Sunday 4 December 2016

€50bn spent on plastic surgery shows the changing face of China

Published 03/12/2015 | 02:30

'The spectacular, ever-changing skyline of Shanghai is something to behold' and is an indication of China's success
'The spectacular, ever-changing skyline of Shanghai is something to behold' and is an indication of China's success

China will continue to become a bigger part of all our lives, whether anyone likes it or not. Having spent the past 10 days in that country, I'm more convinced than ever that the Asian giant will be the world's pre-eminent power by the middle of this century.

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Front and centre in the shift of power from west to east is the quite incredible wealth that is being created in China. This dynamism will almost certainly result - well before 2050 - in the country overtaking the US to become the world's largest economy. If that sounds surprising or odd, it shouldn't - by becoming the biggest economy, China would merely be regaining the position that it held for millennia before it went into catastrophic decline in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the six years since I last visited China, the most notable change is in everyday life. Although the spectacular and ever-changing skyline of Shanghai is something to behold, and many indicators could be reeled off to illustrate the scale of the country's physical transformation, what struck me most on this visit was how wealth is now so visible in how people live.

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