International Law

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China To Surpass US Economy by 2030?

I mentioned in class once that I would try to find out when experts believed that the Chinese economy would be larger than the US economy. 

The article below, from China Daily, recounts a World Bank report predicting that the economy of the People's Republic of China will be the world's largest by the end of the first third of the next century. 

(See the paragraph in bold.)



China: Slowdown of economic growth reasonable


China Daily

Copyright(C) 1998 CHINA DAILY

"ALTHOUGH China's economic growth may slow down bit by bit later, it will surely exceed that of the growing world economy, particularly of developed economies in the coming two to three decades," said Chen Dezhao, a senior expert with the China Centre for International Studies.

But to maintain its momentum of economic growth in the next century, China must focus its efforts on improving the pattern of its economic growth, urged Chen.

Since China adopted reforms and the opening-up policy in the late 1970s, it has enjoyed annual economic growth rates of 9.8 per cent from 1979 to 1997, leading to a tripling of its gross national product (GNP) in less than two decades.

The world has been fascinated by China's economic miracle, especially in relation to the country's future.

Last year, a World Bank report titled "China 2020: Development Challenges in the New Century" praised China's economic success as being the greatest achievement of the time. The report estimated that, in terms of national purchasing power, China's economy had surpassed Germany's and would exceed Japan's presently stagnant economy in 10 years. And then, maintaining a mere 7 per cent annual growth would ensure that China replaces the United States , whose economy is presumed to increase by 3 per cent yearly, to become the world's No 1 economic power between 2020 and 2030.

These views have misled some foreign media to overstate China's economic strength and have been used by some people to put forward the "China threat theory."

However, while the "China threat theory" was still echoing spasmodically, the Asian financial crisis erupted, bringing China
to the fore of the Asian economy.

Some people used the ongoing regional turmoil to express doubts as to whether China could overcome the difficulties it faces in its modernization drive. These people chose to ignore China's decision not to devalue its currency, a pillar that propped up many Asian economies struggling to weather the turmoil. They also ignored China's great efforts to maintain its economic growth, which, in turn, had become a significant source of global economic growth.

"Considering changes in the scale of China's economy and its pattern of economic growth, it is natural that China's economic growth should slow to 7 per cent at the beginning of the next century, still a fairly high growth rate," argued Chen.

Some optimistic Chinese economists are confident that China can maintain its rapid economic growth for another 30 years
through technical advancement.

While not so optimistic, Professor Chen said he believed that China and other Asian countries would survive the current
financial crisis and the economic miracle would be renewed.

"Economic development is not purely an economic problem, it also requires a comprehensive reflection of a country's political, cultural and social progress," said Chen. "The current sustained high economic growth China enjoys is a result of its overall reform over a long period." ....

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For corrections, comments, and questions, please e-mail John Setear.

This page was last updated on 02/09/99.