WASHINGTON, July 8—China’s economy will surpass that of the United States by 2035 and be twice its size by midcentury, a new report by Albert Keidel concludes. China’s rapid growth is driven by domestic demand—not exports—and will sustain high single-digit growth rates well into this century.

In China’s Economic Rise—Fact and Fiction, Keidel examines China’s likely economic trajectory and its implications for global commercial, institutional, and military leadership.

Key Conclusions:

  • Potential stumbling blocks to sustained Chinese growth—export concerns, domestic economic instability, inequality and poverty, pollution, social unrest, or even corruption and slow political reform—are unlikely to undermine China’s long-term success.
  • China’s financial system, rather than a shortcoming that compromises growth potential, is one of the strengths of what the report calls “China’s money-making machine,” in part because of its ability to support the financing of infrastructure and other public investments necessary for sustained rapid growth.
  • A Chinese economy that eclipses the U.S. by midcentury has both commercial and potential military implications. China will be the preeminent world commercial influence. China’s military capabilities are a small fraction of the United States’ today, so there is time to prepare for a very different world in fifty years, says the report.  
  • American policy makers should take this opportunity to enact wide-ranging domestic reforms and rethink their concepts of global order.  

"China’s economic performance clearly is no flash in the pan. Its growth this decade has averaged more than 10 percent a year and is still going strong in the first half of 2008. Because its success in recent decades has not been export-led but driven by domestic demand, its rapid growth can continue well into the twenty-first century, unfettered by world market limitation. China’s likely continued success will eventually bring an end to America’s global economic preeminence, requiring strategic reassessment by all major economies—especially the United States, the European Union, Japan, and even China itself."

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bulletNOTES
  • Direct link to the PDF: www.carnegieendowment.org/files/pb61_keidel_final.pdf

     
  • Albert Keidel is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, where he specializes in Chinese economic issues and related U.S. policy. He formerly served as deputy director and acting director at the Office of East Asian Nations in the U.S. Treasury Department. Before that, he was senior economist at the World Bank office in Beijing.

     
  • The Carnegie China Program in Beijing and Washington provides policy makers in both countries with a better understanding of the dynamics within China and between the United States and China. In addition to books, policy briefs, papers, and other publications, the Program produces Carnegie China Insight Monthly, a Chinese-language e-newsletter, and hosts the Hong Kong Journal, an online quarterly covering political, economic, and social issues on Hong Kong and its relations with mainland China, the United States, and other governments and international organizations.

     
  • Press Contact: Trent Perrotto, 202/939-2372, tperrotto@ceip.org