Key figures

Key figures
Key figures

Research overview

Responding to challenges and existing knowledge gaps facing the cooperative movement, this mapping research seeks to provide exhaustive information on cooperatives worldwide. This is achieved through a process jointly conducted by the ICA and its four regional offices – Cooperatives of the Americas, Cooperatives Europe, ICA Africa, and ICA Asia-Pacific – using a common methodology. Each office collected the input of ICA members present in the countries within its geographic area, by using the same questionnaire, and completing it with relevant national statistics, in order to obtain an accurate picture of the national situation. Mapping out cooperatives in each country provides a more precise picture of the cooperative context at national and regional levels, enhances the movement's visibility, networking, partnerships opportunities, as well as advocacy, and empowers cooperators by providing them tools for positive change.

This webpage presents a snapshot of the research results for China. For more information, you can download the full report and the highlights here.


Over its 100 years history, the Chinese cooperative movement has undergone periods of upheavals and revivals. Agriculture, handicrafts and rural credit were the three main sectors in which cooperatives were popularly found in China. Today, cooperatives, especially the supply and marketing cooperatives, play a vital role in developing the rural economy by providing services such as agricultural social service, rural e-commerce and rural cooperative finance; developing labour intensive industry, such as recycling of resources and daily consumption products to enable women and senior citizens to work at nearby places; and exploring housekeeping services, cultural and creative industries, tourism and other services. 


ICA has six members from China.

In China, the Mapping report was developed through secondary research. The data collected was for the reference year 2017.


In 2017, there were 30,281 primary (village-level) supply and marketing cooperatives (SMCs), 2,402 country-level federations of SMCs, 342 city-level federations of SMCs, 32 provincial-level federations of SMCs, 21,852 cooperative enterprises and 280 cooperative institutes represented by ACFSMC. There were 3.4 million employees in all SMCs represented by ACFSMC. 

Cooperatives in China are present in diverse sectors including handicrafts, rural credit, agricultural, renewable resources, supply and marketing, retail, and e-commerce, among others. 

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