China's rise
Paramilitary policemen stand in formation as they pay tribute to the Monument to the People's Heroes on Tiananmen Square in Beijing (Reuters)

Eight years is a tiny speck of time in the cosmic frame of things. But a tectonic shift in the world economic power balance can take shape in that short period if some of the latest projections are to be believed.

China will replace the United States as the world's dominant economic power much faster than earlier thought, according to claims in the Chinese media.

China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be bigger than that of the US as early as 2022, the China Daily reported, citing a report by Standard Chartered Bank that makes forecasts on countries' economic outlook.

According to the report, China's economy will sustain growth at over 7% annually for several years to come, before slowing down to an annual growth of about 5%. But it takes only about eight years of such a growth rate for the economy to overtake that of the US, which is predicted to grow at far more modest rates.

Driven by China's reform momentum, the economy will grow at a rate of 7% between 2013 and 2020, the report says. Thereafter, until 2030, it will grow at 5.3%.

The report also says the emerging economies, which account for 38% of the world's GDP, will become far more powerful with a 63% share in global GDP in 2030. It adds that the global trade volume will rise fourfold to $75tn by 2030.

While China has clocked double digit GDP expansion for about 30 years, the more advanced US economy has been merely crawling.

The US economy grew at 1.8% in the first half of 2013, though in the third quarter, it grew at 2.8%, the fastest quarterly growth in a year.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in its latest report the US GDP would grow at 1.7% in 2013, lower than its earlier projection of 1.9% growth.

Compared with that, China has maintained more than 7% growth rate this year, with the economy expanding 7.8% in the third quarter. Economists predict China will log 7.5% growth in 2014.

The spectre of the US finally giving way to China as the world's super power is not new, however.

US National Intelligence Council Forecast

The US National Intelligence Council (NIC) had said in a 2012 report that China would overtake the US as the world's biggest economy latest by 2030.

"In a tectonic shift, by 2030, Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power, based upon GDP, population size, military spending, and technological investment. China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030," the NIC report had said.

Meanwhile, a Pew Research Center survey showed in July this year the number of people who believed China would replace the United States as the world's leading superpower has been steadily increasing.

A survey of 38,000 people in 39 countries showed that only in six countries the majority of the people still believed the US would remain the top dog in world economy. "China's economic power is on the rise, and many think it will eventually supplant the United States as the world's dominant superpower," the research report said.

Interestingly, the number of people in the US who believed China would soon become the economic super power rose by 11 percentage points from 2008 to 47%. In China, though, the rise in the number of people who believed in their nation's impending economic supremacy was 8 percentage points.