IE Focus | By Rafael Pampillón, Professor at IE Business School
One of the major landmarks of the 20th century has been China’s spectacular awakening, but the country now faces a series of challenges that will require deep change to maintain rates of growth.The economic boom in China is one of the most important events of the 21st century. The boom has come on the back of China’s great demographic potential (with a population of 1,350 million), its high internal rate of saving and the way it has opened up to the rest of the world, turning it into the biggest exporter on the planet.
Since 1978 the economy has been gradually freed up and prices have been progressively deregulated. There has been encouragement for foreign investments and the private ownership of businesses has been made legal. In 2001, foreign trade was deregulated when it joined the World Trade Organisation. Since then, China´s trade relations with the rest of the world have grown spectacularly.
As pointed out in a recent article by Enrique Fanjul, former trade director of the Spanish Embassy in Peking, China´s economy still has an unquestionably high level of state intervention and state businesses continue to play a key role. However, it cannot be considered as a socialist economy: most of the production takes place under private-sector conditions and products are marketed at free prices. There is a tendency towards a growing importance of private players in the economic system