China wants to lead the global recovery from the pandemic and become more influential on the world stage than ever before. It might just have the momentum — and the confidence — to pull that plan off.
The world's second largest economy shrugged off much of the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic last year, and its ability to keep growing while the world crashed into recession could mean its GDP exceeds that of the United States later this decade, years earlier than expected.
"China emerged from the Covid-19 shock earlier than the rest of the world and authorities are already planning for the long term," wrote Françoise Huang, senior economist for Asia-Pacific at Euler Hermes, in a report last week titled, "The world is moving East, fast."
China just outpaced the United States in attracting foreign direct investment for the first time. And as 2020 was drawing to a close, it signed a trade agreement with the European Union with the aim of boosting growth and giving European companies greater access to its 1.4 billion consumers. Now, Beijing is starting the new year without one of its most aggressive political adversaries, former US President Donald Trump, breathing down its neck.