From an ecological perspective Early Pleistocene hominin large cutting tool (LCT; aka Acheulean handaxe) technology was an aspect of a behavioral package that also included increased lithic productivity, utility, and transport distance. The appearance of this behavioral package shortly after ~2 Ma is thought to have been related to coeval archaeological and paleontological evidence for increased dietary reliance on nutrient-rich animal and plant tissues, increased foraging ranges, increased cooperative behavior, increased brain and body size, and changes in hominin life history. However, the relationships between these changes are still not well understood and some inconsistencies in the paleoanthropological record require further explanation. One example of this is found from the Early Pleistocene record of East Asia, where LCTs do not seem to have been associated with the relatively large brained and large bodied hominin population(s) that expanded into the region around ~1.7 Ma. Furthermore, the earliest evidence of LCT technology in the East Asian record is strikingly dated to the very end of the Early Pleistocene around ~0.8 Ma. Therefor, we ask if this approximately 900,000 year gap in the East Asian record regarding LCT technology was also associated with an absence of increased aspects of lithic productivity, utility and transport. To address this question we investigate lithic assemblages without LCTs from the substantial late-Early Pleistocene archaeological record of Nihewan Basin, China, using a techno-economic approach which reconstructs reduction sequences and measures productivity and utility parameters within and between assemblages. The results are combined with other lines of evidence in order to reconstruct a clearer picture of Early Pleistocene hominin paleoecology at Nihewan, and advance our knowledge of general hominin paleobiology and lithic technology in East Asia during the Early Pleistocene and beyond.