The People’s Republic of China was established on 1 October 1949 and is now home to 1.4 billion people or 1 in every 5 people on earth. Or to put it another way, if you live in China and ‘you’re one in a million’ there are 1,400 people exactly the same as you!
The Chinese economy is the second largest in the world, ranked by GDP, and is worth $11.2 trillion dollars according to CNN Money:
China’s economic growth through 2015 has been weaker than previous years, but still extremely strong on a global level. Growth through the first half of the year was just over 7% and the slowest half in more than 20 years, but still impressive none the less. China is looking to its digital economy to continue this impressive growth and more specifically, international or cross border ecommerce. There are now more than 200,000 Chinese organisations operating international ecommerce businesses through 5,000 online shopping platforms, a trade which is expected to contribute over US$1 trillion per annum to the economy by the end of next year.
In addition to this growth in ecommerce, China is now the leading trading nation in the world, with 123 counties listing China as their leading trading partner including both Australia and New Zealand.
From a media perspective, the market is State run and has been since 1949. The media scene is dominated but traditional forms of media and whilst the internet has been widely available since 2000, the Great Firewall of China limits access to many global sites which has in many ways contributed to an exceptionally strong local market for both social media and ecommerce.
The PRC’s media has always been State controlled and though it has been through cycles of flexibility, the current concerns with regards wide access to the internet has seen a further tightening of freedoms. In the most recent annual Press Freedom Index prepared each year by Reporters Without Borders, Chia raked second last with only North Korea scoring slightly worse with regards freedom of expression, reporting, independence and censorship.
So where to next for China? The economy of the PRC is certainly more open than it has been since 1949 but at the same time, is not experiencing the dizzying growth of recent years. Chinese stock exchanges are certainly trading lower and there does appear to be some uncertainly on a global level about the continued strength of the second largest economy in the world. That said, growth for the full year is still predicted to be 7.3% against 2.1% for the USA.
Title Image by Thomas Bächinger