China in 2050: will it be a global player or split the world economy?

BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 25: Chinese President Xi Jinping proposes a toast during the welcome banquet for leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 26, 2019. (Photo by Nicolas Asfouri - Pool/Getty Images)

The twin goals, to be achieved by 2049, are the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” both economically and territorially by reunifying with Taiwan.

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Mr Xi has reason to be grandiloquent. China’s $14tn economy is second only to the US; Standard Chartered reckons that on the basis of purchasing power parity, China will take the number one slot as early as next year. Even in nominal terms — depending on how you analyse the data — the Chinese economy is expected to surpass the US at some point in the 2030s.

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Once dismissed as a copycat maker of cheap gadgets, China now rivals the US in technology, sparking a new arms race in areas such as artificial intelligence and fifth-generation telecoms networks.

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