A potential superpower is defined as a state that is seen to become, or in the process of becoming, a superpower in the 21st century. Presently, it is widely speculated that the United States is the current superpower of the world.
But several economic problems in the US, such as the housing crisis, unemployment, recession, etc. have weakened the economy of this rich country.
“In 2008, when the US experienced one of the worst economic and financial meltdown, the entire Global Economy was affected in different levels or degrees. The Philippines however proved to be resilient and strong. Having survived the Global Economic Storm, we in the real estate, building and construction industry can attest that never before had we seen the frenzy of buildings everywhere. The cranes just keep on moving, changing the city skyline into a reflection of growth and development,” Realtor, Mr. Ramon Cuervo III, said.
But since the US is in a slow down, Mr Cuervo sees China as a new superpower. “The Chinese culture and heritage has a strong influence in Philippine real estate.”
With the US BPO companies shifting their offices to the country, Mr Cuervo sees the Chinese, especially the Filipino-Chinese, investing in the Philippine real estate. One example is the Henry Sy-led SMDC and Lucio Tan-led Eton Properties.
“Their real estate companies have been helping the real estate boom in the country so Filipino-Chinese is also helping the economy,” he said.
With the US economic decline, the world has been receiving news that China, the world’s second biggest economy, is now on the verge of overtaking the US as the world’s superpower by 2019 as identified by the academics and other experts.
In fact, “The Rise of China” has been the top news story of the 21st century.
Here, we share the views and inputs of some experts.
In 2004, Barry Gordon Buzan, an Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics, asserted that “China is currently the most fashionable potential superpower and the one whose degree of alienation from the dominant international society makes it the most obvious political challenger.” He also noted that this challenge is constrained by the major challenges of development and by the fact that its rise could trigger a counter coalition of states in Asia.
Parag Khanna, an Indian American author and international relations expert, stated in 2008 that China had established its presence as a superpower along with the European Union and the United States. China’s rise is demonstrated by its ballooning share of trade in its gross domestic product.
Historian Timothy Garton Ash argued in 2011, pointing to factors such as the International Monetary Fund predicting that China’s GDP (purchasing power parity adjusted) will overtake that of the United States in 2016, that a power shift to a world with several superpowers was happening “Now”. However, China was still lacking in soft power and power projection abilities and had a low GDP/person.
Arvind Subramanian, Economist and author of Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance, argued in 2012 that China will direct the world’s financial system by 2020 and that the Chinese renminbi will replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency in 10 to 15 years. The United States’ soft power will remain longer.
In 2010, an expert on governance in the People’s Republic of China, U.S.-Asia relations, and democratization in developing nations, Minxin Pei argued in 2010 that China is not a superpower and it will not be one anytime soon and argued that China faces daunting political and economic challenges.In 2012 he argued that China, despite using economic power to influence some nations, has few real friends or allies and is surrounded by potentially hostile nations. This situation could improve if regional territorial disputes would be resolved and China would participate in an effective regional defense system that would reduce the fears of its neighbors.
Wang Jisi, a Chinese foreign policy advisor, stated in2012 that many Chinese officials see China as a first-class power which should be treated as such. China is argued to soon become the world’s largest economy and to be making rapid progress in many areas. The United States is seen as a declining superpower as indicated by factors such as poor economic recovery, financial disorder, high deficit and unemployment, and increasing political polarization.
Geoffrey Murphay’s China: The Next Superpower (2008) argued that while the potential for China is high, this is fairly perceived only by looking at the risks and obstacles China faces in managing its population and resources. The political situation in China may become too fragile to survive into superpower status according to Susan Shirk in China: Fragile Superpower (2008). Other factors that could constrain China’s ability to become a superpower in the future include limited supplies of energy and raw materials, questions over its innovation capability, inequality and corruption, and risks to social stability and the environment.
Recently, Bloomberg’s Market Magazine ranked China as the top 1 in the top emerging markets in the world, with the Philippines ranked in 20th.
While experts believes that China will overtake US in 2019, a good number of people in UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan, and other countries, including the Chinese themselves, thinks that the torch has already been passed from US to China. In the US, 54% of Americans doubt China will win out.
All of these have many global citizens worried, most especially seeing China as a security threat with its aggression on Tibet, on the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations regarding South China Sea, and Japan and Tawian regarding the island claims.
What will be the effect of China’s emerging superpower status to the Philippines?
Realtor, Dr. Kirby Salvador, thinks that China has already overtaken US based on her trip and observation in China last year.
“China, I believe, has indeed has overtaken US 3 years ago. During my trip to Beijing, I have seen the changes good and bad,” Dr. Salvador said.
She also become close to her tourist guide, who was born in Tibet and immigrated to China 5 year ago. It was her tourist guide who revealed the real situation in China.
“I was told to watch and observe Chinese news on TV that runs 24 hours a day. From there, I was able to connect what my tour guide and my Chinese friends in Manila are talking about,” she said.
As an entrepreneur, Dr. Salvdaor also shared her insights about the Chinese influence in the development of Binondo wherein thousands of Chinoy businessmen had to close shops , factories , warehouses due to invasion of mainland China businessmen particularly in Divisoria.
“Chinoys were angry because the immigration department was very laxed and did not protect them. Everyone is welcome all you need is an investor’s visa and show money,” she said.
The 168 Mall, also known as Fortune Mall, is located at Sta. Elena Street and Soler Street, Binondo. Dr. Salvador goes there 3x a week to buy her supplies and sell it in Masangkay Street, Binondo, which is a 20 minute walk from her video and optical shop.
A fellow Chinese gives special price to Chinese entrepreneur like her. That’s her advantage of knowing how to speak “Fookien” fluently, which is rare for her generation.
“Today , given that situation , the Chinoys could not compete with the mainland because of its low costing. What is the recourse after closing their businesses? Will they lease out their properties either it be a stall or warehouse? Some of them have now turned into real estate professionals. Being a Filipino citizen, one can buy and invest. That was how they turn around and made it big again. For three consecutive years, the real estate industry continues to grow.”
Another news in the Philippines revealed that China’s influence is spreading. Landbank will start to offer yuan-denominated time and savings deposit account next month. This is in response to the clamor of Filipino-Chinese community.
Landbank will launch this in Binondo, which is a China Town.
A total of 2,500 yuan is required for initial deposit requirement and minimum monthly average daily balance requirement for savings account while the time deposit account requires an initial deposit of 5,000 yuan with a minimum term of 30 days and a maximum term of 364 days.
Other banks offering yuan-denominated accounts in the country are China Banking Corp., Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Bank of the Philippine Islands, BDO Unibank, Inc. and HSBC.
“This news is one example of Chinese influence. We already have US dollar saving accounts in our local banks. And soon, there will be Yuan deposit accounts,” Mr. Cuervo said.
On the next part, we will share the inputs of Roque Sorioso on China’s emerging superpower status effect to our country.
With references from: Ramon Cuervo III, Dr. Kirby Salvador, Business World, and Wikipedia.
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