Hefei's economy has transitioned from an agricultural base to one pillared on automobiles, equipment manufacturing, home appliances, and chemicals and food processing. Rapid improvement of transport infrastructure, combined with low wages and pool of home-grown talent have supported Hefei's rapid growth. The government's plan to expand the Yangtze River Delta, China's economic growth engine, has Hefei playing a strategic role in connecting inner China with coastal regions. Additionally, the city's popularity as an investment destination is growing not only among Chinese manufacturers, but also among foreign manufacturers such as Unilever, Hitachi, and ABB.
Hefei has been relatively shielded from the 2008 financial crisis due to an economy strongly oriented towards the domestic market. Sweeping plans to manage the urbanization process, including the rapid development of new zones, makes Hefei likely to continue its breakneck growth
Hefei's GDP grew 13.6% RMB416.4 billion in 2012.