The Economy of China

Key Indicators

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
GDP $3.49T $4.52T $4.98T $5.75T $6.42T
Unemployment Rate 4.00% 4.20% 4.30% 4.10% 4.00%
Population 1.32B 1.33B 1.33B 1.34B 1.35B

Featured Economic Indicators [ View all 1100 Economic Indicators ]

Gross Domestic Product (Percent change) Gross Domestic Product (U.S. dollars)
Per Capita Gross Domestic Product  (U.S. dollars) GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) (Current international dollar)
Investment (Percent of GDP) Gross national savings (Percent of GDP)
Inflation average consumer prices (Index) Inflation average consumer prices (Percent change)
Inflation (Index) Inflation (Percent change)
Unemployment rate (Percent of total labor force) Labor Force (Persons)
Population (Persons) Government revenue (National currency)
Government revenue (Percent of GDP) Government expenditure (Percent of GDP)
Government net lending/borrowing (Percent of GDP) Government structural balance (Percent of potential GDP)
Government primary net lending/borrowing (Percent of GDP) Government net debt (Percent of GDP)
Government gross debt (Percent of GDP) Current account balance (U.S. dollars)
Current account balance (Percent of GDP)  

Economic Overview of China

China Map
Chinas economy during the last quarter century has changed from a centrally planned system that was largely closed to international trade to a more market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector and is a major player in the global economy. Reforms started in the late 1970s with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, the foundation of a diversified banking system, the development of stock markets, the rapid growth of the non-state sector, and the opening to foreign trade and investment. China has generally implemented reforms in a gradualist or piecemeal fashion, including the sale of equity in Chinas largest state banks to foreign investors and refinements in foreign exchange and bond markets in 2005. The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, China in 2006 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still lower middle-income and 130000000 Chinese fall below international poverty lines. Economic development has generally been more rapid in coastal provinces than in the interior, and there are large disparities in per capita income between regions. The government has struggled to: (a) sustain adequate job growth for tens of millions of workers laid off from state-owned enterprises, migrants, and new entrants to the work force; (b) reduce corruption and other economic crimes; and (c) contain environmental damage and social strife related to the economys rapid transformation. From 130000000 to 130000000 surplus rural workers are adrift between the villages and the cities, many subsisting through part-time, low-paying jobs. One demographic consequence of the "one child" policy is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Another long-term threat to growth is the deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the north. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development. China has benefited from a huge expansion in computer Internet use, with more than 130000000 users at the end of 2005. Foreign investment remains a strong element in Chinas remarkable expansion in world trade and has been an important factor in the growth of urban jobs. In July 2005, China revalued its currency by 2.1% against the US dollar and moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. In 2006 China had the largest current account surplus in the world - nearly $130000000. More power generating capacity came on line in 2006 as large scale investments were completed. Thirteen years in construction at a cost of $130000000, the immense Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River was essentially completed in 2006 and will revolutionize electrification and flood control in the area. The 11th Five-Year Program (2006-10), approved by the National Peoples Congress in March 2006, calls for a 20% reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP by 2010 and an estimated 45% increase in GDP by 2010. The plan states that conserving resources and protecting the environment are basic goals, but it lacks details on the policies and reforms necessary to achieve these goals.

Nation History

China Map
For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring Chinas sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight.

Source(s): CIA World Factbook