As recent as 6 years ago, the United States was the larger trading partner for 127 countries, China only 70. Now, the table turns – China got 124 and U.S. 76. A recent article at NPR points out that this trend is changing the way people live and do business across the globe – the “most abrupt global shift of its kind since World War II”.
Indeed, from businessmen to farmers, more and more people are signing up to learn Mandarin. Firms and organizations are looking at the Chinese markets for opportunities and investments. Without a doubt, China has enormous potential to become the biggest trader of goods and services in the world.
But not yet. The United States still does the largest trade in terms trade volume, and unlike China who occupies mostly lower-end goods and commodities, the U.S. controls the high-end and most value-added products and services. Most of China’s largest firms are state-owned. It would take these gigantic a while to transform and travel beyond the Great Wall, becoming internationally renowned like GE or Ford. Trade in services is still dominated by the U.S., beyond the reach of the Chinese.
Nonetheless, the focus of global lenses is shifting to the East. China has shown prudence in the recent financial crisis and has become politically important at the international arena. With the change of new leadership, China is inevitably facing tremendous opportunities and challenges in this the global economic winter season.