Who Did Ancient China Trade With?

Ancient China traded with a number of countries, including Korea and Japan. China also traded with various African and European countries.

The establishment of silk trade routes by the Han Dynasty expanded China's reach beyond its own borders as it became a more economically viable nation. Called the Silk Road, the path for trading goods extended across regional borders. It is important to note that at this point in history, China's provinces were not united and as such, trade between dynasties were similar to trade between China and other countries.

In the early part of the 3rd millennium B.C., the Greek empire had established itself in Central Asia, which helped create opportunities for Chinese trade with Greece by 200 B.C. By the time Rome had conquered Egypt in 30 B.C., China had established trade routes to Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East and Europe.

During the reign of the Song Dynasty, maritime trade extended China's reach to Korea and Japan. By the 16th century, China had a thriving trade with Great Britain. Trade with American colonies did not flourish until the 19th century, during which time the tea and opium industries grew. By the mid-1800s, America was exporting more textiles to China than in previous years as cotton production aided the development of local cloth.