China Overtakes Japan as World's Number 2 Economy

But on a per capita basis, the rising Asian giant is still playing catch-up

This article is from the archive of our partner .

China's economy surpassed Japan's in the second quarter, taking its place as the world's number two economy. Is this another milestone on the way to Chinese economic supremacy?

  • This Time It's Real "China has overtaken Japan in quarterly figures in the past," notes Hugh Collins at Daily Finance. "This time, it's unlikely to relinquish the lead." As an extra bit of trivia, he observes that Japan, for its part, "has held the position of world's second-largest economy since 1968, when it pulled ahead of West Germany."
  • May Even Be Understated, adds the Financial Times' Gwen Robinson: "China economists point out that Tokyo reports detailed and relatively accurate economic data, while Beijing's sketchier numbers potentially under-report its economy by as much as 20 per cent." China may actually have passed its neighbor a while ago. "To the Chinese," too, passing Japan "has been a given for some time."
  • Still Way Behind the U.S. Ernie Smith of Shortformblog lays all the numbers side by side. China's second-quarter value is $1.28 billion, Japan's is $1.22 billion ... and the U.S.'s is $14 billion--"way out in front," he adds, for emphasis.
  • Still Way Behind Japan on Some Measures "Let's just put some of today's headlines ... in perspective," writes Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal.

In the quarter, Japan had economic output of $1.28 trillion, or $10,085 per capital, based on a population of 127 million.

China? It had economic output of $1.337 trillion for the quarter, but a population of about $1.3 billion, so per-capita output of... $1000, about a 1/10th as big.

Let us know when China passes Albania.

  • Contextualizing Razib Khan at Discover adds his voice to the mix, presenting a number of charts showing how far behind the U.S. China remains, and showing how, in terms of GNI per capita and Internet users, China is actually fourth--falling behind both Japan and Brazil, as well as the U.S.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.