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China: The Two Major Sectors: Agriculture and Industry
Country Study > Chapter 5 > Economic Context > Structure and Operation of the Economy > The Two Major Sectors: Agriculture and Industry


The two most important sectors of the economy were agriculture andindustry, which together employed 80 percent of the labor force and in 1985 produced 72 percent of GNP. The two sectors differed in nearly all respects. Technology, labor productivity, and incomes advanced much more rapidly in industry than in agriculture. Agricultural output was vulnerable to the effects of weather, while industry was more directly influenced by political upheavals. The organization of industry was based on state and collective ownership, planning, and wage labor, while that of agriculture was built around household farming, self-reliance, and market incentives. The disparities between the two sectors combined to form an economic-cultural-social gap between the rural and urban areas -- the major division in Chinese society.

Data as of July 1987

Last Updated: July 1987

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for China was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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