China has surpassed the United States in terms of GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP) becoming the largest in the world by this measure, International Monetary Fund estimates show.

In 2014 China reached US$ 17.6 trillion or 16.48 percent of the world's purchasing power-adjusted GDP, while the U.S. made slightly less, 16.28 percent or US$ 17.4 trillion. In 2015 the gap between China and the U.S. will increase to almost a trillion U.S.$: Chinese GDP will amount to US$ 19.23 trillion against US$ 18.286 trillion in the U.S. However in terms of real GDP, the United States remains the undisputed world leader with US$ 16.8 trillion, significantly outpacing China with US$ 10.4 trillion.

Before China can become a legitimate superpower, it must meet its internal and external challenges and make some fundamental political changes. China's nine percent economic growth rate since 1990 has enabled it to expand its sphere of influence and gain ground not only in Asia but also in Africa and South America. This influence will probably continue to grow in the future. In Central Asia, China has invested billions of dollars in oil and natural gas companies to secure its long-term energy demands. China is making large investments in South America as well. In addition, China is the preferred partner of many governments in Africa and is becoming the largest trading partner of Brazil and South Africa, both rising economic giants.

Nevertheless, all these investments and China's attempt to spread its soft power do not guarantee that China is becoming the next world power, for it has major internal issues to deal with. It msut deal with an aging population and gender imablance produced by its one-child policy. It must deal with its water shortage problem and with pollution. These are not the only problems facing China. It must also find a way to produce millions more jobs in order to continue its economic growth. It must overcome internal ethnic issues, economic disparity, virile nationalism, and it must be able to absorb six million people moving into the cities every year.

Beside fighting separatist groups in Xinxiang, a problem China will face for years, it also has Taiwan to worry about. This issue remains China's top foreign policy priority. China can become a superpower when it is no longer focused on domestic issues. In brieff, China cannot rule the world until it consolidates its territory. In order for China to gain hegemonic status on the world stage, it must also become an innovative society, a society that nurtures political and economic institutions. It has had tremendous economic growth, but that has not launched it on a trajectory of scientific revolution that led to the rise and ascendancy of the West. Nor does it have innovative and creative companies that could parallel Apple, Google, Twitter or Facebook. Given these challenges, China has a long and complicated road ahead before it can claim the status of a superpower.


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