IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How big is China's digital economy?


  • Alicia Garcia-Herrero

    () (Adjunct Professor, Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    Chief Economist for Asia Pacific, NATIXIS
    Institute for Emerging Market Studies , Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Jianwei XU

    () (Associate professor, Beijing Normal University)


This paper reviews international measures of the digital economy with those developed by Chinese officials and private sources. Given their lack of comparability, we use China's input and output and census data to come up with an internationally comparable estimate of China's size of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector (the core of digital economy), both in terms of value added and employment. Based on the latest available statistics, our measurements indicate that China's digital economy is not bigger relative to the size of the Chinese economy than the OECD average, especially in terms of ICT employment. This finding, which might look striking based on the current perception of China's digital economy, masks large differences across regions (with Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai ahead of the OECD average).

Suggested Citation

  • Alicia Garcia-Herrero & Jianwei XU, 2018. "How big is China's digital economy?," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2018-56, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Jul 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:hku:wpaper:201856

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2018
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hku:wpaper:201856. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Carla Chan). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.