China has surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s top exporters of laptops, mobile phones and other information and communication technology devices. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, China took the lead for the first time in 2004, and they ain’t lookin back.
The OECD calls these devices ICT goods. China exported $180 billion worth of ICT goods in 2004, more than the $149 billion exported by the U.S. American exports grew from $137 billion in 2003, but that $12 billion increase in exports was far behind the $57 billion increase that the Chinese exports grew. The OECD expects that the Chinese will maintain their hold of the top spot in 2005.
Some of the change is accounted for by the increase in trade between China and other Asian countries, which decreases the reliance on imports from the U.S. and Europe. Another factor is the aggressive growth of Chinese companies through acquisition of American interests. Lenovo, for example, instantly grew from the biggest computer maker in China to third biggest maker in the world when they bought IBM’s PC business this year.