China Takes Off

Courtesy Reuters


Few nations have changed as fast -- or as dramatically -- as China has since the 1970s. The world's most populous nation has radically liberalized its economy and gone from producing low-quality and simple exports to sophisticated high-technology goods, while nurturing a vibrant private sector and attracting nearly $500 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI). The country has turned into a formidable exporting machine: China's total exports grew eightfold -- to over $380 billion -- between 1990 and 2003; and its exports in the electronics industry now account for 30 percent of Asia's total in that sector. China's share of global exports will reach 6 percent in 2003, compared to 3.9 percent in 2000. Last year, China accounted for 16 percent of the growth in the world economy, ranking second only to the United States.

There is no question, therefore, that China's emergence as a great economic power will rank as one of the major issues confronting

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