In 2000, the U.S.A. produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese. China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per-person is still less than one-quarter that of the U.S., so China is still far from being the world’s wealthiest nation.The IMF made the calculations by measuring purchasing-power parity (PPP). Similar goods cost the same in both Shanghai and New York, as far as PPP is concerned.
Experts have predicted this shift in economic power for years. It was never a question of if, but rather when. Mashable reports that Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted that the World Bank projected it would happen in 2014.
Of course, GDP and PPP are not the only important economic indicator. The U.S. are still ahead in other important areas such as technology and innovation, which can be measured by the number of patents awarded. But there are indications that China is catching up in technology and innovation as well.
For example the Alibaba Group, a giant Chinese e-commerce company that started as an online marketplace for businesses but quickly expanded to different segments and services, like consumer products and payments, went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in September, in what was the largest IPO of a company in the United States. China has large Internet companies like Baidu and Tencent, active and aggressive all over the field, and today it’s strategic mistake to think that the Western world dominates the Internet.
Yesterday’s launch of the Orion spacecraft has been hailed as an important technology milestone, and rightly so. The tiny module is part of a future space transportation system that should take Americans to Mars, perhaps in the 2030s. But by that time, the Chinese may be there already.
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Images from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Shutterstock.