Chinese consumers will be most significant economic force: economist

While the global economy is undergoing downward pressure, Chinese consumers are believed to be the most significant economic force, according to one the world's top economists.

Jim O'Neill, the British economist known for coining the term BRIC to describe the four developing economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China, said Chinese consumers were the drivers of the global economy, in an interview with Xinhua. 

"The most important thing for as far as I can see into the future, certainly at least halfway through the next decade, is the Chinese consumer," he said.

O'Neill, a consistent believer in globalization and the central role of consumers and China to that effect, said globalization is driven by what consumers want.

China, the world's most populous country, has been one of the main drivers and beneficiaries of globalization. Since the country started its reform and opening-up in 1978, the Chinese economy has transformed and 500 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"It is very unlikely that any other country could step in to drive global consumption," O'Neill said.

He said he realized as early as in the 1990s that the world could not permanently survive on the American consumers, and the next 40 years might be about Chinese consumers.

As for the economic downturn predicted by many economists and organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in their latest forecasts, O'Neill said it is expected, but the reaction should not be overblown.

"Economic cycles are a fact of life. They will happen and maybe we're going into a downturn now, but that isn't going to destroy globalization – it will interrupt it, but It won't destroy it," O'Neill said.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency