SOMETIME THIS week, China’s economy would have become larger than Germany’s. By year-end, it would have officially replaced Europe’s economic powerhouse as the third largest economy in the world, behind the US and Japan. And India is not too far behind.
Together, the four BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) will overtake the world’s current rich countries – the US, UK, Canada, France, Japan and Italy – much before investment bank Goldman Sachs projected watershed year of 2050.
Things are looking even better for India. China is likely to start slowing down by 2020, as its working population ages. India, with a younger population, will speed up.
Goldman Sachs says by 2050, India’s Gross Domestic Product – the indicator of the size of the economy – will match that of the US. By that time, China will be a $70 trillion economy – a staggering 84 per cent bigger than the US.
The benefits of growth are already showing. In 1981, more than half of India’s population earned less than $1 a day. The figure came down to 34.3 per cent in 2004. During this period, China had cut its number of poor from 63.8 per cent of the population to under 10 per cent.
The Asian century has begun.