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Can China become the world's biggest economy?

05:41 UK time, Monday, 14 February 2011

China has overtaken Japan as the world's second-biggest economy. How does this affect the global economy? And how might it affect businesses and consumers in the UK?

Japan's Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano played down the significance of the shift and said that "as an economy, we are not competing for rankings but working to improve citizens' lives." Japan has been hit by a drop in exports and consumer demand, while China has enjoyed a manufacturing boom.

At its current rate of growth, analysts see China replacing the US as the world's top economy in about a decade.

The BBC's economics editor, Stephanie Flanders, commented on her blog that "China's currency won't be a serious rival to the dollar until China opens its capital account and frees up its financial system," allowing for foreign investment in China and money to go out to the rest of the world.

What impact will China's growth have on the global economy? Could it bring a financial boost to the UK? Will China change its global role?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    It can come close to the US in size, but I personally doubt that China can overtake America with the current political and economical model. I mean 10000 bucks per capita (in todays' prices) is the upper limit for China theoretically if doesn't change her model to my mind, considering the examples of other quasi-freemarket autocratic economies and China's deficiency in oil and mineral resources. One more time bomb for China is the aging of population and future negative growth of population - surprise surprise - which, according to demographic studies will start just in 10 years time. China vs the US is a quality against quantity race, which in this particular case I think will be won by the latter

  • Comment number 2.

    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not sure it makes much difference to the UK - we'll still be run by Brussels.

  • Comment number 5.

    China #1 in 4 years.

    The US is bankrupt and they don't it.

  • Comment number 6.

    If the truth be known, they have already overtaken the US, but don't tell the Americans.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Probably already is. And if they need to make any cut-back in spending, they won't worry about complaints from the population in order to maintain that position.

  • Comment number 9.

    If we stopped giving oversea aid to countries who want to bomb us, then we would be the world's biggest economy.

    All I can say is "Good luck to china"

  • Comment number 10.

    Possibly. China has a quarter of the worlds population so it's unbalanced to over egg this growth in overall national wealth. The biggest factors will be how overseas demand changes toward Chinese exports, whether the Chinese free up their currency and also whether there will be large social changes. If the state becomes liable for greater welfare, an NHS equivalent etc then the amount it can invest back into industry will be massively reduced. I wouldn't like to predict, but as long as Chinas intentions are peaceful then I wish it all the best.

  • Comment number 11.

    China is buying Africa, with countless American dollars, all around the world cheap chineses goods are there to buy. The Chineses have the new slave labour factorys of the west, we can not live with they way of running any type of business no heatlh or safety laws pollution every where , no wage rules they get much less than min wage there , and no unions,{ outlawed} life is very cheap many workers are killed on the job daily ? allways some one else to take the job, China and India will be in maybe 20 years? the top dog, but at what cost to the rest of the world? But how many more Chinese and India workers will die?

  • Comment number 12.

    What worries me is that as China grows so the domestic population will more and more want to buy cars, fridges, air conditioning, plasma TVs etc. In fact all those things that create lots and lots of CO2. And there are a billion Chinese. India is way behind but also growing. There are a billion in India. That's a lot more CO2. If the 60 million in the UK produced no CO2 at all it would have practically no effect on the global total - which does make you wonder about the true value of all the CO2 initiatives we are taking - a bit like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Two billion Chinese/Indians are going to want their luxuries and who can blame them? But I doubt whether even a big reduction from the energy-guzzling USA will be enough to compensate. If global warming is man made then Earth in about 2100 is going to be a pretty inhospitable place.

    Our grandchildren could be in for a very tough time.

  • Comment number 13.

    If by doing so the vice-like grip that the USA has over the planet can be loosened, then I'm all for it.
    I predict that India will be in there too. I just hope that the barriers to internal trade that the USA has in place will not be copied by China and India.
    As for the UK, will the politicians here continue to suck up to the Americans, or will they move their sycophancy over to one of these upcoming nations? Will there be an embarrassment of Chinese "B" movies, endless screenings of purely Indian domestic politics, and top-story coverage of their elections, as if we had anything to do with them?
    To misquote a Chinese curse; "we may be in for some interesting times"

  • Comment number 14.

    I assume most of the contributors here have heard the term BRIC countries.

    These are:

    Brazil
    Russia
    India
    China

    Who are the new powers in the world. These are the emerging economies. The only blip is Russia, who held military power previously as one of the super-powers, fell into obscurity, and has re-emerged with gas and oil reserves.

    America, by contrast, is still a military power - for now - but is sliding quickly as an economic power. Like UK, they have lost a great deal of their manufacturing base, and continue to lose more. The "poorer" countries have taken this manufacturing and are creating a new world order. The only question is whether USA will try to change things while it still has a military might, or will it allow itself to be pushed down the ranks like UK, pretending that the service sector and financial sector will keep it riding high.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think so. China has committed its resources to beating the capitalists at their own game, while the capitalists -- most notably the US -- are focused on the old game. The US spends more than the *next 20 countries combined* on its military. Meanwhile China is investing in its infrastructure, economy, future, and growth.

  • Comment number 16.

    I suspect that China is already bigger than the US in trade and that has been achieved by copying products originally designed and made in the EU, Japan and USA and then selling those same products back to those nations on a cut-price basis. What is missing in that strategy is a detailed design capability and quality control in manufacture. Build those criteria into their economy then we have a more even playing field.
    Fashion and clothing, engineering tools and equipment, automotive components were all copied and at one time sold with fake original manufacturer logos and labels, the quality was poor because of a lack of engineering knowledge why products were made in a certain way and nearly every major manufacturer were at one time hit by this tactic. It is changing however and you can now see Made in China appearing on labels whereas before, that label was conspicuously missing.
    They need to come clean and compete on an even basis, then we can measure their economy against others.

  • Comment number 17.

    If China can change the 10 year financial cycle of boom and bust we will all be grateful.
    In my opinion when the new fatcats hit paydirt China will stagnate.

  • Comment number 18.

    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    By far the most naive statement I've read on HYS.
    As a regional power, China has the most influence within its immediate region. Now ask the Vietnamese, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Filipinos to see how they feel about the way China manage its neighborhood.

  • Comment number 19.

    I have absolutely no idea.

    But seeing as 99% of the items on my desk are made there, I wouldn't bet against it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Yes but not for long. Like India, China's growth is driven by the size of its population, the poverty and aspirations in that population growth in education standards, ability to exploit other people's technology and millions of emigrants who help their nations's cause from overseas. Fine. However once space and resources become an issue (as they certainly will in India and China) and those overseas markets become more resistant and competitive again I can see big problems for these 2 supposed giants. Their growth rates will be curbed and there will be unrest. All new empires rise and fall. While the US will fall less much quickly due to its space and natural resources, and perhaps even recover due to its alliance with Canada, and Russia might become a giant yet, India and China will stall and fall quickly. It could be said they are already at their peak.

  • Comment number 21.

    The Chinese are diligent and hard working people. Hopefully they will soon have their own aircraft manufacturing industry and offer to supply the world without the sanctions and underhand trading impositions that the USA applies. Concord was the victim of the Americans initially preventing it from flying there not because of the noise, as was their excuse, but becasue they could not build anything comparable. Once production was stopped they sudenly relented. The USA has wielded economic power for too long and time it was given a wake up call.

    As for rewriting history as some earlier comentor had mentioned. It was the Chinese who made the great discoveries of the world and Columbus used a copied Chinese map to show exactly where the Americas were.

    They have a history of inventions, exploration and civilisation.

  • Comment number 22.

    Amusing! when you consider back in the cold war days 'Communism' was regarded as very second in the world 'a threat' to those that were paranoid in the West.
    Who's the losers now?

    However, if China goes on polluting the planet as much as it is, there's not going to be alot left to be top dog of.
    America is the same, two major polluters of the world, happen to be the two with the biggest economies. Nothing to be proud of in my book, just makes you the 'Dirtiest' nations under the sun.

  • Comment number 23.

    18. At 09:53am on 14 Feb 2011, twelveAM wrote:

    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    By far the most naive statement I've read on HYS.
    As a regional power, China has the most influence within its immediate region. Now ask the Vietnamese, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Filipinos to see how they feel about the way China manage its neighborhood.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    And no doubt you will continue and tell us how the US has been a force for good? I'm your response to this will amuse a great number of people.

  • Comment number 24.

    China, in case no one noticed is big in Africa. They have signed many deals with resource rich land for minerals etc that they need to produce the goods for consumption in the West.

    They are even going to Zimbabwe so watch out for deals done there.

    China will grow but it will need resources, there is a large land mass yes but it knows that it may be better to use up outside supplies first and keep something in store.

    China is hungry for new technology, a new stealth aircraft from nowhere, (one bought as bits when an American stealth aircraft was hot down somewhere, a new High Speed train derived from Siemens plant in China but not from Siemens, where did the development come from that?

    Recently Peugot and the electric vehicles scandal.

    Chine will do what all empires do when growing, reap from the countries it needs and it does not matter how. This is what happens, remember beads for Manhattan Island and so many more.

    Now it is up to the west to stay technologically ahead but how can you keep secrets when there are billions of dollars in Chines pockets just there for the taking.

    Inflation will hurt China, the government will need to reign that in and the populace will stomach it, it is not Egypt or Tunisia so forget revolution. Currency wars will become more devious so possibly our bankers could find a niche there to help us not them.

    India and China together will be seen to grow the most as we are squeezed for money and so buy cheaper options instead of just saying lets keep things another year.


    They will get bigger faster if you buy everything from them.

  • Comment number 25.

    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If it wasn't for the USA, chances are that you wouldn't be around to make that kind of statement.
    They do not always do everything right, but I think on balance I would prefer America to China.
    There's too much US bashing goes on, mainly from left wing theorists who talk absolute rubbish.

  • Comment number 26.

    Can China become the world's biggest economy? How can one doubt it? Large population with many not paid much, results in a large cheap output from industry. They'll hit the top and stay there until their citizens want the same financial rewards as we in the west expect. Meanwhile I suspect Chinese investments mean they won't be worrying about whether investors in the rest of the world want to get on the bandwagon on not. Not that I expect there to be a dearth of hopeful investors, the won't cut off their nose to spite their face.

  • Comment number 27.

    Can we please stop sending millions in aid to them now ?

  • Comment number 28.

    Can China become the world's biggest economy?
    I'd vote for them!

  • Comment number 29.

    Can China become the world's biggest economy?

    Yes

  • Comment number 30.

    China is already the worlds biggest economy, if you don't measure in $$$$.

    The EU could be the biggest if we got our act together, but that will never happen, just imagine if the Euro was the dominant currency. Sadly our successive governments have let it slip through their fingers, the Empire ended and the commonwealth was the next stage of trading partners but we chose Europe. We could be in a good position now with the commonwealth with 2.8 billion people, our businesses should already be well established, but it looks as though China will take on Africa, compete with India and little old UK will be left on it's own fighting EU bureaucracy. We need to place ourselves into some position otherwise what little we do have left will be lost. If you consider 5% unemployment in China is still greater than the entire population of UK, who are we to compete.

  • Comment number 31.

    This is an interesting speculation because in terms of "piggy bank" wealth it is China that seems to have by far the BIGGEST savings/reserves and yet many of their population are very poor and bear no comparison to the western consumer societies. The Chinese work ethic is unstopable and so we should not be surprised if their economy does eventually become the world's largest but not before the country has another cultural revolution and that could change everything.

  • Comment number 32.

    China (with more than 10 times the population) has just exceeded the GDP of Japan, that makes the average Chinese citizen only 1/10th as well off as a Japanese , Western European or North American.

    So what?

  • Comment number 33.

    Yes, I guess it is more than possible that China could become the worlds largest economy. Particularly so if British companies keep making British people redundant and keep hauling their unpatriotic posteriors up and over the Great wall.

  • Comment number 34.

    23. At 10:08am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:

    18. At 09:53am on 14 Feb 2011, twelveAM wrote:

    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    By far the most naive statement I've read on HYS.
    As a regional power, China has the most influence within its immediate region. Now ask the Vietnamese, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Filipinos to see how they feel about the way China manage its neighborhood.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    And no doubt you will continue and tell us how the US has been a force for good? I'm your response to this will amuse a great number of people.

    __________________

    Yes, it is amusing how little you know or understand China! They've ethnically cleansed most of Tibet, they've killed more Muslims (Xinjiang) than Israel and the Iraq / Afghanistan wars! And whereas the West has a free media China has propaganda, that you swallow it is genuinely amusing!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    25. At 10:14am on 14 Feb 2011, David wrote:

    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If it wasn't for the USA, chances are that you wouldn't be around to make that kind of statement.
    They do not always do everything right, but I think on balance I would prefer America to China.
    There's too much US bashing goes on, mainly from left wing theorists who talk absolute rubbish.

    ____________________________________________________________

    The only part of your post that makes any sense is your reference to theorists, i.e. people who can analyse a situation and make sense of it, something that I doubt that you could be accused of.

  • Comment number 36.

    All I can see is worse terms and conditions for other workforces, in a vain attempt to keep up with China, and prop up the free-market economy which brought us the economic mess that Governments of whatever political persuasion try to argue that the man in the street has to pay for.

  • Comment number 37.

    25. At 10:14am on 14 Feb 2011, David wrote:
    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.

    ----------------
    China had it's attempt at democratic reform ,the Chinese dictatorship ordered the protesters murdered in their thousands and imprisoned in their tens of thousands. Because they do not countenance dissent.

    Those commentators who suggest this is a roll model for World economic growth should hope they don't get what they are looking for.

  • Comment number 38.

    China will never become the world't top economy because the US will probably take measures that does not happen. That would include trade and other dirty tricks they do so discreetly with their western allies. Say, a simple boycott of Chinese goods, import surcharges, etc. would bring the Chinese down to their knees. I too do not see the average Chinese peasant wanting top class luxuries and other things overnight, perhaps the next generation would. But in simple terms, a country where human right are a disgrace, corruption is rampant, state power is ruthless and rich-poor gap is ever increasing - it will definitely take perhaps more than a generation, and perhaps a good revolution to allow China to have what it takes to be right up the top of the league of nations. For now, let's just keep a watch on them!

  • Comment number 39.

    China isn’t even close to the GDP of the USA. It would take a very long time to match it. Even if it somehow tripled its GDP tomorrow to beat the USA, it still wouldn’t be the world’s economic superpower which is the EU.

  • Comment number 40.

    3. At 08:45am on 14 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:
    Sure, why not? I mean, China cheats enough! I just can't wait until they start rewriting history

    -------------------------

    What a childish comment, worthy of the playground. The Chinese have got ahead by concentrating on on trade and not interfering in the politics of other countries. They have put everything into producing the goods required by the rest of the world. Just think how much money the West spends on military intervention in other countries and then they wonder why they make enemies.
    We constantly proclaim that our political system is the best and critise China but the vast majority of Chinese have done very well and are progressing more rapidly than any nation ever. Our media and politicians indoctrinate us into believing that the capitalist form of government is perfect. It isn't all systems have good and bad points. Under the US political system no president has time to make change that isn't supported by the wealthy, they have elections every four years and mid terms in two. Not enough time to do anything. The Chinese can plan years ahead and have a security missing under a capitalist form of government, on the other hand they forfeit the freedom of speech that we have. All forms of government have pros and cons. Many poor people would gladly give up freedom of speech, after all no one listens to them much anyway, for more prosperity. On the other hand more educated citizens prefer to opt for freedom of speech because their material needs are catered for. We can learn from the Chinese provided we aren't arrogant and over come the brainwashing we have ben subjected to for so many years.
    There is a very topical example for all those who will rush to critise the Chinese. Just look at the unpopular vicious regime we have been supporting in Egypt, all because it suited us politically. I don't remember hearing any of those proclaiming the merits of capitalism telling us what was happening there. If Egypt had been a socialist or communist regime we would have been constantly reminded of what was going on

  • Comment number 41.

    frankly my dear, I don't give a damn because here in the uk we will have the biggest big society so nah nah

  • Comment number 42.

    It's unlikely. It will go one of two ways, either the population will start demanding rights, minimum wages and the quality of life that the Western world has done, thus losing their competitive edge (and the only edge they have) of producing mass products cheaply. The government can give in, lose it's edge and join the international club as a proper member.

    OR

    The Chinese government can say no, and the population boot them out anyway and the economy and the nation take a step back 25 years.

    It's lose lose for the current Chinese government at the moment because people won't work for nothing forever, and nor will they tow the line forever if you refuse their demands.

  • Comment number 43.

    Of course it will.
    I remember watching news stories of China in the 70's under Mao when everyone wore Mao suits and the streets swarmed with bicycles.
    Now, China is capitalist in all but name and the large year by year growth in GDP will ultimately bring down the Communist Party and bring in more freedoms and democracy.
    That is the fear of the ruling elite who are probably shaking with fear after Tunisia and Egypt. Will the ripple effect continue across the Middle East and even claim China as a victim?
    You cannot continue to repress your people.

  • Comment number 44.

    Shhhh, don't tell the Banks... They'll start investing all the money they borrowed from china back into china.

  • Comment number 45.

    China Will become the Worlds biggest Economy...Its easy.
    Just restrict imports, underprice your goods, buyout the opposition and in general make the rest of the World reliant on your products.
    Then sit back and rule the World with your Economic , military controlled power.

  • Comment number 46.

    In economic terms, China has enormous scope for growth and will therefore quickly overtake the US which, like the UK, is nearing the end of its economic cycle.

    Our prospects in terms of business could be strengthened if the UK does what it used to to, ie manufacture with quality, rather than quantity, in mind. When I look at a number of the cheap, imported goods labelled "Made in China" that have ceased to work, fallen apart or (with tools especially) become bent owing to the low-grade steel used, and then look at my "Made in Sheffield" etc tools now more than 50 years old and still as good as they were then, I know we have the capacity through small businesses to compete. The US has the same model, but it is too protective and is not open to trade both ways. Consequently, US residents buy, and are actively encouraged to buy, US goods.

    We need somehow to educate the buying public in the UK that, so far as imported goods are concerned, you get what you pay for, and that UK jobs depend upon buying UK products. The trouble is that the UK wages bill is out of all proportion to the value of goods manufactured.

  • Comment number 47.

    7. At 09:23am on 14 Feb 2011, Aneeta Trikk wrote:
    "Can China become the world's biggest economy?
    Does the BBC's infatuation with league tables know no bounds and, if so, is it prepared to compete with other media industries instead of ripping us off with a license fee?"

    Ooo: nifty take: I like it!

    Has anybody noticed how much the world has gone downhill since we used to run it? I'm glad to be leaving.

  • Comment number 48.

    The fact that the United States is borrowing the equivalent of
    $1,000,000,000 from China each and every day would suggest the shift has already taken place. In addition the US has debts of over 15 trillion, growing at 4 billion a day(according to the American national debt clock)
    China on the other hand has capital reserves in excess of 3 trillion.

  • Comment number 49.

    4. At 09:18am on 14 Feb 2011, chiptheduck wrote:
    Not sure it makes much difference to the UK - we'll still be run by Brussels.



    Oh really? Of the major policy decisions from the coalition since coming to power, how many have come from Brussels?

    (and be very careful of prisoner voting rights: that neither came from Brussels nor constitutes a "major policy" unlike, say, the budget deficit reduction tax and benefit changes, NHS refords, student tuition fees, "Big Society", etc etc)

    I would assert that Brussels has far less impact on our lives than you think and China's remorseless rise as an economic power will, in the long term, have much greater impact and the ability to stand together with our EU partners in trade negotiations will give us much more leverage in our trading relationships with it.

  • Comment number 50.

    Unless we stop bashing China over human rights at every opportunity we will find ourselves well down the league table when it come to trade. Why is this country anti EU,anti American and every other johny foreigner still pretending we have an empire.

  • Comment number 51.

    25. At 10:14am on 14 Feb 2011, David wrote:
    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If it wasn't for the USA, chances are that you wouldn't be around to make that kind of statement.
    They do not always do everything right, but I think on balance I would prefer America to China.
    There's too much US bashing goes on, mainly from left wing theorists who talk absolute rubbish.
    _________________________________
    Be honest what has America given the world? The mis-belief that we are all free when most of us are up to our eyeballs in debt with nothing to look forward to apart from an uncertain future. America had the chance with the collapse of the former USSR but blew it in its paranoid rush to find the next industrial military complex justifying enemy. "War on drugs", what on earth was that all about? War on drugs without considering the social aspects/reasons for addiction. "War on Terror!" an oxymoron if ever there was one! So, despite all the technological advancements over the past fifty years, coupled with the manpower, the energy the most powerful nation on the planet ends up putting all of its capacity to work looking for people to label "terrorist" then kill them, or killing them then labelling them terrorist. I read a report the other day which performed a simple calculation, dividing American and coalition military spending in Afghanistan by the number of terrorists killed. It is costing $3.6 billion to kill a terrorist! La la la lah lah America! The solution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

  • Comment number 52.

    11. At 09:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Lewis Fitzroy wrote:
    China is buying Africa, with countless American dollars, all around the world cheap chineses goods are there to buy. The Chineses have the new slave labour factorys of the west, we can not live with they way of running any type of business no heatlh or safety laws pollution every where , no wage rules they get much less than min wage there , and no unions,{ outlawed} life is very cheap many workers are killed on the job daily ? allways some one else to take the job, China and India will be in maybe 20 years? the top dog, but at what cost to the rest of the world? But how many more Chinese and India workers will die?

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Have you ever actually worked in China?

    It's quite simply not true to say there is no H&S law. As early as 1954 the government passed laws in respect of health and epidemic prevention. Whilst the current H&S laws are not as stringent as the UK's they are quite effective and cover a considerable range range of occupations. More needs to be done, their fatality rate is about twice that of the US, but they are on the right road.

    Can China become the worlds biggest economy? Yes, without doubt. I've worked there and to observe their work ethic and determination, the education system which is way in front of ours and the way the country has changed from the hard line communist days leaves me in no doubt at all.

  • Comment number 53.

    22. At 10:06am on 14 Feb 2011, PipeVVorm wrote:

    However, if China goes on polluting the planet as much as it is, there's not going to be alot left to be top dog of.


    ------------------------

    The Chinese produce the goods we buy and then we complain because they pollute the planet!! Of course if we produced as much as they do we would be the top polluter. We buy their goods and then blame them for producing these goods. Typical Western attitude, the poor of the world want a higher standard of living and we moan that they are polluting the planet.
    The EU could have been competing with China if we had been more united and organised instead of endless arguing and top heavy bureaucracy. Many complain that the Chinese are vast, population wise, just goes to show how far sighted their one child policy was

  • Comment number 54.

    You can't eternally expect the world to be US-driven. At some stage we will either be subsumed by a greater US or we start to share the world's problems and therefore its solutions.

    China will become the worlds biggest manufacturer .... for a time, before they themselves start to ship manufacturing 'overseas'. One things is for sure, the masses sometimes cannot be controlled, meaning that is is not always a done-deal that the path will be easy.

    In the meantime we must all sit tight and let a quarter of the world's population develop socially and psychologically to a point where they can work for the good of humankind ...

  • Comment number 55.

    Surely the question is "when will China become the worlds biggest economy" It's inevitable but will it be within the next 10 years or less?

    Bit of a silly question this one.

  • Comment number 56.

    34. At 10:28am on 14 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:
    23. At 10:08am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    18. At 09:53am on 14 Feb 2011, twelveAM wrote:
    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    By far the most naive statement I've read on HYS.
    As a regional power, China has the most influence within its immediate region. Now ask the Vietnamese, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Filipinos to see how they feel about the way China manage its neighborhood.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    And no doubt you will continue and tell us how the US has been a force for good? I'm your response to this will amuse a great number of people.
    __________________
    Yes, it is amusing how little you know or understand China! They've ethnically cleansed most of Tibet, they've killed more Muslims (Xinjiang) than Israel and the Iraq / Afghanistan wars! And whereas the West has a free media China has propaganda, that you swallow it is genuinely amusing!!!
    _______________________________________
    Ha ha ha the West has a free media! Hooray hooray! :) My only regret is Germany didn't win the second world war, at least we all might be working making BMWs.

  • Comment number 57.

    Depends if you want it to be, almost everything you buy these days is made in China. We've allowed companies that once manufactured in Britain to relocate in China for their production, the companies say to keep costs down. I say B******s, prices never came down, all that has happened is their profits grew larger. Frightening thing is, has anyone taken the time to observe the rapid increase in China's military build up, now that's worrying. Companies that relocated have not just cost us jobs and manufacturing expertise, they've been active participants in the re-arming of China.

  • Comment number 58.

    Not a question of if but when. China is the most populous country on earth. With that goes all the problems of over-population which we suffer from on a smaller scale. China has to expand however to survive and its economy has to maintain a growth in excess of 7 percent to stand still. As China becomes the biggest economy probably within the next 5 years if USA continues to decline China will move across to Europe in search of fuel resources. I expect the Chinese to come and prop up the ailing Euro and effectively colonise Western Europe. That is the price we will pay for our economic paralysis and complacency over the last few decades. Centuries of civilisation and culture will count for nothing as the Chinese bulldoze our finest buildings to make way for legions of multi-occupancy skyscrapers and employ us in their factories. Not that the Chinese are bad people far from it it is simply that thanks to being anaesthetised by years of brutal Communist rule they know not otherwise.
    Like it or not China is our future. And cheer up writing Chinese characters may be beyond most of us but speaking it and reading it if it is using the Pinyin notation is quite easy. And there is no grammar as such.

  • Comment number 59.

    40. At 10:36am on 14 Feb 2011, Lucy Clake wrote:

    3. At 08:45am on 14 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:
    Sure, why not? I mean, China cheats enough! I just can't wait until they start rewriting history

    -------------------------

    What a childish comment, worthy of the playground. The Chinese have got ahead by concentrating on on trade and not interfering in the politics of other countries. They have put everything into producing the goods required by the rest of the world. Just think how much money the West spends on military intervention in other countries and then they wonder why they make enemies.
    We constantly proclaim that our political system is the best and critise China but the vast majority of Chinese have done very well and are progressing more rapidly than any nation ever. Our media and politicians indoctrinate us into believing that the capitalist form of government is perfect. It isn't all systems have good and bad points. Under the US political system no president has time to make change that isn't supported by the wealthy, they have elections every four years and mid terms in two. Not enough time to do anything. The Chinese can plan years ahead and have a security missing under a capitalist form of government, on the other hand they forfeit the freedom of speech that we have. All forms of government have pros and cons. Many poor people would gladly give up freedom of speech, after all no one listens to them much anyway, for more prosperity. On the other hand more educated citizens prefer to opt for freedom of speech because their material needs are catered for. We can learn from the Chinese provided we aren't arrogant and over come the brainwashing we have ben subjected to for so many years.
    There is a very topical example for all those who will rush to critise the Chinese. Just look at the unpopular vicious regime we have been supporting in Egypt, all because it suited us politically. I don't remember hearing any of those proclaiming the merits of capitalism telling us what was happening there. If Egypt had been a socialist or communist regime we would have been constantly reminded of what was going on
    ______________

    So what your complaining about really, is our freedoms? Had our governments clamped down on public political discourse and the media, we'd feel better about ourselves? Right?! In regards to 'childish comments', I prefer that over a 'childish' world view!

  • Comment number 60.

    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Given that China has an dreadful human rights record and is definitely not democratic, I don't see how it can be expected to better manage the world. It is the fastest re-arming country in the world with military plans way beyond those required for mere defence purposes.
    Yes, China is certainly the country to watch.

  • Comment number 61.

    I doubt it is any surprise, knowing most things we buy, is made or imported from china. Sadly the report does nothing in recognising the amount of poverty that still exists in china, yes several of the major cities look to have a modern feel on the surface, but traveling into the country, soon brings out the quantity of slums, or the over controling political regime.

  • Comment number 62.

    The answer has to be yes. As others have said the Chinese are very industrious, very ambitious, may not always get it right but are already major competition in some high end technologies (and winning regularly) and will continue to grow. This could be a very interesting era as the west will have to consider very carefully how they move forward. They will either have to choose to be open to China and the boost that they can bring to regions or countries or shut the door firmly.

    The Chinese however will need to demonstrate that they respect the national's within countries that they implant businesses in, demonstrate diversity and corporate social responsibility. If they get this right then they could become an unstoppable force.

    For western companies to compete more effectively shareholders may have to consider taking less of a cut so that capital can be retained in businesses and enable western companies to compete more effectively.

    Let's not forget that "Made In China" these days does not mean poor quality quite the converse in fact!

  • Comment number 63.

    Maybe, though I would not write off the US yet, remember 25 years ago we were debating how Japan was about to overtake the US and how the US was in permanant decline.

    The USA is an advanced economy, has a large landmass, a large and growing population and many resources. China is a repressive autocracy with many internal pressures and regional and ethnic issues that will become more evident as its economy grows and opens up. How it manages this will be key to whether China advances, stalls or breaks up.

    Those bashing the USA, be careful what you wish for, China is not known for its altruism.

  • Comment number 64.

    What should bother people about China should not be the economy but the lack of basic freedoms. China is like a time bomb which nobody knows when it will explode. Explode it must the question is only when.

  • Comment number 65.

    China will almost definitely be the world’s largest economy within the next 25 years.
    They are in many ways the antithesis of the old economies of the UK and the USA. They are enterprising, hard working, innovative and have not yet fallen into decadence. Their goal is wealth PRODUCTION which seems to be a dirty word in the UK and USA (ironic as they are a Totalitarian state) as our societies fall into decline and decadence more concerned with wealth distribution than its production. We (the West) therefore reap what we have sown and will continue on that path until the boys and girls grow up and realise that there is no magic money tree. Wealth comes from hard work, and enterprise, not ‘airy fairy’ dreams, but sadly that not what the children want to hear, it’s always someone else’s fault.
    Whilst we play children’s games and hide behind the skirts of failed dogma, China and the BRIC countries will continue to grow their wealth as we (and OUR children) we see our country's wealth decrease. China must love the fools that abound our countries

  • Comment number 66.

    53. At 10:52am on 14 Feb 2011, Lucy Clake wrote:

    22. At 10:06am on 14 Feb 2011, PipeVVorm wrote:

    However, if China goes on polluting the planet as much as it is, there's not going to be alot left to be top dog of.


    ------------------------

    The Chinese produce the goods we buy and then we complain because they pollute the planet!! Of course if we produced as much as they do we would be the top polluter. We buy their goods and then blame them for producing these goods. Typical Western attitude, the poor of the world want a higher standard of living and we moan that they are polluting the planet.
    The EU could have been competing with China if we had been more united and organised instead of endless arguing and top heavy bureaucracy. Many complain that the Chinese are vast, population wise, just goes to show how far sighted their one child policy was
    ______________

    What idiocy, 1.6 trillion dollars in reserves and not one iota of egalitarian thinking instead an arms spree. What goes on in Lucy Clarkes 'mind' (pardon the exaggeration)?

  • Comment number 67.

    As the biggest country, it's inevitable. And should Africa ever get its act together, that too would become a formidable world power. However, while China will be number 1 within the next decade, Africa will probably need another 50-100 years.

    As for what it will mean for us, our children will have to start learning Chinese in school, if they're ever going to succeed in big business, just as, for generations, Chinese, Japanese etc have had to learn English. What goes around, comes around.

  • Comment number 68.

    56. At 10:54am on 14 Feb 2011, moreram wrote:

    34. At 10:28am on 14 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:
    23. At 10:08am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    18. At 09:53am on 14 Feb 2011, twelveAM wrote:
    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    By far the most naive statement I've read on HYS.
    As a regional power, China has the most influence within its immediate region. Now ask the Vietnamese, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Filipinos to see how they feel about the way China manage its neighborhood.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    And no doubt you will continue and tell us how the US has been a force for good? I'm your response to this will amuse a great number of people.
    __________________
    Yes, it is amusing how little you know or understand China! They've ethnically cleansed most of Tibet, they've killed more Muslims (Xinjiang) than Israel and the Iraq / Afghanistan wars! And whereas the West has a free media China has propaganda, that you swallow it is genuinely amusing!!!
    _______________________________________
    Ha ha ha the West has a free media! Hooray hooray! :) My only regret is Germany didn't win the second world war, at least we all might be working making BMWs.
    _____________________

    "My only regret is Germany didn't win the second world war" that would have meant many terrible things, including total annihilation of Jews in Europe. Mind, from your previous posts, maybe that's the thing you'd have enjoyed most!

  • Comment number 69.

    Of course. China will become the world´s greatest economy if it hasn´t achieved that status already.
    China has a drive, dynanism and hunger that Europe has largely lost - it´s been legislated out of existence. The US still has some of this drive - witness young startup companies in Silcon Valley, many of whom are British entrepreneurs.

  • Comment number 70.

    To the ordinary person in any country, what really matters is GDP per head, which gives some indication of how well-off, on average, each citizen is. China is #93 on that list with $7,518 per head, compared to USA (#6, $47,123 per head), UK (#20, $35,023 per head), Japan (#24, $33,828) or even Azerbaijan (#81, $9,953). It will take much more than a decade to bridge THAT gap. Even achieving this by 2050 will be a stretch according to economic concensus.
    The decline of the West, and the USA in particular, is highly exaggerated. Unless we are rich enough to buy the cheap goods shipped to us by China then they will suffer. What will happen when India starts to really compete with China, or Indonesia, or some of the African countries? I wish China and her people the very best, but the poster above who said that she cheats is correct. Intellectual property rights (patents, etc)are rarely respected in China, which skews the playing field in their favour, and as anybody who has invested in a Chinese company knows, there are three sets of accounts, one for the government, one for the family and one for the outside world. Transparency really doesn't exist and if things don't suit the government then they get changed, regardless of who suffers. It's all working to China's benefit at the moment but it will come back to bite them in the end. Judging by some of the posters above they seem to like this way of working. I would invite them to go and live in China (I have) and voice their opinions freely.

  • Comment number 71.

    67. At 11:14am on 14 Feb 2011, Graphis wrote:
    As the biggest country, it's inevitable. And should Africa ever get its act together, that too would become a formidable world power. However, while China will be number 1 within the next decade, Africa will probably need another 50-100 years.

    As for what it will mean for us, our children will have to start learning Chinese in school, if they're ever going to succeed in big business, just as, for generations, Chinese, Japanese etc have had to learn English. What goes around, comes around.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hope you are right regarding Africa, but when I look at the place I can't ever see it being anything other than the basket case continent of the world. It's problems are immense, which is a real shame.

  • Comment number 72.

    "And should Africa ever get its act together, that too would become a formidable world power"

    Now that IS a scary thought...

    "I just need you sort code, and bank account details..."

  • Comment number 73.

    I think not for sometime to come. As the EU's economy recovers China's economy will have to more than double to beat it into first place. Currently individual EU member states publish their own GDP, which gives the impression that China is now in second place however, the European Union is the worlds largest economy and China is only in 3rd place after the USA!
    EU GDP (PPP) $14.79 trillion*, USA GDP (PPP) $14.26 trillion*, China GDP (PPP) $5.8 trillion and Japan GDP (PPP) $5.47 trillion*. *=IMF 2010

  • Comment number 74.

    why should CHINA worry how it effects the UK? we are no longer one of the major players in the great global economy unless you are banking on our relationship, you know the special relationship with uncle sam.no CHINA owes us nothing,remember the opium wars (i bet they do)we forced opium,our opium down the throats of the chineese people at gun point (yes we had a lot of gun boats then, the chineese had junks)we also allowed them to lease us,at a peppercorn rent HONG KONG for a century, yes we were so decent,i bet that china cannot wait to return the favour?
    learn how to kowtow willy boy there is alot of it to do in the years to come,,,,,

  • Comment number 75.

    This sounds like 'there's lies, damn lies & statistics'. O.K China will probably overtake the US as the worlds biggest economy but with 5 times the population of the US does this REALLY mean anything?

    China's economy is based on manufacturing stuff thats so cheap we can't make it ourself (as OUR economy needs workers who earn at least £6 an hour and aren't allowed to dump toxic waste into the nearest river) so without westerners buying the chinese products China's economy has no income.

  • Comment number 76.

    I visit China 4 times per year on business and the pace of change over the last ten years has been staggering. However I think that China has at most five more years of rapid growth before it levels out. Chinese growth has been based primarily on very low wages and lack of legal protection of IP and both of these situations are now changing.

    There has been a steady transition of R&D work in the electronics industry from the EU to China mainly because as recently as 5 years ago an experienced MSc engineer cost around £10K per year plus minimal payroll costs compared with £50K in Europe. Today that same engineer will cost around £25K per year in salary and China has introduced massive employer payroll costs which put another 40% on top of this figure (compared with 11% in the UK). In 5 years the Chinese engineer has gone from costing around 1/4 of their UK counterpart to over 1/2. Wage inflation has similarly affected manufacturing with the gigantic Foxconn being forced into a 30% wage rise last year alone - although that still means the average assembly line worker earns only around £2,500 per year. The point is that the aspirations of the Chinese workforce have risen and their salaries have risen accordingly and this trend is set to continue. Given the logistical and language issues many European firms are re-examining the benefit of outsourcing R&D work to China given the ever diminishing salary saving. The minimum wage legislation in Europe means that manufacturing in China is still substantially cheaper especially as they don't have the costs associated with European Health and Safety and environmental law. However even here companies are starting to look at cheaper alternatives such as Vietnam.

    As several other comments point out, China has been effective in copying and manufacturing designs from European and U.S. companies due to the lack of IP legislation in China but this is also changing. When Chinese technology companies were selling only in Asia there was little point in suing them for IP infringement but now they are selling products in Europe and the U.S. there have been a number of recent lawsuits issued, the ongoing battle between Motorola and Huawei being the most heavily publicised. Whatever the result of individual suits there is no doubt that China is going to be forced to comply with international standards regarding IP infringement over the next few years.

    Having said all of the above, 50% of my pension is invested in Chinese funds and will remain there for the next 2-3 years. Five years from now though there will be a much more level playing field.

  • Comment number 77.

    I import from China and as the country is developing costs are rising rapidly add to that the debasement of our currency by the Labour Government and the Bank of England through so called quantitative easing and you have rapidly rising prices out of China.

    This is bound to reduce the trade surplus and affect the number of companies offshoring but we will not see any significant effect for 5 to 10 years.

  • Comment number 78.

    67. At 11:14am on 14 Feb 2011, Graphis wrote:

    As the biggest country, it's inevitable. And should Africa ever get its act together, that too would become a formidable world power. However, while China will be number 1 within the next decade, Africa will probably need another 50-100 years.

    As for what it will mean for us, our children will have to start learning Chinese in school, if they're ever going to succeed in big business, just as, for generations, Chinese, Japanese etc have had to learn English. What goes around, comes around.

    _________________________________________________________

    Not bloody likely. Whilst the Chinese continue to use American and British products and designs for just about everything. All they do is run the factories that produce the goods we profit from.

    Look at the Company league tables, not many Chinese in there. You can be the slave market all you want, but it doesn't last forever because it may be "made in China" but it certainly isn't Chinese.

    They will implode soon enough or the Western world will just force their hand and send them on their way.

  • Comment number 79.

    56. At 10:54am on 14 Feb 2011, moreram wrote:
    "
    Ha ha ha the West has a free media! Hooray hooray! :) My only regret is Germany didn't win the second world war, at least we all might be working making BMWs."

    Very probably..... you'd be making BMW engines for Tanks and Bomber aircraft, worked 15 hours a day on 800 calories a day, and when in three months you were too weak to work you'd be shot and cremated.

    If your ONLY regret is that nazi germany didn't win WW2 you're either mad or stupid. For starters HYS in Nazi Germany isn't going to be a terribly fun read. Any criticism of govt policy and the moderators have you vanish in 'night & fog'......

  • Comment number 80.

    I can see there may come a point where protectionist measures are put in against the Chinese to protect western economies and currencies which could bring the Chinese economy to a grinding halt. Chinese growth may be unsustainable anyway,raw materials seem to be a particular problem. There is also the issue whether the people of China are willing to live under the present political system forever. I don't think the Chinese government is sufficiently embracing internationalism either,they still don't connect very well with much of the rest of the planet,or play a very important part in resolving conflicts around the world.

  • Comment number 81.

    It can and it will. What a ridiculous question. If HYS gets any shallower, small children will start paddling in it.

  • Comment number 82.

    I wonder if the Chinese state televison has as much duplication as the BBC, or as many highly paid executives. I also wonder how many repeat programmes are show on chinese television.

  • Comment number 83.

    CAN? Are you serious? Surely you mean HOW SOON?

  • Comment number 84.

    It is not a matter of can China become the worlds biggest economy but when. I suspect the estimate of ten years to be reduced to about six in reality. China's growth will reduce the West's living standards compared to China as our income drops but import costs rise. Eventually government spending in the West will decline to a level where it becomes possible once again to make things in the US/UK. The growth in government and environmental costs makes our continued decline inevitable. Health and social care never made anybody better off just poorer. Those dreaming of growth in the UK economy to finance more government spending are living in a fools paradise, it will not happen with rising energy costs and endless government environmental restrictions in UK compared to China.

  • Comment number 85.

    40. At 10:36am on 14 Feb 2011, Lucy Clake wrote:
    "What a childish comment, worthy of the playground. The Chinese have got ahead by concentrating on on trade and not interfering in the politics of other countries. "

    REALLY? Who do you think keeps the Junta in power in Burma, the maniacs in North Korea protected? Why is every UN resolution against Iran or Sudan (Darfur) veto'ed by China (hint... same as Burma. Thats where China gets it oil from). Damn near every AK-47 and landmine in every third world conflict comes from China.

    China makes sure that every country that borders China (its buffer zone) does EXACTLY what China tells it too and they're not averse to invading. Chinese troops have invaded Vietnam & India in the past 30 odd years and they've built one of the largest naval bases in the world in Burma to encroach into the Indian Ocean.

    "The human rights organisation Amnesty International has accused China of being one of the world's most secretive and irresponsible arms exporters".
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/5070220.stm

    America is the biggest arms exporter in dollar terms but one $4 million dollar tank to Israel = 8,000,000 chinese plastic landmines costing 50 cents each.

  • Comment number 86.

    Reference to observations made about factories relocating to China.

    It has been made clear that their Carbon footprints are not wanted here.

    Therefore they have taken their Carbon and Wealth Creating (taxable) and Employment Footprints to where they are made welcome.

    China has been most welcoming.

    Damn clever those Chinese!

  • Comment number 87.

    56. At 10:54am on 14 Feb 2011, moreram wrote:

    34. At 10:28am on 14 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:
    23. At 10:08am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    18. At 09:53am on 14 Feb 2011, twelveAM wrote:
    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    By far the most naive statement I've read on HYS.
    As a regional power, China has the most influence within its immediate region. Now ask the Vietnamese, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Filipinos to see how they feel about the way China manage its neighborhood.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    And no doubt you will continue and tell us how the US has been a force for good? I'm your response to this will amuse a great number of people.
    __________________
    Yes, it is amusing how little you know or understand China! They've ethnically cleansed most of Tibet, they've killed more Muslims (Xinjiang) than Israel and the Iraq / Afghanistan wars! And whereas the West has a free media China has propaganda, that you swallow it is genuinely amusing!!!
    _______________________________________
    Ha ha ha the West has a free media! Hooray hooray! :) My only regret is Germany didn't win the second world war, at least we all might be working making BMWs.
    _____________________

    "My only regret is Germany didn't win the second world war" that would have meant many terrible things, including total annihilation of Jews in Europe. Mind, from your previous posts, maybe that's the thing you'd have enjoyed most!
    _____________________________
    How dare you suggest I am anti-semitic! Put your money where your mouth is Mr theilliberal and repost anything I have previously posted to justify your woolly accusation! He who believes the West has a free media, I now know illiberal means soapsud ears!

  • Comment number 88.

    I always thought that China was the world's largest economy. With 1.3 billion (or is it trillion) mouths to feed it needs to be. Just as well we opened the door to the world for them by giving up our lease on Hong Kong.

  • Comment number 89.

    It looks by these comments that it is China's turn to shoulder the blame for everything going wrong in the world!
    From Global warming to ethnic cleansing, from human rights to killing beloved exponents of Islam. From causing slavery in Africa to owning it outright!!

    Take a breather America!!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    51. At 10:49am on 14 Feb 2011, moreram wrote:
    25. At 10:14am on 14 Feb 2011, David wrote:
    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If it wasn't for the USA, chances are that you wouldn't be around to make that kind of statement.
    They do not always do everything right, but I think on balance I would prefer America to China.
    There's too much US bashing goes on, mainly from left wing theorists who talk absolute rubbish.
    _________________________________
    Be honest what has America given the world? The mis-belief that we are all free when most of us are up to our eyeballs in debt with nothing to look forward to apart from an uncertain future. America had the chance with the collapse of the former USSR but blew it in its paranoid rush to find the next industrial military complex justifying enemy. "War on drugs", what on earth was that all about? War on drugs without considering the social aspects/reasons for addiction. "War on Terror!" an oxymoron if ever there was one! So, despite all the technological advancements over the past fifty years, coupled with the manpower, the energy the most powerful nation on the planet ends up putting all of its capacity to work looking for people to label "terrorist" then kill them, or killing them then labelling them terrorist. I read a report the other day which performed a simple calculation, dividing American and coalition military spending in Afghanistan by the number of terrorists killed. It is costing $3.6 billion to kill a terrorist! La la la lah lah America! The solution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Good old Amrika contains your Venus, at least give it credit for that!

  • Comment number 91.

    66. At 11:07am on 14 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:

    What idiocy, 1.6 trillion dollars in reserves and not one iota of egalitarian thinking instead an arms spree. What goes on in Lucy Clarkes 'mind' (pardon the exaggeration)?

    ----------------------
    Great, you can be sure that you've made a point that hit the mark when a poster starts to get personal rather than giving a coherant counter arguement

  • Comment number 92.

    3. At 08:45am on 14 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:
    Sure, why not? I mean, China cheats enough! I just can't wait until they start rewriting history

    -------------------------

    What a childish comment, worthy of the playground. The Chinese have got ahead by concentrating on on trade and not interfering in the politics of other countries.




    --------------
    Ever heard of Tibet?

  • Comment number 93.

    Its very misleading to just quote basic numbers without factual relevence of importance.

    China has so many endemic problems, unsustainable huge population, high inflation & rising food prices, a HUGE HUGE HUGE property BUBBLE is building, access to dwindling world resources of which competition grows every day and which more profitable hi price items will always out compete low profit margin cheap products for access to raw materials and energy.

    China is already scraping the barrel regarding many resources, especially in Africa where it has gained access to many raw materials which are very thin on the ground and in low quantitys which western nations will not develop but which China needs any minor quantitys to add to its voracious economic appetite.
    AS world prices rise, especially due to preasure from Chinas economic demands, it will put even greater preasure on Chinas prices.

    One major thing, is that during banking collapse and huge downturn, China businesses went round buying up many MAJOR raw material resources, copper mines etc, while mining businesses were short of cash. I thought it crazy that western nations/businesses gave up so much raw materials and put so much money into saving banks, when ultimately the WHOLE reality and function of the world economy is TOTALLY reliant on access and CONTROL of raw materials.

    The west, essentially SURRENDERED much of PHYSICAL worth/value, for the sake of maintaining PAPER worth/value, which will have a long term negative fallout on western production as China has expanded control and access of raw materials to use as and when it needs while even greatly controlling world prices of the same materials, hence it can sell to itself more cheaply and supply to its competitors more expensively.

    In some instances, some production of items, including textiles is being abandoned in China, with production moving to India & South America

    China is presently in a race to change its economy to one of better quality and higher end, hi tech, higher price items, which is where is can better compete with the west, its offloading many less profitable items to South America & India & a few other developing/3rd world economys.

    China sees and knows that to maintain its growth and long term prosperity then it has to compete more directly with higher price hi tech products of which it has still significant production advantage with much lower wages and a steady and increasing stream of university graduates.

    China cannot maintain its growth by restricting itself to low end items, especially as there are millions and millions of people around the world who will work for less pay than the Chinese.

    My main worry is that China has an overall economic strategy, basically a battle plan, whereas the UK has no such strategy, hence due to China's highly organised long term strategy, I do not think that UK will be able to attain high value jobs which we need to reverse our already perilous economic situation, which is basically being supplemented with low paid part time jobs which receive unsustainable tax subsidys via Tax Credits and other employment benefits.

    In UK, we have a shrinking workforce which is not just paying for unemployed, but which is being endemically further damaged by subsidising low paid jobs.

    We could create 2 million jobs in UK in next few years, but if the majority of those jobs are of the same present percentage of part time work as the past 2 years job creation, then we are basically creating a FURTHER UNSUSTAINABLE economic bubble which will have to be dealt with in a very few years, hence if such carrys on as is, I can see tax credits and other working subsidys enevitably being chipped and hammered away.

    All in all, I am NOT bothered about China becoming the worlds biggest economy, I am MORE bothered about UK government basically washing its hands off ANY & ALL CARE OF DUTY to the people of UK and NOT having ANY overall plans to facilitate a SUSTAINABLE & PROSPEROUS future for our nation.

    China invests in important infrastructure LONG before it needs it, it does. It has built WHOLE citys which are presently quite empty of people but which are ready for its economy to expand into.

    In UK, we are forever playing CATCH-UP with infrastructure.

    Even our plans for upgrading internet cable networks are already much much less capable than South korea, hence by the time they are completed they will already be substantially behind other developing nations.

    In our infrastructure plans, we NEED to look 50 YEARS ahead, its pathetic and pure negligence that we fail so endemically to meet future needs and via our attrocious and complex planning processes so often when something is completed it is ALREADY NOT ADEQUATE to deal with even present growth and demand.

    I personally think our way forward is to invest majorly in wind & wave energy, as a NATION & NOT as present via foreign companys taking out profits and charging world energy prices.

    Ultimately, it is UK consumers/businesses who WILL be paying for wind farm investments, via energy prices.
    If we OWNED them ourselves, then we could gain HUGE advantage, but instead, the world energy prices we will be forced to pay will continue to undermine our self sustainability.

    I think energy is the KEY to our future prosperity, and presently, government plans basically enslave our future to profitizing foreign energy companys.

    China is NO PROBLEM, what is the REAL problem is our continuous pathetic UK governments who's short sightedness ineptitude and biased atrocious party political idealisms is as much a problem as the attrocious experiencing outcome of behaviour of banks.

  • Comment number 94.

    "Can China become the world's biggest economy"? is the HYS question.

    Based on the preamble to this question, I was unaware that Japan was the second-biggest economy?

    Japanese products, in mine, and my friends and family's experience are the most innovative and reliable in the world - whether they be electronics or cars. Unfortunately, as major Japanese companies started to outsource to China - they seemed unable to monitor quality control they are so famous for?

    Japanese car manufacturing in the UK is a lifeline for real and long-term jobs. Japanese working philosophy migrates well for UK workers. Managers are expected to know and involve themselves in what 'factory floor' workers do and roll up their sleeves too which cuts through, and sticks a pin in any balloon of the 'them and us' class culture syndrome that destroyed so much manufacturing in the UK?

    Furthermore, buying any new car in the UK is extremely expensive and overtaxed in delivery charges plus VAT on tax compared to other EU countries.

    The UK is the worst country in the world for consumers buying a new car from any franchised brand supplier of any new vehicle. Too much tax and too many pre-owned vehicle sales personnel 'attitude' whose only focus is their commission and finance based sales 'differentials'.

    Recently, my son and myself made a morning appointment with a Honda franchise as we wanted to part-exchange a medium sized Honda, we had bought from the same franchise, for a smaller Honda we had decided on.

    We arrived on time, the Honda salesman was late. He gave us 5 minutes and 'disappeared', with no explanation, for 40 minutes. We decided to leave, quietly with no comment to anyone, as we felt so humiliated - as we left the building - that same Honda salesman then miraculously appeared and ran after us asking us why we were leaving? How did he know we were leaving? Yes, this may have been an extreme or isolated incident within a major Honda franchise.

    So, the lesson is, never, ever tolerate insulting or disrepectful behaviour from any major franchise sales personnel - at the same time don't be led into finance deals - they are the most expensive as they are driven by commission deals for the sales personnel too.

    Yes, I have digressed. Apologies. Back to China. China and it's economy is booming and probably due to 'soft power'? What this actually means is, that if a country focuses on trade/exports and not spending it's money war, that economy will, ultimately thrive?



  • Comment number 95.

    53. At 10:52am on 14 Feb 2011, Lucy Clake wrote:
    22. At 10:06am on 14 Feb 2011, PipeVVorm wrote:

    However, if China goes on polluting the planet as much as it is, there's not going to be alot left to be top dog of.


    ------------------------

    The Chinese produce the goods we buy and then we complain because they pollute the planet!! Of course if we produced as much as they do we would be the top polluter. We buy their goods and then blame them for producing these goods.

    --------------
    Only if we insisted on using coal fired power stations with absolutely no consideration for the environment or the long term consequences. While pretending to comply with emission levels, Like the Chinese do,

  • Comment number 96.


    87. At 11:52am on 14 Feb 2011, moreram wrote:

    56. At 10:54am on 14 Feb 2011, moreram wrote:

    34. At 10:28am on 14 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:
    23. At 10:08am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    18. At 09:53am on 14 Feb 2011, twelveAM wrote:
    2. At 08:34am on 14 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:
    Of course China can and will become the largest economy and by definition the most powerful country in the world, I just hope that when there turn comes that they manage the world in a better and more democratic way than the US has done.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    By far the most naive statement I've read on HYS.
    As a regional power, China has the most influence within its immediate region. Now ask the Vietnamese, the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Filipinos to see how they feel about the way China manage its neighborhood.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    And no doubt you will continue and tell us how the US has been a force for good? I'm your response to this will amuse a great number of people.
    __________________
    Yes, it is amusing how little you know or understand China! They've ethnically cleansed most of Tibet, they've killed more Muslims (Xinjiang) than Israel and the Iraq / Afghanistan wars! And whereas the West has a free media China has propaganda, that you swallow it is genuinely amusing!!!
    _______________________________________
    Ha ha ha the West has a free media! Hooray hooray! :) My only regret is Germany didn't win the second world war, at least we all might be working making BMWs.
    _____________________

    "My only regret is Germany didn't win the second world war" that would have meant many terrible things, including total annihilation of Jews in Europe. Mind, from your previous posts, maybe that's the thing you'd have enjoyed most!
    _____________________________
    How dare you suggest I am anti-semitic! Put your money where your mouth is Mr theilliberal and repost anything I have previously posted to justify your woolly accusation! He who believes the West has a free media, I now know illiberal means soapsud ears!
    ___________________________

    I never said you were 'anti-semitic' you authored that word all by yourself, funny?!

    "I now know illiberal means soapsud ears!" And I now know you're a fraud and that 'moreram' runs on 'lowprocessor'.

  • Comment number 97.

    Soon there will no businesses and consumers left in the UK.
    We all be laying down on a corner and extinct ourselves.
    But hey ; at least we'll have clean air.
    Sweet

  • Comment number 98.

    China will kick OUR country's backside (or should I say already is) and many other countries in the decedent west as well.
    You can see that many fools do not even understand the meaning of wealth PRODUCTION and in fact think that wealth production is a dirty word.
    Basic economics, you have to CREATE the wealth to distribute it (or as La La Labour did borrow it, go bankrupt and then get OUR grandchildren and children to pay it back).
    Until we grasp the basics of economics (the lefties in schools will not teach OUR children that as it is the antithesis of their dogma), the UK and West will continue to decline and the highly educated and ambitious Chinese will dominate. I hope you fools know the consequences? Freedom of speech, what’s that?

  • Comment number 99.

    88. At 11:53am on 14 Feb 2011, Asterix-in-Poland wrote:
    I always thought that China was the world's largest economy. With 1.3 billion (or is it trillion) mouths to feed it needs to be. Just as well we opened the door to the world for them by giving up our lease on Hong Kong.
    _______________________________________

    Its billion.

    To an extent that was always the point of Hong Kong. The traders who pushed to create it had ideas far ahead of their own lifetimes. Hong Kong opened up China to the world (because Hong Kong was a free port... not just British traders could use it). China might be the worlds biggest economy but British companies continue to get rich trading with China.

    The terms on the Hong Kong (or rather New Territories without which Hong Kong Island is non-viable) lease were watertight... no way could we attempt to hold onto it. However we've lost very little by handing it back anyway. Interestingly Hong Kong hasn't just become a small Chinese city either. The Chinese have kept it more or less as it was. Ironically its probably harder for a mainland chinese to cross the border into Hong Kong than when it was in our hands!

  • Comment number 100.

    This sort of measure has its limits. China is still way behind Japan on income/gdp per capita. The US economy is far less impressive compared to Japan when measured on a per capita basis as well.
    China has approx $8,000 ppp whereas the US is at $47,000 and Japan is in the middle somewhere.
    If China were to uplift its per capita contribution to that of Argentina it would dwarf the US by a factor of 4 or 5.
    Because of the size of the country if the Chinese economy were ever to become even half as liberated as some western states it would dominate both the US and EEC GDP's combined.

 

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