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China surpasses Korea in major economic figures: FKI

China has been outperforming South Korea in several competitiveness rankings, a report published by the Federation of Korea Industries showed Monday, having already overtaken its neighbor in several other measures.

In the 2021 IMD Competitiveness Ranking. South Korea rose nine ranks from 32nd place in 1994 to 23rd in 2021, while China shot up from 34th in 1994 to 16th this year.

In the Competitive Industrial Performance list, created by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and used to measure a country’s industrial productivity, China was No. 2 while Korea was No. 3 in 2018.

China had more companies included in the Fortune Global 500 Companies list, which is an indicator of a country’s global competitiveness. Included in the list this year were 135 Chinese companies. Only 15 companies were from South Korea.

China has surpassed South Korea in several other key economic indicators over the past 30 years.

China’s growth in gross domestic product increase over the years largely surpassed that of South Korea.

While South Korea’s nominal GDP increased by 4.6 times to $1.6 trillion from 1992 to 2020, China’s nominal GDP grew by 29.9 times to $14.7 trillion over the same period. 

As a result, the nominal GDP gap between the two counties has widened from 1.4 times to 9 times during the past 30 years.

Similar trends were seen in the nominal GDP per capita of the two countries. The figure for South Korea almost quadrupled from $8,126 in 1992 to $31,497 in 2020. 

The change was more dramatic for China, as it saw a whopping 2,500 percent increase in the its nominal GDP per capita, from $420 in 1992, to $10,484 in 2020.

China’s nominal GDP per capita caught up to around a third of South Korea’s after being at around 5.2 percent three decades ago.

China’s rapid growth was evident in exports as well.

South Korea’s exports increased 6.7 times from 1992 to 2020, but the corresponding figure for China skyrocketed by 65.1 times over the same period and reached $5.6 trillion.

The gap between the two countries in foreign direct investments also widened over the years.

“Korea should expand economic exchanges with China while striving to continue growth by expanding into emerging markets such as Southeast Asia,” said Kim Bong-man, an official from the FKI.

By Kang Jae-eun (
Korea Herald daum