China’s consistently high growth rates, strong exports, and expanding industrial sector have been turning heads. So it may come of little surprise that China’s GDP recently surpassed that of Japan, making it the second largest economy in the world, writes the LA Times.
Though China's total output has surpassed Japan's before, this time analysts predict China won't relinquish its lead. "[E]conomists say China is poised to be ahead for good," reports the LA Times. “China's economy will almost certainly be bigger than Japan's at the end of 2010," agrees the Huffington Post, because "China is growing at about 10 percent a year, while Japan's economy is forecast to grow between 2 to 3 percent this year.”
Yet, the Huffington Post points out that China's growth has not been unequivocally beneficial.
China's rise has produced glaring contradictions. The wealth gap between an elite who profited most from three decades of reform and its poor majority is so extreme that China has dozens of billionaires while average income for the rest of its 1.3 billion people is among the world's lowest.
In China, per capital income was $3,600 last year, standing in stark contrast to Japan's $37,800 per capita income, according to figures in the Huffington Post article. This intrenched disparity highlights how using GDP — a country's total output — can mislead when used as a measure of prosperity. Accordingly, many Chinese told the LA Times that their country is not necessarily better off than Japan, a sentiment explored in this LA Times video.
So, while China has further cemented its economic superstar status by gaining the title, "Number Two Economy," to truly flaunt these laurels, the country must also address its pervasive poverty as well.