© 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Carbon emission reduction could be achieved through extensive cooperation between relevant groups such as businesses, governments and consumers. Generally, carbon emissions stem from consumer behaviour. To tackle the increasingly serious energy crisis and climate change in China, it is thus vital to control carbon emissions generated by the country's urban consumers. From a consumption perspective, we utilize a self-organizing feature map model to analyse the spatial differentiation of per capita embedded carbon footprint (ECF) in urban China. We found that the spatial differentiation is significant with the per capita ECF of the east coastal area at a high level and that per capita disposable income is the key factor affecting ECF. Based on these findings, potential business opportunities to develop low-carbon products are discussed.