The most populous city in central China, Wuhan is a major transportation hub, and the political, economic, financial, cultural, and educational center of central China. The city is a strong iron and steel production base and is home to Wuhan Iron and Steel group, the third largest iron and steel producer in China. Other major industries include optical-electronic, automobiles, new pharmaceutical, biology engineering, new materials and environmental protection. Future plans include the development of modern manufacturing industries, technology improvement, and the formation of industry clusters.
The automotive industry performed particularly strongly in 2010, with output reaching RMB105 billion ($15.5 billion), and becoming the first industry in the city to top annual output of more than RMB100 billion. Additionally, Wuhan is a fixture for shopping in central China, with retail consumption accounting for 47% of GDP in 2008, the second highest amongst comparable cities.