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  July 19, 2005
    The foreign trade turnover of Chinese natural stone is still registering high growth rates, particularly for imports. According to Hou Jianhua, statistician and editor at the national Chinese natural stone association, the import volume between 2000 and 2004 rose from 1.73 million tons worth 400 million US$ to 4.21 million tons worth 750 million US$. This equates to an 88 % rise in turnover in money terms.
    The quantity of natural stone imported rose by a factor of 1.43. The most popular kinds of natural stone for import are marble in rough or slab form and rough granite. Domestic production cannot cover the heavy demand for these popular materials. Natural stone is a material with characteristic local variations and inimitable distinctiveness.
    The demand and with it stone imports to China will therefore continue to increase, with forecast annual growth rates of well over 15 %. Trade between China and foreign countries is usually handled by setting up agencies in China, via sale on commission or through joint ventures and other long-term business relationships. It is also usual for companies to exhibit at trade fairs, although more for image care reasons.
    The Chinese export figures for natural stone are also rising: from 6.55 million tons worth 815 million US$ in 2000 to 9.43 million tons worth 1,676 million US$ in 2004. This means turnover has more than doubled in money terms, with the quantity of natural stone exported increasing by a factor of 1.44. China exports natural stone to 126 countries and regions throughout the world.
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