• #1 in Mandarins/Tangerines, Grapefruit (incl. Pomelos), Other Citrus*
  • #3 in Oranges, Lemons & Limes

In 2011, China produced 12.7 million metric tons (MTs) of mandarins/tangerines or approximately 52% of the total global output for that year. Chinese output of grapefruit (incl. pomelos) and other citrus* totaled 3.6 million MTs (47% of global output) and 6.1 million MTs (also 47% of global output), respectively. China was a noteworthy producer of oranges with an output of 6.2 million MTs or 9% of global production (Brazil was #1 at 19.8 million MTs). Chinese lemon and lime production was recorded at 1.3 million MTs or 9% of global output (Mexico was #1 at 2.1 million MTs).


  • #1 is Hunan Province
  • #2 is Guangdong Province
  • #3 is Jiangxi Province

Citrus is a major cash crop in southern China, with production scattered along and south of the Yangtze River valley. Approximately 80% of the citrus fruits in China mature from late October to the end of December. In 2011, Hunan province produced 4.2 million MTs of citrus or approximately 14% of China’s total citrus output. Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces produced 3.7 million MTs (13% of China’s output) and 3.5 million MTs (12% of China’s output), respectively. Other regional citrus producers of note include Guangxi (3.5 million MTs or 12%), Hubei (3.3 million MTs or 11%), Sichuan (3.1 million MTs or 11%), and Fujian (3 million MTs or 10%).

China Citrus Production by Province


  • 2000: 8.7 million MTs at 6.7 MTs per hectare
  • 2011: 29.4 million MTs at 10.1 MTs per hectare

From 2000 to 2011, Chinese citrus production grew an average of 12% per year, with the greatest leap occurring from 2006 to 2007. The upsurge in output can be attributed to an increase in the area harvested and yields. Over the period, the area of harvested citrus rose from 1.3 million ha to 2.9 million ha, while yields increased to 12.4 MTs per ha in 2010 before declining to 10.1 MTs per ha in 2011.

China Citrus Production and Yield

Mandarins are the most popular citrus in China, with roughly double the output of oranges. However, mandarins have shown the slowest relative growth rate, increasing only 88% (6.7 million MTs to 12.7 million MTs) over the 2000 to 2011 period. Orange output has increased 426% from 1.1 million MTs to 6.2 million MTs. Grapefruit (incl. Pomelos) have shown the strongest relative growth rate, increasing from 268,000 MTs to 3.6 million MTs over the same period.

China Citrus Production by Fruit

Additional Reading

  • “China – Peoples Republic of, Citrus Annual” Global Agricultural Information Network, USDA-FAS; Dec 2012

*Other Citrus includes bergamot (Citrus bergamia); citron (C. medica var. cedrata); chinotto (C. myrtifolia); kumquat (Fortunella japonica). In addition to some other minor varieties of citrus which are used primarily in the preparation of perfumes and soft drinks. (FAOSTAT)