China is the second wealthiest country in the world based on GDP and PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), after the United States. It is also projected for China to be able to surpass the current status of the US in a little more than a decade. China, today, is the wealthiest and the most powerful country in the whole of Asia.
China has had a very prominent role in Asia for centuries. It was the trading partner of many countries, including Europe and Africa, and established an advanced civilization ahead of any civilization in the Western Hemisphere. However, in the 19th century, the Chinese empire started a pattern of decline brought about by the Mongol invasion and followed by other foreign occupation, particularly that by Japan in the early 1900s which caused millions of Chinese deaths.
Although initially led by democratic leader Sun Yat-sen, the communists, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, took over and drove the pro-capitalists to the island of Taiwan to establish their own government. The initial years of communist rule proved to be devastating to the economy and the people itself. Millions suffered and died during the Cultural Revolution in an attempt to bolster economic productivity by forcing people to work. However, the chairmen that followed Mao implemented a more market-friendly economy and this led to the unprecedented growth of China.
Now, although the growth of the country has slowed down, it is still on the right track to overtake the economic, and military, supremacy of the US in the coming decades.
Population. Ranked 1st in 2013.
GDP per capita. Ranked 82nd in 2012.
9.33 million sq km
Sq. km. Ranked 2nd in 2008.