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Is India the Next China? [Chart]

Is India the Next China? [Chart]

Is India the Next China? [Chart]

The Chart of the Week is a weekly feature in Visual Capitalist on Fridays.

It’s no secret that the most recent bull market in commodities and global growth corresponded with the emergence of China on the world stage. When a country with over 1 billion people can grow at 10% for decades at a time, the power of compound interest starts to add up.

The only problem is that Chinese growth is starting to slow down. To start 2015, the world’s second-biggest economy grew at its slowest pace in six years at a clip of 7.0%, which was down from 7.3% in Q4 2014. Further, the rate of growth in investment, industrial production, and retail sales have been declining consistently over the last four years.

The world is looking for a new China to be the world’s growth engine. Does India fit the bill?

No one is denying that India has the potential to be a game-changer for the global economy. With 1.25 billion people and growing, India will be the most populous country in the world by 2028. The challenge is that the majority of people in the country are terribly poor (GDP per capita of US$1,500) and that the country’s bureaucracy strangles almost and all business endeavours. That said, there are recent economic and bureaucracy reform green shoots that show that India could at least temporarily swing out of its funk.

We did some back of the envelope calculations to see at what rate India would have to grow to be as significant to the world economy as China is today. We looked at India growing at high (10%), medium (7.5%), and low (5%) rates over the coming years. Based on this, India wouldn’t be comparable to today’s China until 21 years, 31 years, or 57 years respectively. (Note: to keep model simple, we had the rest of the world growing at a steady pace of 2%)

The end result shows the staggering power of compound interest: if India grows at a high rate similar to China over the last decades, India could be a world player in the coming decades. If growth is crippled by bureaucracy and it hovers around 5% on average, India won’t become the next China until way in our future: the year 2072.

On the bright side, Brazil may also be a good “bridge” for global growth. China certainly believes so, and that’s why they just announced an investment of $50 billion into the country’s infrastructure projects.

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