The starring role that China plays in this drama makes understanding its general trajectory—from the economy to domestic politics and technology development to energy policy—of immense interest and import to the world, and particularly for its peer competitor the United States.
So what kind of China should be expected by 2025? That singular question animated this effort to forecast the country’s path forward over the medium term.
Our simple answer: A China that will be near-majority middle class for the first time, with increasing technological parity with Silicon Valley and a less carbon-intensive energy landscape, all under the aegis of a stronger Xi Jinping and his vision of governance. Achieving these outcomes will require trade-offs, in this case a China that will likely redouble on domestic priorities and moderate its appetite for global adventurism.
This view of a more capable yet more outwardly cautious China is based on a composite of four scenarios across specific functional areas, bounded by the timeframe through 2025. It is also predicated on several macro assumptions and key factors that are likely to determine China’s behavior over that time period. In other words, this forecast exists within a defined scope, the elements of which are explained below.