China and the U.S are currently the top two biggest economies in the world but the battle for the top spot is still ongoing. However, getting to where they are has been the result of a combination of factors, some of which they have in common and others highlight the differences between the two.
The U.S has been a superpower and the biggest economy for a long time and China has been playing catch up for the past few decades. In 2016, the economy of the U.S accounted for more than 24 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). The International Monetary Fund Estimated in 2017 that China’s economy was 61.7 percent the size of the U.S GDP. This means that the U.S had a bigger economy at the time. However, it is a well-known fact that China is rapidly closing the gap.
As far as similarities are concerned, both China and the U.S are highly developed countries and highly urbanized. Their economies are both large, highly driven by technology and e-commerce with some of the biggest companies in e-commerce coming from both countries. Additionally, the two nations are also characterized by high levels of industrialization. They also happen to be highly populous but China far outpaces the U.S in terms of population because it has more than 1.3billion citizens while the U.S has a population slightly above 320 million.
One of the most common measures of greatness for countries is military power. Both countries also hold the top spots as but it is a bit hard to tell which has more capacity. For example, the U.S has significantly more nuclear warheads than China although the latter has a higher number of military personnel.
Another key aspect of power is trade ties with other nations. While the U.S seems to be relatively isolated when it comes to economic dealings, China has been doing the exact opposite by expanding its trade ties with different countries all over the world. For example, China has struck deals to construct railways and ports in countries such as Pakistan and East African countries. It has also been giving loans to the countries in which it has secured such deals.
China’s trade deals have particularly been strategically placed on the old trade routes collectively known as the Silk Road. Some of the countries that have benefited from the loans have not been able to repay them due to unfavorable economic situations. Instead, China has been striking deals to secure control of some of the infrastructure that it has developed. Analysts believe that China is using this strategy to not only secure strong ties with other countries but also to secure outposts which can serve as economic or military bases in the future.
China’s strategic dealings are believed to be part of the plan through which it plans to secure the top spot as the biggest economy in the world, thus dethroning the U.S while also establishing itself as a trade powerhouse.