Sources from the Chinese government have made public that their current GDP has overtaken Japan’s, setting China as the second largest economy of the World.

China’s spectacular growth since Deng Xiaoping began to introduce free-market reforms three decades ago has seen it bounding up the world league of economic powers. Just 10 years ago, it was the sixth-largest in the world but has since outstripped Britain and France in 2005 and Germany in 2007. It overtook Germany as the world’s largest exporter last year and also became the largest car market.

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers, described the figures as a “symbolic” shift. He said: “Clearly it was inevitable, it was a just a question of when it would happen – just as it is pretty inevitable in the long run that it will be bigger than the US as well, because it has four times the population.”

For now, China remains a distant second behind the US. The International Monetary Fund expects China’s GDP to reach $5.36tn this year, while the US is expected to hit $14.79tn. The UK projection is $2.22tn. Japan is expected to have GDP of $5.27tn.

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