China has experienced unparalleled economic growth within the last two decades. This growth has undoubtedly earned China the position of a major economic power in Asia. China ranks slightly behind Japan in economic power and marginally behind the United States in purchasing power. In world rankings, China is the sixth largest merchandising nation in the world, the twelfth largest exporter of commercial services, and the largest beneficiary of foreign direct investments. China's ascendancy has been furthered by its entry into the World Trade Organization in late 2001. Although there is some argument that the actual growth of China's economic status is not as high as the Chinese government presents, however there is little doubt that China has officially entered the global stage as a major economic player.
Many experts are so impressed by the exponential growth of China's economy in recent years that they have referred to the nation as "the worlds manufacturing center". Surely, as China has become a major exporter of world goods, this description, although exaggerated, is largely descriptive of China's position in the world economy. However, this growth has been questioned by some experts and has worried other Asian nations. China's growth within the Asian market itself has increased steadily in the last two decades; a phenomenon largely unequaled by any other nation in the world.
With other nations within Asia, as well as with nations outside of the geographic area, China's exports have far exceeded their imports. This growth has excited the investment sector and resulted in the inflow of global capital into the nation's economy. Although China's exports are still a relatively small portion of the Southeast Asian totals, most experts insist that China will be the areas largest exporter of goods within the decade. Experts have also noted a steady trade surplus with western nations such as the United States and the European Union that are likely to sustain and encourage China's economic growth.
Part of this economic growth has been fueled by China's attraction as a tourist destination. The past two decades has seen a rise in the influx of tourists as well as the increase in both inbound and outbound business travel. Just like the rise in China's economic growth, its tourism market has also experienced significant increases. Currently, China has the world's fastest growing tourism market with over two million visitors each year in recent years. And as the nation continues to grow in a business sense, more and more individuals will be traveling into and out of the nation. There has been some concern that China's growth as an exporter of consumer goods may render other exporters somewhat impotent in the global consumer goods market.
However, some experts argue that this will not occur because the increasing globalization of the world consumer goods market is likely to render other nations equally competitive in the production and exportation of such goods as communication technologies and electronics and that the production chain that exists throughout nations, especially in the case of Southeast Asia, will only be enhanced by the growth of such nations as China and their ascendancy as a world economic player. However, experts also predict that, especially in the areas of clothing and textiles, China's growth may result in increased competition in the Southeast Asian market that may render competing markets unable to keep up. Although this will surely keep market prices low, it will also give China a distinct advantage over its Southeast Asian neighbors and have an undesired effect on the wages and profit margins of industries in those other nations.