Sinologist’s views unleash debate about the country’s place in the world and how far it will finally advance

Is China emerging as a potential global superpower or just a partial one? The leading American Sinologist David Shambaugh makes the case in his new book, China Goes Global: The Partial Power, that despite being the world’s second-largest economy, the country has along way to go before it begins to shape the world in its own image.

Even in the economic sphere, where China arguably had its most significant influence —accounting for 40 percent of global growth over the past two decades as well as being the largest exporter and holder of foreign exchange reserves — its global reach is overstated, according to Shambaugh.

The American academic argues that while the image is of Chinese companies taking over businesses throughout Europe and the United States, China has only the fifth largest overseas direct investment in the world, behind even the Netherlands and a fifth of the size of that of the United States.

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Leading Sinologist argues that China is only a partial superpower but many acknowledge that it has had the greatest impact on the continent

China has perhaps had more impact on Africa in the past decade than any other region in the world.

Trade alone has risen from $18.54 billion in 2003 to more than $200 billion today alongside the stock of overseas direct investment increasing eightfold from just $1.6 billion in 2005 to $13.04 billion at the end of 2010, according to the China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

But does this major economic interaction in Africa or elsewhere give China real influence and also make it a global role model?

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Proportion of people earning between $17,000 and $35,000 a year set to soar

Chinese consumption, largely driven by the middle class, will account for $6.2 trillion, just under a quarter of the $26 trillion of additional global consumption in the years up to 2025, according to McKinsey & Co.

This is more than the three next BRICS countries combined with India contributing an extra $2.5 trillion, Brazil $1.4 trillion and Russia $770 billion.

Karl Gerth, author of As China Goes, So Goes The World: How Chinese Consumers are Transforming Everything and lecturer in Modern Chinese History at Oxford University, said every company in the world now has to have a strategy for the Chinese middle class.

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China might have been the world’s manufacturing powerhouse for the past two decades but it could be in financial services where it is yet to have its most dramatic impact.

The country already has the world’s biggest bank – ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) by profit and market capitalization, and its four biggest banks are now among the top 10 biggest globally.

During the recent reporting season, China’s Big Four banks, which apart from ICBC, are Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China, revealed some 4.7 trillion yuan (580 billion euros, $758 billion) of overseas assets.

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Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World, said China is expected to face enormous challenges and the world will be more profoundly affected during the next phase ofthe country’s development.

“China is still little more than halfway through the process of modernization, and the country’s economy was too small to have much of an impact outside its own frontiers for most of the first phase,” he said at the 5th World Forum on China Studies in Shanghai.

In the next twenty years, China’s global impact will be more fundamental and extensive, and both the West and China need to be prepared for the changing scenario ahead.

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The 5th World Forum on China Studies, themed “China’s Modernization: Road and Prospect,” came to a close at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on the late afternoon of March 24.

Martin Jacques, visiting senior fellow at IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science, delivered his keynote speech at the ceremony, entitled “China’s Modernization and its Transformation of the World.” He is renowned for his influential book “When China Rules the World.” He clarified his viewpoint that China will undergo a profound transformation and complete its modernization drive over the next two decades.

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China is not only transforming itself but also the world in the process of modernization, which requires the Chinese to have cosmopolitan outlook to embrace global impacts, Martin Jacques said on Sunday.

Martin Jacques, the author of When China Rules the World, and visiting senior fellow at IDEAS of London School of Economics and Political Science, made the remarks during a joint media interview at the 5th World Forum on Chinese Studies.

Martin is confident that China will become the most influential and powerful country in the world, not just economically but politically and culturally, despite it will take a long way to go.

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CHINA’S profound engagement with the world will over time engender a “global mentality” in its citizens and make its peaceful rise more acceptable to a sometimes skeptical world, an acclaimed British author and scholar said yesterday.

Martin Jacques, author of the best-seller “When China Rules the World,” attended the Fifth World Forum on China Studies in Shanghai that ended yesterday.

The time since Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening up policy has been the most open period in Chinese history, said Jacques.

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Martin Jacques, author of the best-selling “When China Rules the World,” saidChina’s rise in becoming a global power may not tread the old and disputed paths of theUnited States and Britain.

In an interview during the 5th World Forum on China Studies that closed on Sunday, Jacquessaid as the world inquires about China’s path toward global power, he believes its style willdiffer from that of Britain and the United States.

“Historically, the expansion and influence of Britain and America were largely military andpolitical; in the case of China, it would be economic and cultural,” said Jacques, who is also acolumnist and visiting fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science.

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