Imports$1.743 trillion (2011 est.)
Exports$1.904 trillion (2011 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)5.5% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate6.5% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$8,500 (2011 est.)
National product real growth rate10.3% (2010 est.)
Internet users389 million (2009)
Telephones - mobile cellular859 million (2009)
Population growth rate0.481% (2012 est.)
Population1,343,239,923 (July 2012 est.)
For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation.
After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people.
After 1978, MAO's successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled....
Since the late 1970s China has moved from a closed, centrally planned economic system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major role in the global economy - in 2010 China became the world's largest exporter.
Reforms began with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, creation of a diversified banking system, development of stock markets, rapid growth of the private sector, and opening to foreign trade and investment.
China generally has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion....
The Economist Intelligence Unit
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