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Learning English - Words in the News
18 February, 2005 - Published 12:45 GMT
China’s economic boom
Chinese factory

China’s economy has been growing significantly for the last three decades and there is huge potential for further expansion. How is this growth affecting other economies around the world? Mark Gregory reports:

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The Chinese economy has been growing nearly ten percent a year for three decades but even now personal incomes are only at the level of Japan in the early 1950s. That means there's huge potential for further expansion. And if the experience of earlier Asian economic miracles like Japan and South Korea is anything to go by, China should carry on growing at this hectic pace for another twenty or thirty years.

For other economies China is seen as both an opportunity and a threat. On one hand it's created a vast new market for suppliers of basic commodities like oil, steel, wood, soya beans and many other agricultural products. Commodity producing countries like Australia, Brazil and Argentina have seen demand for their goods soar. And just as important, world prices for basic products - notably steel, many metals, oil and some foods - have gone up very sharply in the last couple of years.

But on the other hand, China's rise as a manufacturing centre is seen as worrying by many rivals. China sucks in between thirty and fifty billion dollars of foreign investment every year - far more than any other nation. Manufacturers in other places often find it hard to compete.

Though at the same time, as China's population gets individually richer, the country is emerging as a key market for the sophisticated products and services typically produced in the industrialised West.

China is on course to become an economic superpower but its not actually there yet - it's currently the sixth largest economy in the world, still smaller than Britain and France let alone the real giants Japan and the United States.

Mark Gregory, BBC News, London

Listen to the words

personal incomes
money earnt when someone works; salaries and wages

huge potential
a great possibility that something might happen

carry on

full of activity, very busy and fast

an article or raw material that can be bought and sold

rise very quickly to a high level

sucks in
pulls in or draws in powerfully

key market
very important market

complex and refined

economic superpower
a country which has very great economic power

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