When Zhou Xiaochuan hands over the reins of the People’s Bank of China after 15 years in control, his successor will take charge of a central bank with unprecedented global influence.
The economy’s size has ballooned from $1.5 trillion in 2002 when he started -- back when Alan Greenspan was leading the Federal Reserve -- to about $12 trillion today. China is estimated to have contributed more than a third of global growth last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The nation surpassed the U.S. as the world’s biggest oil importer last year, buying about 8.43 million barrels a day. It’s also the world’s biggest trading nation with total trade of $3.82 trillion in 2016, ahead of $3.58 trillion for the U.S.