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From emerging markets to superpowers

By most economic and development measures, China would seem to have taken a firm lead over India in the great race between these two Asian contenders to become regional and global economic superpowers. Yet India, despite its slower economic growth, its poorer yet faster-increasing population and its confused politics, now has thriving new-economy sectors.

The western chief executive of one of the large foreign banks in Hong Kong, having previously run one of the Hong Kong trading houses in Bombay, says that for the last 10 years people have been trying to answer the question as to whether India or China is ahead economically. "In India in the mid-1990s, whenever China was perceived to be getting ahead there were endless lunches and sessions debating this. The net result was that nobody could agree which economy was doing better.The debates usually ended in a 15-15 draw."


His very much non-attributable view is that China leads for two reasons: lack of democracy and successful control of population growth.

China has enjoyed many years of stronger economic growth, averaging almost 10% a year since market-oriented reforms began in 1978. India has grown at an average of 6% since 1992 when the country embarked on economic reform after a 1991 balance-of- payments crisis.

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