The foundation for China’s relentless drive toward increased global influence is straightforward: Gain a dominant position in key economic sectors and leverage that into far-ranging political sway. Beijing is brimming with ideas for achieving that goal and is making progress in doing so.
By any realistic assessment, China is on course to succeed the United States as the world’s top economy. Consider this: China has only to sustain growth in its national economic output, or GDP, at a 6.5% annual rate versus the U.S.’s 2% – about the pace at which each economy has been expanding recently – and it will overtake the United States as No. 1 sometime between 2025 and 2030. After four decades of astonishingly brisk expansion – topping 10% a year for much of that time – China already is “the world’s factory,” and now the manufacturing dynamo is preparing to branch out into sophisticated fields from robot technology to ramped-up computer chip making.
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