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16 Mind-Blowing Facts About China

China railwayREUTERS/China Daily

The vast scale of China’s land mass and its population means that China produces and consumes copious amounts of natural resources and food.

It also means that China houses a large chunk of the world’s billionaires.

We dug around to find some interesting statistics. Did you know that China’s railway lines could loop around earth twice?

Here are some interesting facts about the world’s second largest economy, which could soon eclipse the U.S. to become the world’s largest this year.

20 million trees are cut every year to meet Chinese demand for chopsticks.

China goes through 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks a year. The chopsticks are 1cm-by-0.5 centimeters (cms) and 20 cms long and can cover Tiananmen Square over 360 times. The trees that are cut down are around 20 years old.

Source: South China Morning Post

China's railway lines could loop around Earth twice.

The northern ice cap creeps over earth.

China's railway length, under operation, totals 93,000 kilometers. The Earth, meanwhile, is 40,075 kilometers in circumference.

Source: BAML

In two years, China produced more cement than the US did in the 20th century.

China is the world's largest cement producer and it produces and consumes about 60% of global cement.

Source: Financial Times

Smoking kills 1 million Chinese every year.

That's more than the entire population of Cyprus (~865,000). The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2050, smoking will kill 3 million Chinese each year.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

China's natural gas reserves are equivalent to about 1.24 billion Olympic size swimming pools.

At 109.3 trillion cubic feet, China has the world's thirteenth largest proven natural gas reserves. An Olympic-size swimming pool reportedly has a volume of 88,000 cubic feet.

Source: British Petroleum

China's annual instant-noodle consumption is enough to feed all of Algeria three meals a day for a year.

China consumed 42.5 billion packs of instant noodles in 2011. Algeria has a population of 38.7 million people.

Source: BAML

China eats about 5,200 Eiffel tower's worth of pork a year.

A vendor cuts up a piece of pork in her stall at a market in Beijing, January 11, 2013.

China consumed 52 million tons of pork in 2012 and 51.6 million tons in 2011. The Eiffel Tower is reported to weigh 10,000 tons.

Source: Rabobank

China's 20 richest people have a combined net worth of $US145.1 billion, which is larger than Hungary's GDP.

Hungary has a nominal GDP of $US124 billion.

Source: Forbes

Over 30 million people in China live in caves, that's more than the population of Saudi Arabia.

A man smokes at the door of his cave-room in Yuncheng, Shanxi province.

Many of China's cave-dwellers live in the Shaanxi province. Chinese president Xi Jinping reportedly lived in a cave when he was exiled to Shaanxi province during the Cultural Revolution.

Source: LA Times

About 8 billion pairs of socks are made annually in China's Datang District, also known as sock city.

Datang, Zhuji produces 8 billion pairs of socks a year, that was about two pairs of socks per person on the planet in 2011.

Source: The Guardian

China's suicide rate is more than double that of the U.S.

China has a suicide rate of about 22.2 deaths per 100,000 people. This compares to 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the U.S.

Source: WHO/AFP

China is close in size to the continental US but has just one time zone.

Beijing Standard Time is China's only time zone. China used to have five different time zones, but in 1949, Chairman Mao decided to have just one to promote national unity. This means that in parts of China the sun can rise as late as 10 a.m..

Source: The Atlantic

China's food system feeds nearly 25% of the global population on just 7% of its arable land.

'China's total farm output, a broad measure of food churned out, has tripled since 1978. The ramp-up in livestock production in particular is even more dizzying -- it rose by a factor of five,' reports Tom Philpott at Mother Jones.

Source: Mother Jones

Chinese consumer spending will triple by 2020.

Chinese consumer spending is projected to rise from $US2.03 trillion in 2010 to $US6.18 trillion annually in 2020. China will be the top global luxury market at $US245 billion.

Source: Boston Consulting Group

Half of the world's pigs reside in China.

China is the world's largest pork consumer, so it's no surprise that 475 million, or half of the world's pigs reside there.

Source: Earth Policy Institute

Now look at some equally impressive facts about Russia...

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