China's top exports are broadcasting equipment ($231B), computers ($146B), office machine parts ($90.8B), integrated circuits ($80.1B) and telephones ($62B), according to 2017 data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-linked trade tracker.
Its top imports are integrated circuits ($207B), crude petroleum ($144B), iron ore ($59B), cars ($46.8B) and gold ($40.3B).
"As world’s largest export economy, by the same token China imports a lot," Arthur Dong of Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business told FOX Business.
"China's energy needs far exceed their own ability to produce their own energy, ... They're very dependent on foreign sources," Dong said. "They don’t have ability to feed themselves, so they're highly dependent on purchases of grain and protein."
China's economy was able to take off after becoming a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001, something advocated for by the U.S. under President Bill Clinton.
"Without even looking at statistics, we can all acknowledge everybody has something made in China," Dong said. "Your iPhone, clothes, shoes, home furnishings — it seems everything is coming from China."
The trade imbalance between the U.S. and China partially motivated the Trump administration's trade war.
"The trade deficit has grown because Americans are wealthier than the Chinese," Heritage Foundation policy analyst Riley Walters, who focuses on Asian economies and tech, told FOX Business. "We’re able to buy more from China than the Chinese are able to buy from us."
Hong Kong and Japan are China's other major trading partners.
However, China's export-driven economy has its downsides. The country had to invest in itself to continue growing when exports slowed down during the global recession of the late 2000s.
"China pivoted. What they did was emphasize investment, one of the components of GDP," Dong said, describing China's actions as a "construction-related binge."
In fact, the country poured more concrete between 2011 and 2013 than the entire U.S. used in the 20th century. That decision meant the country took on loads of debt, but China's leaders have managed to steer it away from economic collapse so far, Dong said.
"There’s still a large section of the economy and industry that has this state factor," Walters said. "At the end of the day, if politicians in Beijing or provincial governments ever want to influence the local economy or national economy, they certainly have the power to do that."