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Is China the next Super-Power?

Updated on November 10, 2014

The Great Wall of China

In recent years, there has been a tremendous amount of hype about the rumor that China is becoming the next super-power. Chinese tech companies like Alibaba and Baidu have been making tremendous splashes in the financial world, while it’s rare for a day to pass that we don’t hear about Chinese investors buying up foreign real-estate, or US government bonds.
The breaking news reports about China can be deceptive, as they only show us the very tip of a much larger iceberg. So, what does the future really hold in store for this rapidly-evolving country? Will China be the next super-power, or will America maintain its super-power dominance for decades to come?
At this point, it can go both ways. Below are a list of factors which hold the key to unlocking what the future holds in store.

Beijing Street Life

Signs of China’s Future Dominance

1) China leads the world in exports.

The best statistic China has going for it is its exporting power. With over $2.2 trillion of exported goods per year, China has become the world’s top exporter, even surpassing the United States. You can bet that the money flowing into China from abroad will be put to good use.

2) China has been investing heavily in education.

When considering education in China, we are also forced to touch on the issue of Communism. Since 1981, China’s one-party Communist government has implemented the “one-child” policy. Parents that have more than one child are subject to a heavy fine. This is part of an attempt by the government to minimize population growth.

In terms of education, the “one-child” policy means a whole lot more pressure on the only child of the majority of households. To sustain its economic growth, and rapid urbanization, China is now struggling to develop a national educational system which can produce experts of the modern-day industries, like business, technology, and manufacturing.

Chinese Society

3) China has been signing big contracts with Russia.

Shunning America, Russia and China recently signed 38 accords together, sealing their blooming relationship in a variety of industries. Among the agreement is that China will provide Russia with secrets from its advanced technologies sector, while Russia will provide China with oil and gas for years to come.

4) Chinese police have been raiding American warehouses.

The international power play for wealth and influence is a continuing story. This past June, the Chinese government accused Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Cisco System, and Yahoo of helping the US government steal Chinese state secrets. The offices of several large American tech companies, including Microsoft, were then raided by Chinese officials.

New York Skyline

Signs of America’s Continuing Dominance

1) China’s population is aging rapidly.

Back in the 1980’s, only 5 percent of the Chinese population was over 65. Today, 9%, or 123 million people, are over 65 in China. Looking into the future, analysts say that the one-child policy, as well as rapid improvements in medicine, could mean that, by 2050, China’s senior citizens could make up a quarter of the population. While the aged can offer wise advice, and are still very much consuming goods, vast retirement usually means less people producing goods, thereby indicating slower economic growth as a whole.

2) China’s military is much smaller than America’s.

The US defense budget for 2014 was $612 billion. That budget is greater than the sum total of the world’s ten next-biggest armies combined (i.e. Russia + China + India+...). A powerful military has been an important feature of history’s super-powers, dating back to the Roman Empire, and earlier. Military power can buy a nation friends to meet both security and economic goals.

Meanwhile, China spends between $80 billion to $150 billion a year on defense, depends who you ask.

3) China’s GDP is half the size of America’s.

The latest data reveals that the GDP of the United States is still about double that of China’s. That means that the total value of goods and services within America still greatly exceeds that of China. With a higher quality of life for its citizens, and greater economic opportunity, in this respect, America is still on top.

4) China’s huge population could be its greatest strength or its greatest weakness.

One of the modern economists famous for bringing China’s rising global power to light is Jim O’Neil, a top analyst of Goldman Sachs. O’Neil asserts that given China’s large population (over 1 billion, of the earth’s 7.1 billion inhabitants, live in China), and the rapid industrialization of its cities, China could be set to overcome America as the super-power within the next 30 years.

Then again, if China's population doesn't become part of the work force, and the government fails to adapt to global changes adequately, that huge population could turn into its greatest weakness rather than its greatest strength.

Jim O’Neil’s Speech

As China continues to industrialize its cities and make new alliances with powerful nations across the world, we have concluded that it surely has the potential to surpass America, and become the next super-power.

While taking into account the above information, it is important to note that fresh economic indicators are constantly being released to the public. Tomorrow’s newspaper may just add another twist to the story.

Chinatown in San Francisco


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    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      The aging Chinese population is particularly interesting. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.