||Olefins are one of the most important oil derivatives widely used in industry. To reduce the dependence of olefins industry on oil, China is increasing the production of olefins from alternative energy resources, especially from coal. This study is concerned with the opportunities and obstacles of coal-to-olefins development, and focuses on making an overall techno-economic analysis of a coal-to-olefins plant with the capacity of 0.7 Mt/a olefins. Comparison is made with a 1.5 Mt/a oil-to-olefins plant based on three criteria including energy efficiency, capital investment, and product cost. It was found that the coal-based olefins process show prominent advantage in product cost because of the low price of its feedstock. However, it suffers from the limitations of higher capital investment, lower energy efficiency, and higher emissions. The effects of production scale, raw material price, and carbon tax were varied for the two production routes, and thus the operational regions were found for the coal-to-olefins process to be competitive.