White Paper: China Overtakes the USA as the World’s Largest Economy

July 23rd, 2014
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250_chinaVsUS-v1.0An economic milestone is expected to occur in 2014 with China likely to overtake the USA to become the world’s largest economy in Purchasing Power Parity or PPP terms.


China and the USA may be economic rivals but beyond the headlines divergent trends in both countries are apparent. Everything from living standards, consumption patterns, the business environment, productivity, retail and travel markets differ in China from the USA.  Similarities are there with income inequality an issue in both countries and both are leaders in the development of renewable energy technologies, manufacturing production and, less auspiciously, pollution.

Our analysts have identified the key weaknesses and strengths of the two superpowers across a wide range of industry sectors and in terms of economics, demographics, consumer trends and the business environment.




Key Facts:

  • As the world’s two largest manufacturers, China and the USA lead in global energy consumption and pollution, with China overtaking the USA in 2010 to become the world’s biggest energy consumer.
  • China is set to overtake the USA in 2014 in terms of international travel and knock Germany off the top spot in 2017 to become the largest outbound source market with 105 million outbound trips.
  • By 2018, USA’s beauty per capita spending is expected to increase to US$240, approximately five times higher than China’s projected per capita spending of US$50. The success of local beauty and personal care players in China has led to brands such as Garnier and Revlon pulling out of the country.
  • In 2002, China overtook the USA to become the leading beer market in terms of volume sales. However, China still has some way to go before it can claim to be the world’s biggest beer market by value.


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