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Chinese Economic Growth

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted September 26, 2013

For years now, you’ve been hearing stories and reading headlines conditioning you to fear anything closely related to our biggest economic competitors, the Chinese.

Whether it’s their aggressive economic expansion… their highly publicized strides in military technology… or their advancements in space exploration…

The Chinese, or, simply China, has come to be a two-syllable argument the news media uses to sell advertising — or our politicians use to push through their initiatives.

What the talking heads often neglect to do, however, is to give you numbers that you can use to readily come to your own conclusions as to where global economics’ center of gravity is going to settle in the coming decades.

Well, today I’m going to do just that.

I’m going to cite the one number that means everything to modern industry-dominated nations like the United States, Russia, members of the EU, and China’s own neighbors in the Far East.

Better than GDP

Now, you may well already be aware of China’s GDP growth versus our own over the past decade or so.

And you’ve probably seen projections as to when they’ll match us.

china gdp by 2025But the number that is rarely brought up — and is more predictive of future trends than GDP — is the percentage of population living in urban areas.

This is more than it seems, because “urban areas” include suburbs, satellite towns, or any other area generally considered to be on a centrally-run grid, both electrical and sewer.

For the United States, that figure stands at 82% as of 2012.

Our neighbors to the north and south are at 81% and 78%, respectively.

Across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom is at 80%; Germany lags slightly at 73%; and France is ahead at 85%; the Russians, many of whose grandparents Stalin forced out of rural living by force, are at 74%.

And to the east: 83% of South Koreans live in or around cities; and the Japanese are way out in front with 91%.

At 50.2%, the Chinese are way behind.

It should be noted that this is a vast improvement over their 1990 score — a dismal 26% — but still not anywhere near their most direct economic competitors. Only half of China’s 1.344 billion citizens live in cities.

However, this is rapidly changing…

City Livin’

Each year, 2.85% of Chinese — about 39 million people — move from their rural hometowns and villages to the burgeoning cities. This rate is not far from the highest in the industrialized world (1.2% in the U.S.).

That means that every year, China needs to build the equivalent of 2.5 New York Cities’ worth of housing and infrastructure just to support the ongoing influx.

So it’s no mystery why construction is taking off in China like nobody’s ever seen before. They have no choice. They have to do it, otherwise their glowing mega-metropolises like Guangzhou and Shanghai will become choked with swelling populations, placing a burden on both citizens and commerce alike.

For the Chinese to reach an urban dweller percentage of 70%, modest by the standards of industrialized powers, more than a quarter billion people will have to leave home and come to work in their modern population centers.

Close to the entire population of the United States… almost twice the population of Russia… and they have to do this just to catch up.

Which means regardless of how much the talking heads have been trying to scare you about China, they may have left out the most basic fact of all: that whatever is happening to shift the economic balance away from the U.S., it’s only beginning — and still has a long way to go.

Want More Raw Numbers?

The magnitude of the urban expansion China’s advancing society will require will include up to 50,000 new skyscrapers to be constructed… 170 new centralized mass transit systems across the country… millions of miles of new roads…

It will be nothing short of building a brand-new modern country, just to facilitate the urban migration.

Whatever you do, don’t regard this situation with fear or concern.

Instead, view it as an opportunity. After all, it’s not often in our lives that we are handed such a large, predictable trend in global economics.

Think back and try to recall how many times you’ve been able to step back and agree on an intuitive level that yes, something is happening, and it will continue to happen… probably not that often.

For the Chinese to achieve their own industrial manifest destiny and modernize their massive population, there’s a lot of work to be done — and a lot of investment capital to be secured.

My friend and colleague, Christian DeHaemer, has been studying China’s breakneck urbanization campaign for months…

He’s been searching for one thing: how to best turn this massive societal transformation into profits.

Next week, he’ll be releasing his report. Stay tuned.

Yours in wealth,

Brian Hicks Signature

Brian Hicks

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Brian is a founding member and President of Angel Publishing. He writes about general investment strategies for Wealth Daily and Energy & Capital. For more on Brian, take a look at his editor’s page.