The more you learn about China, the more you’re amazed by China. The speed of its economic evolution; the singular beauty of its culture; its polar societal extremes. Here are seven facts about the monolithic country you’ll be amazed to find are true.

  1. 80% of toys are made in China

According to National Geographic, the vast majority of toys exported worldwide are manufactured in China. Christmas trees, too: 85% of those come from China.

  1. The pig picture

China has and uses more pigs than the next 43 pork-producing countries put together, Business Insider and China Real Time Report point out. In 2008, China had 446.4 million pigs; the United States had the second highest amount with 65.9 million.

  1. The big smoke

The Chinese collectively smoke around 50,000 cigarettes every second.

  1. Just desert

China has a Peru-sized patch of partially man-made desert caused by land dehydration and deforestation. The numbers suggest the Gobi Desert is expanding at a rate of 2,253 square kilometres every year.

  1. The lights are on, but…

Forget the 64 million vacant homes strewn across the Chinese mainland – there exist entire cities with no inhabitants. Some of the cities are strange, too: take Thames Town in Shanghai, which is a small-scale replica of London.

  1. Everything must go

China has the world’s biggest shopping plaza, but no one’s been there since 2005. The multilevel centre is devoid of shops and shoppers.

  1. Start spreading the news

It’s predicted by 2025 China will have built enough skyscrapers to fill around 10 cities the size of New York. Just imagine the amount of space needed

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