What's So Special About China's Exports?
Much more than comparative advantage and free markets have been at play in shaping China's export success. Government policies have helped nurture domestic capabilities in consumer electronics and other advanced areas that would most likely not have developed in their absence. As a result, China has ended up with an export basket that is significantly more sophisticated than what would be normally expected for a country at its income level. This has been an important determinant of China's rapid growth. What matters for China's future growth is not the volume of exports, but whether China will continue to latch on to higher-income products over time.
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