China #1!

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It hasn’t happened since 1850, but China has just climbed back to the number one spot on the “manufacturing giants of the world” list.

The Atlantic reports that, although the US and China are neck-in-neck, China’s neck is just a little bit further ahead:

“The United Nations has updated its national accounts data to capture 2011, and thanks to China’s breakneck growth, its manufacturing output is now leaving ours in a cloud of coal dust, as shown in this graph from AEI’s Mark Perry. China’s trend line is practically an asymptote.”

The ten dollar words continue…

“As a point of pride, this might all be a bit of a blow for the United States. As an economic issue, though, it’s not really so terrible.Yes, we envy China’s factory and export engine, but we still build plenty here. In fact, we’re building more than ever, and much of our output consists of extraordinarily profitable, technologically advanced products like aircraft that China has yet to master. And, though it’s sometimes easy to forget with all the talk of China rising, we’re also, well, richer. America’s household consumption alone generated $10.7 trillion of economic activity in 2011 — $3.5 trillion more than China’s entire gross domestic product. This, despite the fact that our population is one quarter the size. We might not be the world’s top builders anymore, but our economy’s bias towards spending does insulate it a bit from the rest world’s economic problems, something China’s policy makers almost certainly envy themselves.”

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And it’s not just the economy that is being affected by China’s increasing power. Reports surfaced today that Japan was left scrambling and furious after China flew its jets over a disputed territory.

“A Chinese government plane entered for the first time what Japan considers its airspace over disputed islets in the East China Sea, escalating tension between Asia’s two biggest economies.

Japan protested to China over the incident but China brushed that off saying the flight by the Chinese aircraft was ‘completely normal.’

Sino-Japanese relations took a tumble in September after Japan bought the tiny islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from a private Japanese owner.

Patrol ships from the two countries have been shadowing each other since then in a standoff that has raised concern that a collision could escalate into a clash. Thursday’s incident was the first time both sides used aircraft in the dispute.”

What do you think? Is it time we all started learning Mandarin?

Read more on China, France, America and the world beyond in the latest edition of Carnet Atlantique!

Read Carnet Atlantique

Our two-year anniversary is fast approaching! We’ll be talking currency, coalitions and all things China in just a few short weeks. Keep your eyes on this space!!

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