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China Rising - Facts & Figures

by Jim Pinto | from Pinto's Archive

Many think that China will inevitably follow the same paths of socio-economic-techno convergence as most other developing countries in the global village. But, with Chinese inclination towards patience and long-term thinking, can this emerging giant choose its own, different path to the future?

China, India, Brazil and all fast developing countries are facing the same question. Does globalization mean Americanization? How to remain different?

Someone said that Britain taught the world how to produce in the 19th century, and America taught the world how to spend in the 20th century. In the 21st century, will China teach the world how to achieve balanced, sustainable development?

Some members of the Association of Professional Futurists have recently been traveling in China and sending back interesting reports. To frame the discussion, APF member Rohit Talwar [] posted this summary of facts and figures from the forthcoming FastFuture report on the Future of China's Economy. Read this, to help understand how China is rising.


  • About 10% a year for the last 20 years
  • 172 of China's cities have populations of over 1 million
    (compared with 9 cities in the US)
  • Plans to spend $17.4B constructing airports in next 5 years
  • Number of aircraft will rise from 863 today, to 1580 by 2010 and 4000 by 2020
  • The World Health Organization says that China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities on the planet
  • More than 400 Chinese cities have water shortages

Foreign Trade

  • Share of world exports will rise from 6% to 10% by 2010
  • Growth of 15% in 2006 to about $1.7 Trillion
  • First-half 2006, foreign trade reached $795.7B, growth 23% with trade surplus of $61.5B - 55% increase from 2005
  • Now the world's largest manufacturer of personal-computers
  • In 2001, US manufactured exports were more than double China; In first-half 2006 China passed the US, with $404B, compared to $367 billion for the US
  • 2005 high-tech exports $220B (passed US high-tech in 2004)

Technology & Innovation

  • Goal to achieve technological self-sufficiency within 15 years
  • 419 million mobile phone users, 440 million by end of 2006
  • In June 2006 China had 123 million Internet users (150 million including wireless).
    About 20% increase from June 2005; still only 9.4% of the population.
  • 77 million broadband users in June 2006, 45% jump from June 2005.


  • By 2020 the Chinese middle class is forecast to double to over 40% of the 1.3 B population - 520 million people.
  • Luxury goods market is forecast to grow 10%-20% annually until 2015
    - overtaking the US.
  • 4 million graduates in 2006 - including over 800,000 in engineering.
  • Estimated 320,000 dollar millionaires in 2005

What next for the China economy? Recent report cites 5 major factors:

  1. Embrace of market forces.
  2. Opening of the economy to trade and inward investment.
  3. High levels of saving and investment.
  4. Structural transformation of labor force - decline in agricultural workforce from 70% to 50%; freedom to choose jobs;
  5. High investment in primary school education.

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