China to Overtake the USA
The data released by the World Bank and IMF revealed the biggest economies of the world. It reported that the US has maintained its position at the top since 1992, followed by Japan. However, they predicted China’s overtaking the US. Further, the report added that India and Indonesia would rank 3 and 5 by 2024 while Russia will rise to rank 6. Also, it has downgraded European economies, including Germany, UK, and France to lower levels.
The World Economic Forum predicts that Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines will increase their labour forces which will thereby add to the average disposable incomes. The report mentioned multinational companies like China’s Huawei and India’s Tata, which have contributed to the significant growth.
Chinese- the World’s Biggest Spenders on Luxury
With an uninterrupted average growth of 10% for four decades, China has around 400 million people with an income to spend on luxuries. Given the Chinese population 4.2 times larger than the US’s 330 million population, it can soon become the world’s biggest consumer market. That said, its government is already working to modernize its economy. It is working towards bolstering living standards through spending on social security and increasing productivity. However, the growth of middle and upper classes will mean a rise in inequality, causing political discontent.
Economic vs Geopolitical Power
World Bank’s International Comparison Program (ICP) has found China’s total real income slightly more than that of the US. Also, China’s 2017 GDP in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) stood at $19.617tn as against $19.519tn of the US. Similarly, the last report of ICP, about six years ago, created media flurry with flashing headlines of China becoming the leading economic power. However, the real picture was quite different as comparing countries based on per capita income in terms of PPP does not give an account of geopolitical power.
Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University, says that China’s economic size and power cannot be compared to the US’s global supremacy. He justifies that the US is far ahead than China when national GDPs are compared at actual exchange rates (which is a better approach). However, he says the US is gradually surrendering its influence over multilateral organizations under Trump.
How far is India?
While China exported US$2.499 trillion worth of goods in 2019, India exported US$322.8 billion in goods in the same year. However, the composition of exporting countries does not vary much in both countries. China and India exported around 49% of its goods to Asian fellow countries. That apart, both countries exported approximately 19% of products to European countries last year.
Considering the value of exports, India can cover this vast gap between trade by tapping the opportunities. However, this is possible only with the right impetus provided. The government must announce attractive schemes to invite companies for manufacturing in the country. It can go a step further by providing ready to move in facilities in particular zones. Also, the focus should be made on different sectors such as pharmaceuticals, that can bring faster results. Besides, the labour laws need amendments to cater to the investors’ needs.
Conclusively, China is still a developing country, and it will take longer than expected to overtake the US.