China's environmental problems are severe and many.  These problems have left China with an acute lack of safe and usable air, quality water, and farmable land, and are extracting a serious toll on China’s delicate social, human and economic landscapes.

The World Bank has estimated that approximately 10% of China's annual GDP is spent on medical bills, economic loss and disaster relief, and the proportion is growing.

At present, China's environmental protection industry is unable to meet the demand of the country's rapid economic development or the need for environmental protection.  China allocated USD100 billion (more than 1% of annual GDP) in its current 10th 5-year plan (2000 - 2005) to combat environmental problems but will need to invest many billions more if China is to bring its environmental problems under control and prevent an ecological meltdown.

These serious environmental problems provide tremendous opportunities for foreign companies to supply environmental products, services and technology and invest in China’s environmental sector to help improve China’s ecological system.

China plans to spend $85 billion to meet its environmental goals for its 2001 - 2005 Five-Year Plan. For the 2008 Olympics alone, China intends to spend $12 billion on environmental projects (Office of Environmental Technologies Industries, US Department of Commerce, 2004). Demand in the Chinese environmental market is growing rapidly at over 10% annually (Export Development Canada, 2004). For example, projected demand in just the sector of energy efficient technologies is estimated at some $200 billion over the next decade. 

China's Major Environmental Problems Include:

  • Air pollution that leads to health problems. China has 16 of the 20 most air polluted cities in the world and death from respiratory disease is now 1 in 4 deaths

  • Water pollution and water shortage that lead to social and economic concerns. Half of China’s major cities are short of water and China’s rivers and lakes are drying up at a rapid rate and the price of water is rising quickly

  • Soil erosion and chemical contamination that leads to loss of farmland. China has ¼ of the world’s population but less than 10% of the globe's land

  • Desertification and flooding that lead to loss of farm land and severe and frequent social and economic difficulties. Serious annual flooding occurs along China’s major river systems such as Yangtze and Yellow River and sand storms that blanket NE China and neighbouring Japan and Korea

  • Inadequate treatment of solid, liquid and hazardous municipal, industrial and medical waste that leads to social, health and economic problems. This is particularly serious in NE China, the former home to China’s heavy industries


Major Causes of China's Environmental Problems Include:

  • A large population

  • The world’s largest agricultural country. Agriculture is the heaviest user of water

  • Rapid economic growth

  • Poor farming practices and a large population of livestock animals. China has 400 million cattle/sheep/goats and increasing

  • Rapid industrialization that generates waste and increased usage of water

  • Urbanization

  • Inefficient usage of land and water both in agriculture and industry

  • Out-dated and inefficient heavy industries that generates too much waste, especially in Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang provinces, the industry heart land of China

  • Loss of old growth forest and grassland

  • Poor government regulation and control and usage of natural resources

  • Lack of power and resources in China’s State Environmental Protection Administration [SEPA]

Major Business Opportunities



Waste collection, treatment, recycling and disposal systems and technology for municipal and industrial wastes


Waste management, sampling and monitoring know-how and equipment


Air quality control systems, equipment and technology


Water usage, treatment, recycling and management systems, equipment and technology for farming and industrial application


Water delivery and quality improvement equipment and technology


Environmentally-friendly clean green machinery and technology


Land degradation-prevention systems and technology


Livestock, plant and pasture varieties suitable for environmental protection and improvement, sustainable animal husbandry and reclamation of degraded land


Environmental and ecological protection and management training and consultancies


Keys Needed to Develop and Capture Business Opportunities in China


How AgrifoodAsia Can Help You


In view of the vast business potential in China, businesses worldwide are actively searching for ways and means to access China’s vast market.  However, while tremendous opportunities exist in the huge Chinese agrifood market, accessing and turning those opportunities into reality is not easy.


Unless you have a product or service that sells itself, having a quality product or service at a competitive price does not necessary translate into instant success in China. The average foreign organization or company would still be required to spend



 financial and human resources and years of time to build and acquire the China knowledge, business structures, networks and skills necessary for sustainable success in China.


AgrifoodAsia can minimize your chance of disappointment and lost opportunities, and save you time, money and effort by providing you with our extensive China business structures, mechanisms, networks, expertise and experience, and equip you with the skills necessary for you to DO and MAKE business HAPPEN in China through our training program.


Please browse our Partner and Business Centres for more information on how we can work with you to make business happen for you.