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Where Korea espouses a balanced force and Japan a dependence on infantry, China's units revolve around one single component: cavalry. With cavalry units that more than equal those of the West in the Mercantile Era, the Chinese army on the charge is truly a terrifying prospect to deal with: with diminished or eliminated ramp cots on many units in the Colonial Era, China has the ability to out-produce and out-punch any faction in the game. Historically the Manchu laid great store in their cavalry and so the Manchu booi has stats similar to a cuirassier, but is available from the Colonial Era first.
Even so, the one most glaring issue with China (which is shared with the Malay faction) is that it is incapable of upgrading its units. Units that China receives early on are usually all that China gets, and with the exception of gunpowder infantry and cavalry, many of China's units will retain their stats throughout the whole game. This means that where other factions like Japan or the Western ones can update their armies en masse with a single standardised unit that is better than all others, China has to slog it out before it can recruit decent infantry and cavalry of the late game, which is usually possible only by  where Japan and Korea have already done so.
On the basis of economics, China has one special ability and that is the ability to instantaneously create villagers, merchants, traders and scholars. Although you will be wont to spam these in number, the actual way to using this power is to micro-manage the process. Usually, when people build new economic constructions that need to be staffed like mines and universities, they will either have too few or too many civilian units. A China player will be able to fine-tune their population to obtain the right number of villagers to buildings. Also, free villagers can be created into militia, although using militia as your primary attack force can be extremely punishing on you if it fails.