China Industry Classification System - An Introduction

by Matt Slater March 03, 2017

China Industry Classification System - An Introduction

Most large economies have systems in place for categorizing their companies, and China is no different. 

The China Industry Classification system is widely used in the collection of official statistical data on companies and organizations throughout Mainland China.

As defined in Chinese national standard number "GB/T 4754", the China Industry Classification system identifies 95 different industry categories.

What is Industry Classification?

Industry classification is a way of grouping companies into distinct industries based on their business activities. It is a useful way for governments and other institutions to make sense of their economy by applying statistical methods.

Internationally there are many different systems in place, be it the United Nation's "International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities" or the "North American Industry Classification System" as used by the statistical bureaus of Canada, Mexico and USA.

China Industry Classification National Standard

Not only does China have a national standard for how to classify companies, but it is even available to purchase in English.

Standard number GB/T 4754, named "Industrial classification for national economic activities", defines three industry levels - Primary, Secondary and the interestingly named  "Third Industry".

As specified in this article, these three industry levels are subsequently broken down into 20 industries groups and 95 industry categories.

China Industry Classification Categories

The text below shows how the China Industry Classification system is structured, with each of the industry categories listed under their industry group.

Primary Industries

  • Farming, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery
    • Farming
    • Forestry
    • Animal husbandry
    • Fishery
    • Service industry for farming, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery

Secondary Industries

  • Mining Industry
    • Coal exploitation and washing
    • Exploitation of petroleum and natural gas
    • Extracting and dressing of ferrous metal mines
    • Extracting and dressing of non-ferrous metal ores
    • Extracting and dressing of nonmetal ores
    • Other mining industries
  • Manufacturing Industry
    • Manufacturing of agricultural and non-staple foodstuff
    • Foodstuff manufacturing industry
    • Beverage manufacturing industry
    • Tobacco industry
    • Textile industry
    • Manufacturing industry of textile costumes, shoes, and caps
    • Manufacturing industry of leather, fur, feather (cloth with soft nap) and their products
    • Wood processing and manufacturing industry of wood, bamboo, rattan, palm, and straw-made articles
    • Cabinetmaking industry
    • Papermaking and paper product industry
    • Printing industry and reproduction of record media
    • Manufacturing industry for culture, education and sports goods
    • Petroleum processing, coking and nuclear fuel manufacture
    • Chemical feedstock and chemical manufacturing industry
    • Medicine manufacturing industry
    • Chemical fiber manufacturing industry
    • Rubber production industry
    • Plastic industry
    • Non-metallic minerals product industry
    • Ferrous metal smelting and extrusion
    • Non-ferrous smelting and extrusion
    • Metalwork industry
    • General-purpose equipment manufacturing industry
    • Specialized facility manufacturing industry
    • Transport and communication facilities manufacturing industry
    • Electric machinery and equipment manufacturing industry
    • Manufacturing industry of communication equipment, computers and other electronic equipment
    • Manufacturing industry of instruments and meters, and machinery for culture and office
    • Artwork and other manufacturing industries
    • Processing of discarded resources, and waste and scrap recovery
  • Production and supply of electric power, gas and water
    • Production and supply of electric power and heat power
    • Gas generation and supply
    • Water production and supply
  • Construction industry
    • Building and civil engineer work industry
    • Construction and installation industry
    • Architectural decoration industry
    • Other building industries

The Third Industry!

  • Traffic, storage and mail business
    • Railage industry
    • Road transport industry
    • Urban public traffic industry
    • Marine traffic industry
    • Air transport industry
    • Pipage industry
    • Loading and unloading, portage and other transport service industries
    • Storage industry
    • Mail business
  • Information transfer, computer service and software industry
    • Telecom and other information transfer service industry
    • Computer service industry
    • Software industry
  • Wholesale and retail trade
    • Wholesale establishment
    • Retail trade
  • Accommodation and food industry
    • Lodging industry
    • Food industry
  • Finance industry
    • Banking
    • Securities business
    • Underwriting
    • Other finance operations
  • Realty business
    • Realty business
  • Leasehold and business service industry
    • Leasing industry
    • Commerce service industry
  • Scientific research, technical service and geologic examination industry
    • Development of researches and tests
    • Profession skill service industry
    • Both scientific and technological communications and generalization
    • Geologic examination industry
  • Water conservancy, environment and public institution management
    • Water management
    • Environmental management
    • Public facility management
  • Neighborhood services and other service industry
    • Neighborhood services industry
    • Other service industries
  • Education
    • Education
  • Sanitation, social security and social welfare industry
    • Sanitation
    • Social security industry
    • Social welfare industry
  • Cultural, physical and entertainment industry
    • Journalism industry
    • Radio, TV, film and audiovisual product industry
    • Culture and art industry
    • Physical culture
    • Entertainment industry
  • Public administration and social organization
    • CCP organ
    • Organs of state
    • The political consultative conference and democratic parties
    • Mass organizations, social communities and religion organizations
    • Grass roots self-management organizations
  • International organizations
    • International organizations

Revisions to Standard GB/T 4754

As economies develop and industries evolve the way they are categorized also needs to change to adapt to new realities.

The China Industry Classification standard GB/T 4754 was updated in both 2002 and 2011 to reflect such changes.

For example in 2002 the industry category "Weapons and ammunition manufacturing" was merged into "Special equipment manufacturing".

Matt Slater
Matt Slater


Hi there, I'm a British-Australian Engineer and Entrepreneur, recently moved back to Brisbane, Australia after nearly 9 years living in Shanghai. I founded China Checkup in 2013 because I was frustrated by the scarcity of concise, high-quality and timely information about Chinese companies.
My team are proud that China Checkup's verification reports now help clients worldwide do business in China safely. Have any questions? Email me at


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