Top 10 manufacturing countries in the world

December 20, 2022

Top 10 manufacturing countries in the world

Manufacturing is a critical component for many product-focused businesses around the world. This list of the top 10 manufacturing countries in the world will give you an idea of where other companies outsource their production needs. According to the most recent data available by the United Nations Statistics Division, the list reflects the global manufacturing output in 2019. 

As you review this list to determine which countries might be best for your business, be sure to click the links to learn more about each country. Safeguard Global provides an in-depth review of each country, including compliance considerations, taxes, incorporation requirements, HR considerations, and other government regulations.  

Top 10 manufacturing countries in the world

  1. China – 28.7% Global Manufacturing Output
  2. United States – 16.8% Global Manufacturing Output
  3. Japan – 7.5% Global Manufacturing Output
  4. Germany – 5.3% Global Manufacturing Output
  5. India – 3.1% Global Manufacturing Output
  6. South Korea – 3% Global Manufacturing Output
  7. Italy – 2.1% Global Manufacturing Output
  8. France – 1.9% Global Manufacturing Output
  9. United Kingdom – 1.8% Global Manufacturing Output
  10. Indonesia – 1.6% Global Manufacturing Output

1. China – 28.7% Global Manufacturing Output  

Situated in East Asia, China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. It is the world’s most populous country with around 1.4 billion inhabitants. China has an entrepreneurial economy and is one of the best places to do business due to its low costs. 

China makes up 28.7% of the total global output for manufacturing. This accounted for nearly $4 trillion of the country’s overall economic output in 2019. Although the United States used to be the world’s top manufacturing hub, it has been over 10 years since China claimed the top position. With low costs, a large workforce, and strong production quality, China has a comfortable 10 percent lead on the United States.  

2. United States – 16.8% Global Manufacturing Output  

Manufacturing is a critical component of the U.S. GDP, comprising over $2.3 trillion in 2018. This industry was responsible for 11.6% of the total U.S. economic output, while comprising half the country’s total exports.  

With the recent pandemic, some companies have expressed concerns with manufacturing in China. With the outbreak originating from Wuhan, the pandemic disrupted supply chains and crippled business production across the world. This could be a sign that companies will begin to diversify their manufacturing centers across multiple countries.  

3. Japan – 7.5% Global Manufacturing Output

Set in the northwest Pacific Ocean, Japan is an island nation in East Asia with a population of 126.2 million people. Japan is culturally rich and famous for its animation, arts and crafts, cuisine, music, and many other industries. Major export industries here include consumer electronics, automobiles, computers, metals like iron, steel, copper, and semiconductors. 

Japan produced $1 trillion from manufacturing in 2019, making it the third most popular country for manufacturing. As companies continue to expand and search for manufacturing partners, Japan has proven to be reliable as one of the top 10 manufacturing countries in the world.  

4. Germany – 5.3% Global Manufacturing Output

With a population of 83 million people, Germany has emerged as one of the leading nations for importers and exporters. The German economy promotes the free market in the business and consumer goods sectors, which is why it has become one of the top 10 manufacturing countries in recent years.  

Germany is the leading European nation for manufacturing, with $806 billion coming from this sector in 2019.  

5. India – 3.1% Global Manufacturing Output 

India has grown into a reliable country for many business sectors. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India has the workforce and resources to climb this list of top 10 manufacturing countries within the next few years.  

Although India may be better known for their IT workforce support or customer service centers, they had over $412 billion from manufacturing output in 2018. As companies continue to diversify during global expansion, India can expect to see more growth in their manufacturing industry.  

6. South Korea – 3% Global Manufacturing Output

With a focus on high-tech, service-based economy, South Korea has turned into one of the fastest growing developed nations in the world.  

South Korea’s major exports consist of electrical equipment, vehicles, petroleum oils, parts, and accessories for vehicles. The main import items are petroleum oils, electrical equipment, gas, hydrocarbons, and coal. 

7. Italy – 2.1% Global Manufacturing Output

Although globally, Italy only ranks 7th on our list of top 10 manufacturing countries, their economic structure relies heavily on the manufacturing and services sector. With 60 million people, Italy is commonly known as one of the most industrialized countries in the world. Their reliable and developed production industry makes them a prime location for manufacturing.  

Primary exports for Italy include things such as metals and metal products, clothing and footwear, and motor vehicles. This industry alone contributed $314 billion to their national economy in 2018.  

8. France – 1.9% Global Manufacturing Output

With 67 million people, France is one of the most important agricultural producers in Europe and a global forerunner in the industrial power sector. The French federal government guarantees its citizens free basic amenities such as education, healthcare, and pension plans. France has been classified as a high-income and wealthy nation by the World Bank. 

France is one of the global leaders in manufacturing including for industries such as aerospace, automotive, railway, luxury goods and cosmetics. France primarily exports vehicles, aircraft, food products (wine), pharmaceutical products, electronic and hydrocarbon components. 

9. United Kingdom – 1.8% Global Manufacturing Output

Situated off the northwest coast of Europe, the United Kingdom is a sovereign state that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. London, the capital city of England, is a dominant international financial center and rates amongst the world’s best cities for business. With a population of over 66 million, the UK is a major center for the global economy. 

Although manufacturing is not their main focus, their economy made $253 billion from manufacturing in 2018. 

10. Indonesia – 1.6% Global Manufacturing Output

Indonesia’s main export products are mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, mineral waxes, bituminous substances, animal or vegetable fats and oils. Although they are at the bottom of the list for the top 10 manufacturing countries in the world, their momentum and growth could see them climb this list in the next few years.  

With $207 billion coming from manufacturing, Indonesia could look to continue the development of this sector to compete with places like India or China. 

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