China: What does the Rapid Growth Mean for the Rest of the World?

The changes China’s economy has undergone over the last decade are sweeping, unprecedented, and essential. The world would be far better served by an effort to understand them than by attempting to prove that the country’s achievements are less impressive than they are, according to an article written by Zhang Jun, Professor at Shanghai University, for World Economic Forum.

For the West, the year 2008 marked the beginning of a difficult period of crisis, recession, and uneven recovery. For China, 2008 was also an important turning point, but one followed by a decade of rapid progress that few could have foreseen.

Despite hosting the Olympics in Beijing that August, its stock market plunged from its 2007 high of 6,124 to 1,664 in October 2008, in what amounted to a record-breaking crash.

But the Chinese authorities remained dedicated to their long-term plan to revise the country’s growth model, by shifting away from exports and toward domestic consumption. In fact, the global economic crisis served to strengthen that commitment, as it underscored the risks of China’s dependence on foreign demand.

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(The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone)