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China the World Leader: China as the strongest power by 2050, singular vision for economics politics and defense

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    Country Profile

  • 46 Pages
  • April 2019
  • Region: China, Global
  • MarketLine
  • ID: 4774425
China the World Leader: China as the strongest power by 2050, singular vision for economics politics and defense


China’s actions around the world in 2019 are so significant that China is close to becoming the most influential country worldwide. China’s actions can be viewed as a hand in a global card game, cards being played one by one across multiple economic, political and military areas of competition with a single unified purpose in mind, to ultimately win the game.

Chinese leaders have made no bones about their plans to make China the “most important nation” on the planet by 2050 and various tactics are being deployed across multiple industries in order to achieve this aim. However, there is much commentary on Chinese expansion and general concern from western analysts as they wrongly presume that China is hell bent on military or economic domination.

The truth is much more evasive as China is looking for a competitive edge and has shown no signs of outright aggression in the vast majority of global conflicts. Chinese strategic efforts around the globe are far from perfect and many have ended up counterproductive and regressive for the Chinese state. That being said, China is an ambitious competitor and its willingness to invest heavily around the world is to make the country an increasingly important global player.

Key Highlights
  • A Chinese company buying a leading foreign company has become an increasingly common story published in the international business press, especially for titles based in Europe. Though the specific reasons for why Chinese companies are so keen to buy foreign companies vary, a common thread is the importance of gaining access to foreign markets and thus exerting influence to suit Chinese interests. Dystopian analysis, however, is wide of the mark. Chinese companies are building international portfolios as a means of wielding a greater influence on global business affairs rather than for world domination. Yet now those plans are running into trouble and the Chinese expansion is coming under strain.

  • In technology and defense, China needs to collect intellectual property and learn how to build advanced weapons or the best mobile phones so that it can become the key global manufacturer selling to the world and retaining the best for itself. Politically the country needs allies and diplomatic favor so it funds huge infrastructure projects all over the world, which has the additional benefit of providing assets and income in years to come. China has ambitions to control what it sees as its territory in the South China Sea and it has to become a significant naval power in order to do so, this has the side benefit of allowing China more clout on the international stage further enhancing its status. Not all of China’s ploys are successful however and many are becoming counterproductive, but at the current rate of progress it is hard to see China not at least drawing parallel with the US by 2050 if not ahead in global power terms.

  • Chinese technology companies are now a global force having successfully become market leaders not only domestically but also popular across many advanced economies. Major problems exist, however. Big Chinese technology companies are vulnerable to trade disruptions; loss of intellectual property within China, destroying unique selling points and commercial value, is another. Undoubtedly technological innovation has been rapid, driving global expansion, but that is now under pressure. The business environment for the likes of Huawei is becoming much tougher amid US diplomatic efforts directed towards stemming the international business of that company.

  • Look at China's influence on the global stage and how it is developing

  • See what industries China is focusing on and why

  • Learn about what goals China has in mind and why

  • See the problems that China will encounter over the coming decade

Reasons to buy
  • Why is China building up its defense industry?

  • What are China's long term goals?

  • What obstacles will China face in future?

  • How strong is its economic outlook?

  • Can China become the "most important" country within twenty years?

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary

  • Chinese firms buying assets overseas in bid for greater global commercial influence

  • Chinese overseas infrastructure investments expand global influence

  • Chinese defense industry and military goals tie in with the country’s broader ambitions

  • China tech firms are innovating rapidly but face big problems on international stage

  • Chinese firms buying assets overseas in bid for greater global commercial influence

  • Chinese expansion into Portugal signals wider intentions on exerting influence around the world

  • Expect minority shareholdings as China scouts out future options

  • Activity in Germany is indicative of wider Chinese global ambitions and problems

  • European governments are now acting to stem influence of China on critical economic sectors

  • China will continue to seek big-budget takeovers of European companies

  • Chinese overseas infrastructure investments expands global influence

  • Belt and Road Initiative is propelling Chinese power around the world

  • Purchasing of European ports represents big extension of Chinese influence

  • Infrastructure Investment into Africa translates into rising Chinese influence, overtaking the United States

  • Chinese companies and government stand to gain heavily from current arrangements in Africa

  • Exporting of Chinese power generation infrastructure helps to expand global influence

  • Chinese defense industry and military goals tie in with the country’s broader ambitions

  • China has significant long-term goals for the PLA

  • In many ways China’s future plans for the PLA are cautious considering what impressive progress has already been made

  • China already has a top tier military when taking into account budget, financial health and manpower

  • By 2030 only the US will have similar or better capabilities than China

  • China wants significant military power to feed into its wider political and economic goals

  • Chinese defense firms are now unofficially in the global top ten

  • The majority of Chinese arms stay in China, but growing amounts exported within Asia and Africa

  • Building the hardware is less of a challenge for China, but training troops for it is

  • China is gathering military knowledge, as it is in other industries

  • China buys military equipment from Russia, but Russia has been displeased with China’s apparent copying

  • Copying foreign designs by any means necessary is not sensible for multiple reasons

  • China has still not developed its own military doctrine and appropriate equipment

  • “Freedom of Navigation” operations are evidence of a significant push back on China’s defense policies

  • China Djibouti base is an attempt to replicate western idea of military power

  • China tech firms are innovating rapidly but face big problems on international stage

  • Silicon Valley is increasingly copying China, evidencing innovation of new Chinese players

  • Chinese technology is going global, and the pace of expansion is likely to speed up

  • Intellectual property problems have harmed Chinese global expansion

  • Chinese technology companies face major threats in US trade war

  • Key Findings

  • Appendix

  • Sources

  • Further Reading

  • Ask the analyst

  • About the Author

  • Disclaimer

List Of Tables
Table 1: Nuclear power plants under construction in China due for completion between 2018 and 2020
Table 2: Origination of global counterfeit goods by country, 2013

List of Figures
Figure 1: Chinese strategies to achieve status of most important nation by 2050
Figure 2: Net profit (EURm) Energias de Portugal 2011-2017
Figure 3: Moray Firth development area
Figure 4: Value ($bn) of Chinese investment by sector in Europe 2008 to 2018
Figure 5: German exports to China ($bn) 2008 to 2017
Figure 6: Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman
Figure 7: Belt and Road Initiative Map
Figure 8: Chinese global export value 2008 to 2017 ($tn)
Figure 9: COSCO Shipping Ports Ltd revenue ($m) 2012 to 2017
Figure 10: Scale of Chinese money flowing into Africa
Figure 11: Chinese export value to Africa 2008 to 2017 ($bn)
Figure 12: President Xi’s 2017 goals for the PLA’s future improvement pathway 2020-2050
Figure 13: Personnel numbers in five main military branches of the PLA 2018
Figure 14: Global Firepower’s 2018 rankings of military strength
Figure 15: Top five global military budgets 2018 $bn
Figure 16: Significant Chinese naval hardware in 2019 and 2030 estimated
Figure 17: Chinese defense exports to Asia by country 2017
Figure 18: Top 15 global defense firms, defense revenues, with Chinese firms’ revenues estimated $bn 2017
Figure 19: Chinese imports of Russian aircraft and engines 1987-2016
Figure 20: Timeline of significant Chinese PLA engagements 1950-2019
Figure 21: Comparison of China, UK and US new generation aircraft carriers 2019
Figure 22: Significant cyber incidents, attacks on governments, defense and high-tech companies 2006-2019
Figure 23: Timeline of the Huawei scandal 2012-2019
Figure 24: Russia’s SU-33 (left) and China’s J-15 (right) comparison
Figure 25: Tencent revenues (RMBbn) 2009 to 2017
Figure 26: Number of Chinese smartphones (million) in circulation 2012 to 2017
Figure 27: Top 20 Leading tech companies by value December 2018 (Chinese companies highlighted in red)
Figure 28: Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company (JHICC)