China: An Incredible Growth Story

! china_shanghai skyline with reflection and wooden floor and lawnPrior to 1990, although there were years when the growth rate of China’s Gross Domestic Product was high, there were also years where this rate dropped into negative territory. From 1990 to 2011, however, China’s economic growth can only be described as phenomenal. In this span of time, the country went from just another struggling Asian country into a major economic power on a par with developed countries like Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

World Bank data shows that in 1990 China’s GDP was around US $356 billion. This figure represents about a tenth of Japan’s GDP at that time, which was around $3 trillion. In 2011, China’s GDP was nearly $6 trillion, about $500 billion higher than that of Japan. To put this in better perspective, this value is also twice that of Germany’s GDP and three times that of the United Kingdom.

China was able to catch up with and even overtake the other strong economic powers due to the consistency of its GDP growth per year. This rate was low between 1989 and 1991, averaging at about 6% with the lowest in 1990 at 3.8%. Over the next ten years, however, China’s annual GDP growth ranged between 7.6% and 14.2%.

This growth has been attributed in part to Deng Xiaoping’s tour of the country’s southern areas in 1992. It caused an influx of direct foreign investments into the southern coastal regions as well as government investments in Shanghai. These foreign domestic investments increased the country’s foreign exchange reserves especially towards the close of the 1990s. China also enjoyed more and more control over her interests, such as the secession of Hong Kong by the United Kingdom to China in 1997 – for which special commemorative Chinese coins were released.

Between 2002 and 2011, the average GDP growth rate was even higher compared to the previous decade. The lowest GDP growth rate for this span of time was 9.1% in 2001 and the highest was 14.2% in 2007. Many people find this rapid and nearly consistent growth suspicious. It was found to be an underestimation in 2005 because the growth of the country’s services sector was not factored into these calculations.

This incredible growth has made China an attractive country to invest in. Although many economists say that this growth will decrease in time and eventually become similar to the annual growth rates of more developed countries, this decline is unlikely to occur in the near future. There are several ways to invest in China, be that through Chinese companies floated on stock exchanges in Hong Kong and the United States or through precious Chinese collectibles such as jade and antiques. The barrier for entry by a novice into Chinese collectibles is usually challenging but with, you get access to an immense inventory of graded and independently certified precious metal coins released by the China Mint along with the transparency of the coin market and pricing, as if you were on the bourse of a coin show in China or Hong Kong.