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Our Top Facts on China

How much is China still a product of central planning and its history of isolation?

May 24, 2000

How much is China still a product of central planning and its history of isolation?

China’s pending accession to the WTO will, in many respects, merely be a stamp of approval on the fact that China is already a major force in the global economy. But as our Globalist Factsheet makes clear, the China of today is still a product of its recent history of isolation and central planning.

What are China’s global trade relations like?

China’s international trade reached its previous peak in 1928, when it equaled 2.3% of the world total — a level not it would surpass in the next 65 years. In the intervening period, its share of world trade fell to a low of 0.6% in 1977.


In what state are U.S. Chinese trade relations?

In 1999, the United States accounted for more than 25% of China’s total exports. At the same time, China bought only 2% of total U.S. exports.

(Morgan Stanley Dean Witter)

Who invests the most in China?

In 1997, five Asia nations — Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea — accounted for almost 75% of the $45 billion of foreign direct investment in China.

(Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade)

How much comes from the United States?

By comparison, the United States provided China with only $3.2 billion of direct investment — or barely 10% of the amount from China’s Asian neighbors.

(Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade)

Is China catching up on the technical front?

Before 1996, more than 80% of the computers in China were sold under foreign brand names. By 2000, three Chinese companies have 33% of the market.

(International Herald Tribune)

Are the WTO negotiations only a recent phenomenon?

China has been trying to join the WTO or its predecessor the GATT since July 1986.

(New York Times)

What is the procedure now for China to join?

Before China can actually join the WTO, there will be a wait of several more months as trade agreements between Beijing and other countries are consolidated in a single document.

(New York Times)

What makes China valuable for world trade?

During the last 20 years, the value of China’s exports to the rest of the world grew at an average of 15% a year.


Where is China’s economic powerhouse?

China’s five coastal provinces — Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guandong — are home to only 19% of the national population, but account for 72% of the country’s exports.

(Morgan Stanley Dean Witter)

How can China tackle its demographic challenges?

China needs an annual growth rate of 5% to create enough jobs to keep pace with the 50 million new workers entering the job market each year.

(Washington Post)

What is the environmental situation like?

As of 2000, nine of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in China.

(New York Times)

How does the average neighed in Taiwan fare?

As of 1995, the top 20% of Taiwanese earned just five times the income of the bottom 20%. In mainland China, this ratio was almost 9-to-1.

(World Bank)

How wired are the Chinese?

As of mid-1999, China had about 4 million Internet users — representing just 0.33% of the population.

(Financial Times)

What is the human rights situation like?

In 1998, China executed a reported 1,067 prisoners — more than all other countries combined.

(Amnesty International)