The World's New Economic Growth Engine?
China is the worls's fastest growing economy. It has achieved economic growth of about 9% a year for more than 25 years. One projection is that China's economy will overtake the USA's by 2039.
- In 2004, exports rose by 35% to $593billion, while imports grew by 36% to $561billion
- Half of the world's clothes and a third ofits mobile phones are made in China
- China is now the world's No.1 market for mobile phones and the second largest market for computers
- In 2003, China sold $440 billion worth of goods to other countries
- 80% of Wal-Mart's 6000 suppliers are from China
Costs and Benefits of Chinese Economic Growth
- Low-cost imports from China have saved US consumers more than $600billion over the last decade
- The ability to purchase low-cost Chinese componenets has been a major factor in helping US firms to keep costs down and remain competetive
- Resulted in low rate of inflation which has allowed very low interest rates in the USA
- The EU's exports to China have risen sixfold in the last 15 years
- Job losses in traditional industries in MEDCs
- Many LEDCs tryind to develop industries such as textiles just cannot compete witht he might of China
- Rapidly increasing FDI in China has drawn investment away from other countries
- In May 2005, the US Treasury told China to revalue its currency by at least 10% against the dollar to prevent protectionist legislation in the US Congress - Chinese currency too low in value
- Coal is China's main domestic source of energy. It is also the most polluting form of energy.
Growing Demand for Raw Materials
China is the largest producer of coal, steel and cement.
At 220 million tonnes in 2003, China producedmore steel that the USA and Japan combined
Although China is the world's largest coal producer, it may well become a net importer within a few years as demand continues to grow significantly.
The country is the second largest consumer of energy and the second largest importer of oil after the USA, surpassing Japan in 2003.
In China, the environmental movement is growing rapidly in response to heightened levels of pollution.
China now has more than 2,000 non-governmental environmental groups.
China is already the world's second largest producer of greenhouse gases, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels in industry and energy production
According to the World Wildlife Fund, China will only be able to meet half of its demand for wood from domestic forets by 2010
Environmental Investigation Agency claims that China is the largest buyer of stolen timber in the world
According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, the crime syndicates pay bribes of over £100,000 a shipment to ensure the logs can leave Indonesian waters.
Japan chased a Chinese sub out of its territorial waters, near a disputed and gas-rich area of the East China Sea
There is litle doubt that China is seeking to increase its political influence in raw material rich countries:
- China is rebuilding a railway system in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer
- In Zambia, Chinese companies own one of the country's largest copper mines
- In Rwanda, Chinese companies have paved more than 80% of the main roads