In 2004 Lenovo, the first Chinese manufacturer of personal computers, bought the PC division of the US company IBM, making it the third world group in the sector, while in 2005, although China has never been one of the major players in the production of cars, overall car sales exceeded those of Japan with 5.92 million units and exports (172,000 cars) exceeded imports for the first time. Mechanical plants are now present all over the country, but the most important complexes are located in Shanghai, Harbin, Dalian, Tianjin, Nanjing, Changzhou, Taiyuan, Fushan, Wuchang, Chengdu. The chemical industry (traditionally placed at the service of agriculture) is rapidly expanding, in particular that of plastics; the most important centers are Shanghai, Canton, Nanjing, Tianjin, Fuzhou, Chongqing, Ürümqi. It is able to supply a wide range of basic products, from synthetic rubber to sulfuric acid, caustic soda, etc., and some fine chemical products (such as drugs) which, however, still constitute one of the main items of import. The enormous efforts aimed at strengthening the basic sectors are also expressed by the data relating to cement: China is by far the largest producer in the world. Among the manufacturing activities, the textile one prevails, flourishing since the end of the century. As a country located in Asia categorized by Healthvv, China holds the world record both for the production of cotton yarns and fabrics, and for woolen yarns and fabrics. Silk is also processed and the production of synthetic fibers is growing rapidly. Also in this sector the dislocation of the industries is now very varied, with a prevalence for the silk sector in the traditional centers of the Chang Jiang basin and for artificial fibers in Shanghai, Canton and Harbin. Finally, among the food industries, those relating to rice polishing and wheat milling prevail; however, the oil sector (especially in Manchuria), the sugar sector, the manufacture of tobacco, the conservation of fish, paper and wood panel industry. Craftsmanship, which created exquisitely crafted objects, inevitably paid the price for the industrialization of the country; even if partially transformed into mass-produced products for export, porcelains, glass, lacquers, silks, embroideries, carpets, etc. are still produced, which have become the object of trade also within the country. Furthermore, also for the production of consumer goods, the model of widespread small industry, located in smaller urban areas and, increasingly, in rural areas, is gaining ground.
The mining production is remarkable, essentially developed only since the 1950s, in the great effort of industrialization sustained. China dominates international markets and is particularly rich in energy minerals: for coal it is the first producer in the world (mainly extensive deposits in Manchuria, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and northern Xinjiang), with over 1.85 million tons produced in 2005. It owns 10% of the world reserves of oil with 180 million tonnes extracted and there are prospects for further growth; the main oil areas are located in the Manchu province of Heilongjiang (where the very rich Daqing field is located), in Xinjiang, Sichuan and Gansu. In the late 1970s, deposits of particular importance were discovered near the Chu Ching estuary and in the Qaidam basin: therefore, relationships were established with Western companies for further exploration in the China Sea, the Yellow Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin.. The reserves of natural gas are fair, estimated at approx. half in Sichuan. In Ürümqi, Xinjiang, uranium ores are mined and used in the local atomic plant. For iron, China is at the top of the world rankings with an annual production which in 2006 amounted to 520 million tons (it should be noted that in the last 15-20 years production has tripled). Of the metal ores, iron is mainly present in the Anshan area (Liaoning) as well as in Tayeh (Hubei), near Bautou (Inner Mongolia) and in various other areas, often near coal deposits. China is also the first world producer of tungsten and zinc; Furthermore, considerable quantities of lead (second world producer), nickel, antimony, manganese, tungsten, molybdenum, mercury, copper, bauxite, tin are extracted. Among the non-metallic minerals, phosphates, sulfur, salt, kaolin, gypsum and talc are well represented. However, there is no doubt that a large part of China’s mineral resources are still susceptible to more intense exploitation. Electricity production, which has tripled in the last twenty years, exceeds 2,000 billion kWh and has become the second in the world after that of the United States, with installations that now also reach peripheral regions, such as Tibet; however, it is always a production lower than the needs of a nation in great industrial expansion. Given the availability of oil and especially coal, most of the energy produced in the country (4/5) is of thermal origin; nuclear power plants are located in Dayawan (Guangdong) and Quinshan (Zhejiang) and a third is nearing completion in Dapeng (Guangdong), but another 30 new plants are scheduled to be completed by 2020. Hydroelectric plants, on the other hand, are already numerous and recently two new, large ones have been built on Huang He.