IHS Global Insight, a US-based economics consultancy, forecasts that China will pass the United States in 2011 as the largest manufacturing nation. Before the global economic slump it was expected that China would pass the USA in 2009.
In 2009, according to IHS, goods output by the US totalled $1,717bn, ahead of China at $1,608bn. However in 2011, on the basis of IHS’s estimates, China’s factory output will come to $1,870bn, a fraction ahead of the projected US figure for the year.
If China does become the world’s biggest manufacturer, it will be a return to the top slot for a nation which – according to economic historians – was the world’s leading country for goods production for more than 1,500 years up until the 1850s, when Britain took over for a brief spell, mainly due to the impetus of the industrial revolution.