While the US is currently the world’s largest economy, in purchasing-power terms China is expected to overtake it in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund. China has benefited significantly from globalization.
Over decades, it has invested in enhancing its capabilities and built economic links with many countries. It has become viewed as an important overseas partner and investor.
This chart shows how China is forecast to overtake the US as the world’s dominant economic power by 2030, based on share of global GDP, trade and exports.
Something China understands very well is the importance of connectivity – and hence transport infrastructure – for economic growth and development. Its major development framework is the One Belt One Road initiative with its two pillars, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
This development project involves a territory equal to 55% of global GDP, 70% of the global population and 75% of its known energy reserves. “The investments will involve about 300 projects extending from Singapore to Turkmenistan,” reports Reuters.
One building block of One Belt One Road – also known as OBOR – is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This China-driven alliance will comprise Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Japan and South Korea – as well as the ASEAN region. In 2014, ASEAN was the seventh-largest economic power in the world. It was also the third-largest economy in Asia, with a combined GDP of US$2.6 trillion – higher than all of India.