A report on “national competitiveness” recently released by the official Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), China’s leading think-tank features a detailed comparison of China’s and India’s respective social and economic advantages. The report ranked China 17th overall in terms of national competitiveness in 2008, up 56 places since 1990. India was ranked at 42, one spot below Bulgaria and ahead of Kazakhstan. CASS’s Blue Book of National Competitiveness said a country’s national competitiveness comprised its economic volume, efficiency and structure as well as development potential and innovation ability. It listed the top 10 in national competitiveness as the US, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France.
“China’s overall national competitiveness is slightly stronger than India, but India is ahead of China in some areas,” said Ni Pengfei, the editor of the report. The report pointed to the rule of law, protection of vulnerable groups and the preservation of traditional culture as areas where China ranked lower than India.
Chronicling China’s steep ascent over India’s, since the past decade, it said before the year 2000, the two countries were “at a similar level,” but in the last decade China made “quick adjustments” that had resulted in a widening gap in competitiveness, since 2004.
However the report notes that India had “obvious advantages” in industrial structure, pointing to a services sector which accounted for 52.94 percent of economic growth, compared with China’s 41.89 percent. It forecast “a more intense level of competition” for resources between “the world’s two fastest growing countries.”
“China’s comprehensive competitiveness has seen a leapfrog promotion over the past two decades, and it has huge potential and strong capability to catch up with and surpass developed nations in the future,” said Mr. Ni. According to the report, China will become the world’s second most powerful nation after the United States by 2050, and overtake the U.S. to become the largest economy in 2030.
China, however, lagged behind the U.S. and Europe when it came to higher education, technological talent and cultural appeal. The report particularly stressed that China needed to do more to boost its soft power, amid increasingly negative perceptions of China’s rise both in the West and among its neighbors.