China's economy will overtake the U.S. by 2035, powered by domestic demand, according to a report by a U.S. research institute.
The world's fastest-growing major economy will become twice the size of the U.S. by the middle of the century, said the report by Albert Keidel of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
The report refuted the idea that China depends on exports, saying its growth was ‘overwhelmingly’ driven by investment and consumption at home. China's economy will rise to take global and institutional leadership and the U.S. will have an important secondary influence, much like Europe today, Keidel said.
‘Because its success in recent decades has not been export- led but driven by domestic demand, its rapid growth can continue well into the 21st century,’ said Keidel.
China's likely continued success will eventually bring an end to America's global economic preeminence, Bloomberg reports.
Based on a more controversial purchasing power parity (PPP) measure used by the World Bank and others to correct low labor-cost distortions, he said China's GDP is roughly half of that of the United States.
"Despite this low starting point, if China's expansion is anywhere near as fast as the earlier expansion of other East Asian modernizers at a comparable stage of development, the power of compound growth rates means that China's economy will be larger than America's by midcentury -- no matter how it is converted to dollars," Keidel wrote.
"Indeed, PPP valuation distinctions will diminish and eventually disappear."
Keidel's calculations suggest that using the PPP method, China will catch up with the United States as an economic power by 2020, with an equivalent GDP of 18 trillion dollars.
Based on the more commonly accepted market method, the turning point will come by 2035. By 2050, he estimated Chinese GDP at some 82 trillion dollars compared with 44 trillion for the United States.
The dramatic economic change will make help China become a more important power in other areas including military and diplomatic affairs, according to Keidel.
"China's financial clout will spill into every conceivable dimension of international relations," he writes.
"Leadership of international institutions will gravitate toward China. This movement could include the equivalents at that time of the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, regional international development banks, and more specialized bodies. Various headquarters could shift to Beijing and Shanghai."
He said the United States "will have an important secondary influence, like Europe, but it will need to compromise, and its sphere for unilateral action will be increasingly curtailed."
However, the Chinese standard of living will remain lower -- with per capita GDP in China between half and two-thirds the level of that in the United States in 2050, according to the report.
Keidel said poverty will remain a significant problem in China for decades despite considerable progress.
"It is hard to overemphasize how poor China was 30 years ago," he said.
But amid the economic boom, he noted: "Measures of inequality in China have increased dramatically since 1978, raising the possibility that dissatisfied groups left behind by its booming economy will eventually pose problems serious enough to derail its longterm growth."
Another significant hurdle for China will be handling the social problems accompanying its economic rise, the AFP reports.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.