Could China be the next Superpower?

Depends on how you define Superpower.

Could China be the next Superpower?

When it comes to China, I often think people see the enormous growth and this biases their perception of the country. The growth of Chinese economics and political strength are the two factors with the most impact on the politics of the developing world. Although China is the second largest economy in the world it is still considered a developing country. This is due largely because of China’s refusal to allow a free market initiative. This would mean releasing the Yen from the dollar and this would create a market where competition could grow. By maintaining such as low value on its currency other developing nations cannot compete with China. This creates tensions amongst many of these nations as other developing countries see China as a threat.

Beijing initiated economic programs in 1979 which pulled more people from the grip of poverty than all aid programs in the world (Voigt, 2010). To understand the rapid development of the Chinese one merely needs to view the statistics.

In 1981, about 85 percent of Chinese were living on less that $1 a day; by 2005, only 15.9 percent of the population was living in extreme poverty. During that time 600 million people — or 10 percent of the population of the planet — escaped poverty in China. This year, [2010] China eclipses Japan as the world’s second largest economy (Voigt, 2010).

The economic disparity between the United States, European Union and the developing world has been closing at a faster rate than in the years before 1990. Largely this is due to globalization via the internet, outsourcing, and free trade. In China’s case the country capitalized on manufacturing and allowing American businesses to operate facilities within its borders. While this form of American outsourcing has increased jobs in China and increased the profitability of these corporations, the model for this type of economic strategy is questionable.

In order for China to make the cost of setup and maintain profitability for the companies entering China, the Chinese government had to pin its economy to the American dollar. By virtue of this act the Chinese purposely undervalue their currency in order to maintain the low wages and job growth. Superficially, this tactic seems to have worked in that it has raised the standard of living in China and created a middle class (Voigt, 2010). This strategy has not been adopted in most of the countries considered developing because there is a flaw in the concept which cannot be overlooked. Essentially, by pegging the Chinese dollar to the American dollar the Chinese have created a market that is unsustainable in the long-term because it does not allow for individual growth and prosperity among the masses of citizens. By maintaining a low Yen value the Chinese are not allowing for market factors such as competition and market freedom to increase. The result has been an increase in jobs but only a small increase in quality of life for some Chinese.

Depending on how one defines “Superpower” would determine if China can be in that category. Historically, what has made the United States a superpower is the free market system which is adaptable to many different conditions (Teune, 2002). China, by limiting is market and currency values creates a situation that is similar to cold war era Russia in which the country was able to briefly rise to a superpower state but then fell into economic turmoil. In my opinion, in order to become a successful superpower a country needs to have a social system which has a high degree of freedom in order to create a strong free market system. China will need to radically alter its politics and market system in order to continue its growth and become a superpower.


Kevin Voigt (2010) Business 360Is China a developing country?,

Teune, H. (2002). Globalizations and Democratizations: Forces and Counterforces

Political Science Department University of Pennsylvania Retrieved


Vincent Triola. Mon, Feb 01, 2021. Could China be the next Superpower? Retrieved from

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