China Economy

7357 Words Jun 15th, 2013 30 Pages
CHINA

AN ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The rapid rise of China as a major economic power within a time span of about three decades is often described by analysts as one of the greatest economic success stories in modern times. From 1979 (when economic reforms began) to 2011, China’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of nearly 10%. From 1980 to 2011, real GDP grew 19-fold in real terms, real per capita GDP increased 14-fold, and an estimated 500 million people were raised out of extreme poverty. China is now the world’s second-largest economy and some analysts predict it could become the largest within a few years. Yet, on a per capita basis, China remains a relatively poor country. China’s economic rise has
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To support rapid industrialization, the central government undertook large-scale investments in physical and human capital during the 1960s and 1970s. As a result, by 1978 nearly three-fourths of industrial production was produced by centrally controlled, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), according to centrally planned output targets. Private enterprises and foreign-invested firms were generally barred. A central goal of the Chinese government was to make China’s economy relatively self-sufficient. Foreign trade was generally limited to obtaining only those goods that could not be made or obtained in China. Government policies kept the Chinese economy relatively stagnant and inefficient, mainly because most aspects of the economy were managed and run by the central government (and thus there were few profit incentives for firms, workers, and farmers), competition was virtually nonexistent, foreign trade and investment flows were mainly limited to Soviet bloc countries, and price and production controls caused widespread distortions in the economy. Chinese living standards were substantially lower than those of many other developing countries. The Chinese government in 1978 (shortly after the death of Chairman Mao in 1976) decided to break with its Soviet-style economic policies by gradually reforming the economy according to free market principles and opening up trade and investment with the West, in the hope that this would significantly increase economic growth and raise

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