A decade ago, economists used to quip that “when America sneezes, the world catches a cold”. Now that cliche seems more applicable to China, as the country currently accounts for 18 per cent of global economic output (purchasing power parity basis), 28 per cent of world manufacturing production, 13 per cent of global exports and 11 per cent of world imports.
It is also the world’s second largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, and its third largest FDI exporter. China is not only the largest trading partner with 125 countries, but it also holds a central place in the network of global supply chains. Last but not least, Chinese outbound tourists, at 150 million yearly, are the world’s biggest travelling tribe – who collectively spend US$279 billion (S$388 billion) annually.