period of 2015, and meanwhile, there were 26 new regions added to the import trade list. The status of China's hardware production was constantly strengthening. China is moving toward to be a hardware production giant.
Table 1-4 Bilateral Trade of Hardware Product to Major Foreign Markets in 2016
Total Trade in 2015
Total Trade in 2016
Hardware Industry Total
The Belt and Road Countries
27 EU Nations
Ms. Ivy Zong
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Mr. Edward Gao
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