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The People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China, is the most populous state in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, it is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China (CPC). The PRC exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four directly administered municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two highly autonomous special administrative regions (SARs) – Hong Kong and Macau. Its capital city is Beijing.
At about 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million square miles), the PRC is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area, depending on the definition of what is included in that total, and the second largest by land area. Its landscape is diverse, with forest steppes and deserts (the Gobi and Taklamakan) in the dry north near Mongolia and Russia's Siberia, and subtropical forests in the wet south close to Vietnam, Laos, and Burma. The terrain in the west is rugged and elevated, with the Himalayas and the Tian Shan mountain ranges forming China's natural borders with India, Nepal and Central Asia. In contrast, mainland China's eastern seaboard is low-lying and has a 14,500-kilometre (9,000 mi) long coastline (the 11th longest in the world), bounded on the southeast by the South China Sea and on the east by the East China Sea, beyond which lie Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.
Since the introduction of market-based economic reforms in 1978, China has become the world's fastest growing major economy, the world's largest exporter and second largest importer of goods. It is the world's second largest economy by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP) and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. It is also a member of formal/informal multilateral organizations including the WTO, APEC, BRIC, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and G-20. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army with the second-largest defense budget. China has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of academics, military analysts, and public policy and economics analysts.
The Economy
Foreign trade was focused upon as a major vehicle of growth for China, which led to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) first in Shenzhen (near Hong Kong) and then in other Chinese cities. Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured by introducing western-style management system and the unprofitable ones were closed, resulting in massive job losses. By the latter part of 2010, China was reversing some of its economic liberalization initiative whereby state-owned companies were buying up independent businesses in the steel, auto and energy industries.
Since economic liberalization began in 1978, the PRC's investment- and export-led economy has grown 90 times bigger and is the fastest growing major economy in the world.  According to IMF that PRC's annual average GDP growth for the period of 2001–2010 was 10.5 percent and predicted to grow with 9.5 percent for the period of 2011–2015. From 2007 to 2011 China global economic growth is same as G7 growth combined together. As Global Growth Generators countries announced by Citigroup at February 2011, China has high 3G Index. It now has the world's second largest nominal GDP at 39.8 trillion yuan (US$6.05 trillion), although its GDP per capita of US$4,300 is still low and puts the PRC behind roughly a hundred countries. The primary, secondary, and tertiary industries contributed 10.6%, 46.8%, and 42.6% respectively to the total economy in 2009. If PPP is taken into account, the PRC's economy is second only to the US at $10.085 trillion corresponding to $7,518 per capita.
The inaugural Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse Research Institute collects data across more than 200 countries in mid-2010 stated China is expected to overtake Japan as the second wealthiest country in the world by 2015 ($35 trillion) on the back of rapid economic growth and strong domestic consumption. Ten years ago, China was the seventh largest country in global wealth and China currently holds $16.5 trillion, 35 percent ahead of the wealthiest European country, France.
The PRC is the fourth most visited country in the world with 50.9 million inbound international visitors in 2009. It is a member of the WTO and is the world's second largest trading power behind the US with a total international trade of US$2.21 trillion – US$1.20 trillion in exports (#1) and US$1.01 trillion in imports (#2). Its foreign exchange reserves have reached US$2.85 trillion at end of 2010 and it means increased by 18.7 percent from last year, making it by far the world's largest for the last few years. The PRC owns an estimated $1.6 trillion of US securities. The PRC, holding US$1.16 trillion in Treasury bonds, is the largest foreign holder of US public debt. It is the world's third largest recipient of inward FDI by attracting US$92.4 billion in 2008 alone, while the country itself increasingly invests abroad with a total outward FDI of US$52.2 billion in 2008 alone becoming the world's sixth largest outward investor.   FDI inward in 2010 was $106 billion rose 16 percent from 2009.
China is the world's second largest economy (IMF, 2010)
The PRC's success has been primarily due to manufacturing as a low-cost producer. This is attributed to a combination of cheap labor, good infrastructure, relatively high productivity, favorable government policy, and some say, an undervalued exchange rate. The latter has been sometimes blamed for the PRC's bulging trade surplus (US$262.7 billion in 2007) and has become a major source of dispute between the PRC and its major trading partners – the US, EU, and Japan – despite the yuan having been de-pegged and risen in value by 20% against the US$ since 2005.
The state still dominates in strategic "pillar" industries (such as energy and heavy industries), but private enterprise (30 million private businesses) now accounts for anywhere between 33% (People's Daily 2005) to 70% (BusinessWeek, 2005) of GDP in 2005, while the OECD estimate is over 50% of China's national output, up from 1% in 1978. Its stock market in Shanghai (SSE) is raising record amounts of IPOs and its benchmark Shanghai Composite index has doubled since 2005. SSE's market capitalization reached US$3 trillion in 2007 and is the world's fifth largest exchange.
China now ranks 29th in the Global Competitiveness Index and ranked 135th among the 179 countries measured in the Index of Economic Freedom. 46 Chinese companies made the list in the 2010 Fortune Global 500 (Beijing alone with 30).  Measured using market capitalization, four of the world's top ten most valuable companies are Chinese. Some of these include first-ranked Petro China (world's most valuable oil company), third-ranked Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (world's most valuable bank), fifth-ranked China Mobile (world's most valuable telecommunications company) and seventh-ranked China Construction Bank.
Although a middle income country by the world's standard, the PRC's rapid growth managed to pull hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty since 1978. Today, about 10% of the Chinese population (down from 64% in 1978) live below the poverty line of US$1 per day (PPP) while life expectancy has dramatically increased to 73 years. More than 93% of the population is literate, compared to 20% in 1950. Urban unemployment declined to 4 percent in China by the end of 2007 (true overall unemployment might be higher at around 10%).
Its middle class population (defined as those with annual income of at least US$17,000) has now reached more than 100 million, while the number of super-rich individuals worth more than 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) is estimated to be 825,000 according to Hurun Report. China's retail market is worth RMB 8.9 trillion (US$1.302 trillion) in 2007 and growing at 16.8% annually. It is also now the world's second biggest consumer of luxury goods behind Japan with 27.5% of the global share.
The economy is also highly energy-intensive and inefficient – it uses 20%–100% more energy than OECD countries for many industrial processes. It has now become the world's largest energy consumer but relies on coal to supply about 70% of its energy needs. Coupled with a lax environmental regulation, this has led to a massive water and air pollution (China has 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities). Consequently, the government has promised to use more renewable energy with a target of 10% of total energy use by 2010 and 30% by 2050. In 2010, China became the largest wind energy provider worldwide, with the installed wind power capacity reaching 41.8 GW.  On January 1, 2011, Russia said it had begun scheduled oil shipments to China, with the plan to increase the rate up to 300,000 barrels per day in 2011.




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