How big is the Chinese economy?

By | June 15, 2012

These graphs from the Economist describe China’s economy, growth and influence. China certainly has issues (e.g., demographic imbalance, rich-poor disparity, censorship) but you have to admit, China has been putting up some incredible economic numbers. Chinese economy is HUGE.

1) Currently, the Chinese and US economy are approximately the 12-13% of the of global economy each.   A researcher at the Petersen Institute for International Economics forecasts that China will be 18% of the global economy by 2030. Source here

2) When looking at the world’s largest employers, 4 of the 10 ten global employers are Chinese.  All four are state-owned (Army, Oil, Utilities, Postal Service)  Source here

Largest Chinese Companies3) This table shows the year when China overtook, or is forecast to overtake the US across a number of metrics. . . including beer consumption.  Source here

  • China overtook the US in steel consumption in 1999 and now uses 6x as much
  • China is forecast to have more companies in the Fortune 500 than the US by 2016
  • China is forecast to spend more on defense by 2025

China US comparison4) The Pew Research Center conducted a survey of citizens from 21 different countries. They asked, “Who is the world’s leading economic power, China or the US?” Source here

  • In 2008, only 1 country thought China was more economically powerful than the US
  • In 2012, 11 countries (out of 21) think that China is more powerful than the US
  • Oddly, the US and China see each each as the stronger economic power

China vs US economic power

5)  We often mention China and India in the same breadth (think “BRIC”), but they are actually at different levels of development. This graph shows how the two countries compare, and also how many years since China was at India’s current level.  Source here

  • India reached $3,200 GDP per head in 2009.  China reach that point 9 years ago
  • India life expectancy is at 65 years, while China is at 73 years
  • Chinese adult literacy is above 90%, while India’s is less than 70%

China India comparison6) Finally, this graph shows GDP growth per capita between 2001-2010. China was the #4 fastest growing economy. This is crazy impressive since China’s population (approximately 1.4 billion) is about 90x larger than the combined population of #1 Equatorial Guinea, #2 Azerbaijan and #3 Turkmenistan (15 million) combined. Source here

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