China world’s biggest…

China has overtaken the US to become the biggest car market in the world as government policy initiatives spur demand.

Shanghai traffic

China sold more than 13.5m vehicles last year, the official Xinhua news agency said today, compared with 10.4m cars and light trucks sold in the US, the lowest level in 27 years.

China’s market grew by 45% year-on-year in 2009, providing a rare glimmer of hope for the world’s beleaguered car manufacturers, such as General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota. Total industry sales fell 21% in the formerly dominant US market, and Volkswagen has said that China is now its biggest market.

China was not expected to exceed the US market until 2020 but the speed with which the recession affected consumers in the States combined with incentives from the Beijing government to help buyers accelerate the trend.

Chinese officials have said that their country’s exports surged last December to edge out Germany as the world’s biggest exporter.

The official Xinhua news agency reported today that figures from the General Administration for Customs showed that exports jumped 17.7% in December from a year earlier. Over the whole of 2009 total Chinese exports reached US$1.2 trillion, above Germany’s forecast $1.17 trillion.

Huang Guohua, a statistics official with the customs administration, said the December exports rebound was an important turning point for China’s export sector. He commented that the jump was an indication that exporters have emerged from their downslide.

The Chinese economy is likely to overtop the Japanese economy and become the second largest in the world.

Li Daokui, Director of the Center for China in the World Economy (CCWE) at the Tsinghua University, states that there is no doubt about what the numbers or the statistics show. China’s GDP growth was 9.6% in 2008. Despite predictions about China’s GDP being at around 8.6% to 9%, it rose to 9.6%, as stated by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected previously that China will overtake Japan soon since the latter’s GDP dropped this year.

“The big underlying factor propelling China’s growth is the continued migration of people from the agricultural sector to the more modern economy—industry and services,” said economist David Cohen.

In 2007 China became the third largest economy in the world when it overtook Germany. In 2009, the economic stimulus program assisted China in attaining 8% growth.

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