When President Obama meets new Chinese president Xi Jinping in California on Friday, it will be a big contrast from his first official meeting with the previous leader, Hu Jintao, back in April 2009.
Then, China was still basking in the afterglow of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when its spectacular opening ceremonies and its pace-setting 51 gold medals declared that China had arrived on the world stage.
China responded to the financial crisis with a massive stimulus package that focused heavily on infrastructure and construction. That kept its GDP growing in the mid-single digits while the developed world was heading south. When the global economy began recovering, China’s real GDP growth topped 10% in 2010.
But last year, China’s GDP growth was 7.8%, the weakest since 1999, and it will probably match that this year. The Conference Board projects China’s GDP growth will average 5.8% from 2013 to 2018 and a mere 3.7% from 2019 to 2025.