China also the most number of supercomputers—227 out of the Top 500.
Other Chinese tech giants include DJI (world’s largest drone maker with 70% market share),BOE (world’s largest flat-panel display maker), Didi (world’s largest and most valuable ride-sharing company) and BYD (world’s largest plug-in vehicle maker—including both BEV and PHEV) China also the most number of supercomputers—227 out of the Top 500 (as of 2019).
It is the world’s largest e-commerce market, amounting to 42% of the global market by 2016 and is expected to account for 55% of global e-commerce retail sales in 2019 (more than three times as large as the US market). China’s e-commerce market had online sales of more than $1 trillion in 2018, according to PWC and is expected to be just under $2 trillion in 2019.China’s e-commerce industry took off in 2009, marked by the growth of internet giants Tencent and Alibaba – purveyors of products such as WeChat and Tmall – that have become ubiquitous in contemporary Chinese life. Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Ali Pay have helped China become a world leader in mobile payments, which amounted to about $30 trillion in China in 2017 and more than $40 trillion in 2018.
China is also second only to the United States in venture capital activity and is home to a large number of unicorn startup companies. In 2018, China attracted $105 billion of venture capital investments, amounting to 38% of global VC investments that year. In late 2018, the world’s most valuable startup was ByteDance, a Chinese company and the two most valuable artificial intelligence (AI) startups in the world were SenseTime and Face++, both from China. In 2017, China’s State Council released its Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, which declared AI technology a priority economic growth and investment sector. In 2018, China created 97 “unicorns” – startups that are worth more than $1 billion – which amounted to 1 unicorn every 3.8 days. Chinese smartphone brands – Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus etc. – have captured more than 40% of the global market. By 2019, Huawei had become the world’s largest telecom infrastructure provider, surpassing Nokia and Ericsson, and had taken the lead in 5G technology. The company also entered the consumer smartphone and enterprise services markets, and is the world’s third-largest smartphone company, after Apple and Samsung.
China is also the world leader in patents, accounting for 1.54 million patents or almost half of all global patents in 2018. China’s spending on R&D has been growing rapidly in the last decade, amounting to $277 billion in 2017.
Economic And Growth
Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move towards a more market-oriented mixed economy under one-party rule. Agricultural collectivization was dismantled and farmlands privatized, while foreign trade became a major new focus, leading to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured and unprofitable ones were closed outright, resulting in massive job losses. Modern-day China is mainly characterized as having a market economy based on private property ownership, and is one of the leading examples of state capitalism.The state still dominates in strategic “pillar” sectors such as energy production and heavy industries, but private enterprise has expanded enormously, with around 30 million private businesses recorded in 2008. In 2018, private enterprises in China accounted for 60% of GDP, 80% of urban employment and 90% of new jobs
China ranks No. 1 in the production of steel, aluminum and automobiles—China’s global market shares are 50% in steel, 50% in aluminum and 30% in automobile manufacturing. China has also been increasingly turning to automation, becoming the world’s largest market for industrial robots in 2013. Between 2010 and 2015, China installed 90,000 industrial robots, or one-third of the world’s total. In 2017, China bought 36% of all the new industrial robots in the world. China’s plan is to also domestically design and manufacture 100,000 industrial robots by 2020. However, the Chinese economy is highly energy-intensive and inefficient China became the world’s largest energy consumer in 2010, relies on coal to supply over 70% of its energy needs, and surpassed the US to become the world’s largest oil importer in 2013.
In the last decade, China has become #1 in the world in terms of installed solar power capacity, hydro-power and wind power. According to the World Economic Forum, China will account for 40% of the global renewable energy by 2022. In addition, official GDP figures are seen as unreliable and there have been several well-publicized cases of data manipulation. In the early 2010s, China’s economic growth rate began to slow amid domestic credit troubles, weakening international demand for Chinese exports and fragility in the global economy. China’s GDP was smaller than Germany’s in 2007; however, by 2017, China’s $12.2 trillion-economy became larger than those of Germany, UK, France and Italy combined.In 2018, the IMF reiterated its forecast that China will overtake the US in terms of nominal GDP by the year 2030. Economists also expect China’s middle class to expand to 600 million people by 2025.