In the next 20 years it is expected to become the second-biggest economy in the world and also the second biggest market for the accountancy profession.
It is expected to overtake the U.S. in both respects in approximately 20 years – though some economists think this will be far sooner. The next five years is seen as a critical period in China's development. In addition, the 2008 Olympics and the 2010 Expo present a huge opportunity for China to showcase to the world its development gains of the past two decades. Timing is everything – there will never be an opportunity as good as now to witness such expansion as it unfolds.
Overall growth has averaged 7 percent to 8 percent for over a decade, with some markets expanding much more rapidly:
- In 2003, private car sales jumped 82 percent year on year, yet China's automotive industry is still in its early stages.
- China is the world's largest telecommunications market with 280 million mobile subscribers growing at four million a month, and 270 million wired subscribers, growing at two million a month.
- Chinese household appliance manufacturers are experiencing growth of over 35 percent per year.
- Internet penetration is still in early growth stages, yet with nearly 80 million internet users, China is behind only the U.S. and Japan, and the number of users is growing at about 5 percent a month.
- Government is encouraging listing of Chinese Companies in the form of A shares on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets or H shares on the Hong Kong stock market.
- Many Chinese companies have also listed in New York, London, Tokyo and Singapore.
- Centrally owned enterprises are being encouraged to privatize subsidiaries.
- Mid markets are continuing to develop through private equity funding.
Some economists predict that China will become the world’s wealthiest nation by the year 2012. China is home to one-fifth of the world’s population – more than 1.3 billion people.