The needs and capacities to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) differ across regions and nations, but little research has been done to investigate their similarities and differences. Here, we proposed using SDG bundles (i.e. groups of regions with similar performances on all individual SDGs) to classify regions when assessing SDG progress and applied the method at the provincial level in China from 2000 to 2015. Five SDG bundles with distinct characteristics were identified. The dominant bundles changed from 'poor performance for all SDGs' in 2000 to 'high scores for environmental and some social SDGs and intermediate scores for others' and 'low scores for environmental SDGs but high scores for others' in 2015, indicating the overall improvement of China's sustainable development level. However, no bundle had relatively high scores in all SDGs, implying that China has much work left to do. Changes in the SDG bundles across space and time were related to regional socioeconomic development, climate, and geographic conditions. This study sheds light on identifying regions' strengths and weaknesses in achieving all SDGs, which can inform targeted sustainability actions for regions within certain SDG bundles and promote collaborations among regions with different bundles.