Central-eastern Asian state. Third country by extension, with 9,562,911 km 2, and first by population, with 1,393,783,836 residents, according to an estimate by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) of 2014, China has seen its new role sanctioned, as a protagonist in the diplomatic but above all economic sphere, also in the eyes of world public opinion thanks to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Demographics. – The demographics immediately poses some problems. The legislation regarding the ‘one child policy’, introduced in 1979 and partially abolished in 2013, has drastically contracted the younger generations, who – without the usual network of brothers and cousins - experience this unusual condition as a social problem: both in ‘education of the so-called little emperors, both due to the repercussions on parents and grandparents, and due to the shortage of children and grandchildren, they see a reduction in the resources for parental care (the so-called 4-2-1 phenomenon), with the fear that a possible premature death of the only descendant deprives them of all support. To counter this phenomenon, the 2013 reform also allowed couples with only children to procreate twice without sanctions.
Economic and social indicators
The male majority has led some scholars to consider the management of marriages problematic, also making it possible for women to immigrate from neighboring states. On the other hand, it is possible that over the years some families have decided not to register children subsequent to the first one, undermining the credibility of the official statistics. The population of China has grown over the past decade at an average rate of 0.56%, despite the one-child policy, which, however, did not apply to members of any of the 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities. Some of these minor ethnic groups (including the Dongxiang, the Qiang and the Uighurs or Uyghur) increased by 30% and even 40% between 1990 and 2010, both for the greater births, and because many individuals have carried out genealogical research to be recognized as belonging to a minority and to enjoy the consequent advantages. The Hui, of Islamic religion, increased by 18%, surpassing the Manchu as the third ethnic group, after Han and Zhuang. The only minorities in sharp decline are those who emigrate to rejoin the ethnic group they belonged to in the former Soviet Republics: for example, the Uzbeks and the Tatars, who recorded drops of more than 20% in twenty years, despite births and the lengthening of the average life.
The distribution of the population on the territory presents strong unevenness, not only due to the gap between city and countryside. The density is very high in the so-called China propria, which corresponds to the fifteen provinces of the Ming era (of which the first cartographic representation was made available to Europeans in 1655 by the Italian Martino Martini with a large atlas in Latin). On the other hand, the large peripheral territories, such as Inner Mongolia in the north, the Quinghai mountains, the Xizang Autonomous Region (formerly known as Tibet) or the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang (formerly East Turkestan) still have large margins for development, even if it is debated whether the massive internal immigration constitutes a threat to the identity of the ethnic minorities already present in the area.
Evolution of the main economic aggregates
China’s new role in the world economy. – Starting from the early 2000s, the consolidation of the participation of Chinese companies in global value chains has turned into an explosive growth in exports, which in 2013 reached a value of over 2200 billion dollars (250 were only ten years ago). As a consequence, China has regularly maintained a commercial asset (in particular with the United States and Europe, which are its main commercial partners) which, adding to the influx of foreign investments, has allowed the accumulation of huge reserves. of foreign currency for a value that in 2013 was almost 3,900 billion dollars (of which about one third consisted of US Treasury securities as a financial counterpart of the prolonged trade surpluses towards the United States). According to Topmbadirectory, this immense financial availability was used to make direct investments abroad, with the dual objective of acquiring know-how, technologies, managerial skills and prestigious brands from advanced countries on the one hand, and guaranteeing the supply of necessary raw materials. to feed the country’s productive apparatus on the other. Under the first aspect, direct investments have grown by state-owned companies and sovereign wealth funds (see) which have acquired shareholdings in foreign companies or taken over entire companies, as happened in the cases of the IBM personal computer division (managerial skills and prestigious brands from advanced countries on the one hand, and to guarantee the supply of raw materials necessary to feed the country’s production system on the other. Under the first aspect, direct investments have grown by state-owned companies and sovereign wealth funds (see) which have acquired shareholdings in foreign companies or taken over entire companies, as happened in the cases of the IBM personal computer division (managerial skills and prestigious brands from advanced countries on the one hand, and to guarantee the supply of raw materials necessary to feed the country’s production system on the other. Under the first aspect, direct investments have grown by state-owned companies and sovereign wealth funds (see) which have acquired shareholdings in foreign companies or taken over entire companies, as happened in the cases of the IBM personal computer division (International Business Machines corporation) by the computer company Lenovo, the US banks Blackstone and Morgan & Stanley, acquired by the sovereign fund CIC (China Investment Corporation), or, more recently, Pirelli, whose majority stake was sold to the petrochemical giant China national chemical corporation following a 7.1 billion dollar agreement reached in March 2015. The search for new sources supply has instead continued through the intensification of commercial and financial relations especially with economically less developed countries, but rich in natural resources, from which China purchases large quantities of oil, natural gas, foodstuffs and other mineral resources in exchange funding for technology transfer, the construction of infrastructures and assistance and aid programs.