China’s statistics agency acknowledged that as early as 2017 the nation’s economy was larger than that of the United States when measured by purchasing power, but it has insisted it remains a “developing country” as per capita output is still only 85 per cent of the average global level.
The World Bank released its new purchasing power parities (PPPs) report for 2017 this week, which showed that China’s PPP-based gross domestic product (GDP) stood at US$19.617 trillion in 2017, while the United States’ GDP was US$19.519 trillion.
The calculation of GDP by purchasing power, using the price of a common basket of goods and services, instead of using the US dollar, provides a more accurate basis to compare economic development levels. If measured by the US dollar, China’s GDP was about US$12 trillion in 2017 and US$14 trillion in 2019, which was still below the US.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said China’s number one ranking in PPP-based GDP does not change the fact it remains “the world’s largest developing country”.
Xu Xianchun, a former deputy head of the NBS, published an article on the agency’s website on Tuesday saying that the World Bank study had overestimated China’s economic might. (Read more from “China Overtakes U.S. as No 1 in Buying Power, but Still Clings to Developing Status” HERE)