SINGAPORE (April 22): As China’s economic growth slows to 6% this year, it is worth noting that the size of its economy, at US$13.6 trillion ($18.4 trillion), is second only to the US, although GDP per capita, at around US$10,000, is still far behind.
In 1997, when a young science professor, Guo Hong Xin, decided to venture out on his own, China’s GDP was US$961 billion and GDP per capita US$781.70. Following the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, the Middle Kingdom was well on its way to becoming an economic powerhouse. In 2014, China’s economy actually overtook the US’ in terms of size on a purchasing power parity basis. China’s economy is expected to overtake that of the US’ on a nominal basis by 2026.
In 1997, as Guo huddled in his research laboratory, he was approached by companies looking to build insulation pipes, which, at the time, were produced in the West. Guo requested for permission from his university to establish a company so that it could build and supply these pipes.