State in east Asia

China has influenced the course of international development for thousands of years. With more than 1.35 billion people, China accounts for roughly 20 percent of the total world population. After decades of rapid economic growth, China overtook Japan to become the world's second largest economy in 2010.

China's international expansion, growing domestic market, raw material requirements, role as the world's factory, and related environmental issues have far-reaching implications for people and development around the world.

China stands at the head of the economic class of the original BRIC countries, which also include Brazil, Russia and India. After sustaining decades of annual GDP growth exceeding 10 percent, China overtook Japan in 2010 to become the world's second largest economy behind the U.S.

China's rapid economic growth and development is accompanied by the dramatic rise and growth of so-called mega-cities. People across China and other developing countries flock to cities in search of greater opportunity and higher living standards. The fruits of their labors and the economic advantages of cities' financial, human and social capital help fuel development and urbanization.

China's history is the world's history in many respects. With nearly 4,000 years of continuous history and culture, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations. China has been the world's greatest power for all but several hundred of the last two thousand years. Ancient China is credited with four of the world's great inventions: paper, printing, gunpowder and the compass.


January 28, 2020

The Gates Foundation spends $10 million to fight the coronavirus outbreak in China and Africa.

December 27, 2019

China successfully launches its largest carrier rocket, The Long March-5 rocket, from Wenchang space launch center in south China's Hainan Province.

September 23, 2019

China's top climate officials Brown and Xie Zhenhua announces a new university partnership focussing on climate research and policy.

July 31, 2019

Beijing-based startup iSpace plans to launch up to eight commercial rocket next year, after becoming China's first privately funded firm to put a satellite into orbit.

July 25, 2019

National Geographic announces New Natural History Special 'The Hidden Kingdoms of China'

Nat Geo and Nat Geo WILD announced today the new two-hour wildlife special The Hidden Kingdoms of China, which premieres this winter in 172 countries and 43 languages.

July 10, 2019

Mission Bio launches in China and announces distribution partnership with Novogene.

Mission Bio, the pioneer in targeted single-cell DNA analysis and precision genomics, today announced that it has launched sales in China through a distribution agreement with Novogene, a leading provider of genomic services and solutions globally.

May 6, 2019

China's central bank announces it will cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for small- and medium-sized banks, freeing up around RMB 280 billion (around $41.4 billion) for loans to the country's startup companies and private businesses.

December 30, 2018

China launches The Chang'e-4 from Xichang.

December 27, 2018

China reaches far side of the moon, landing a vehicle at 10:26 a.m. Beijing time at its target for the first time in history.

November 2018

Authorities present artist Ai Weiwei with $2.3m tax demand, which is paid by donations from his supporters.


China's online home improvement market reaches RMB 418.54 billion, a 34.9% year-on-year increase.

September 15, 2016

China launches Tiangong-2 on September 15, 2016, after Tiangong-1, its first manned space lab.


People's Bank of China announces it would continue to push for full convertibility of the renminbi, after the currency was accepted as part of the IMF's special drawing rights basket.


China formally overtakes Japan to become the world's second-largest economy after Tokyo published figures showing a Japanese GDP rise of only four per cent in 2010.

June 2010

From mid-2005 to late 2008, the renminbi (RMB) appreciated more than 20% against the US dollar, but the exchange rate remained virtually pegged to the dollar from the onset of the global financial crisis until June 2010, when Beijing announced it would resume a gradual appreciation.

February 2009

Russia and China sign $25bn deal to supply China with oil for next 20 years in exchange for loans.

November 2008

The government announces a $586bn (£370bn) stimulus package to avoid the economy slowing.


China launches its first moon orbiter.


Amazon brings its way into China in 2004 with a takeover of, a popular online seller of books, for about $75 million.

June 2001

Leaders of China, Russia and four Central Asian states launch the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and sign an agreement to fight ethnic and religious militancy while promoting trade and investment.


Communist Party leadership announces plans to relax one-child policy, in force since 1979.



Further reading


Documentaries, videos and podcasts





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