For China, hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics was a chance to prove it could hold its own among the great global powers. When the world tunes in for the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 4, a very different China will be in the spotlight.
In 2008 the country had just surpassed Germany to become the world’s third-biggest economy. Its gross domestic product still trailed Japan’s and was only one-third the size of the U.S. economy. Today, China’s GDP is three times larger than Japan’s and steadily closing on the No. 1 spot. If Chinese President Xi Jinping is able to deliver on growth-boosting reforms, and U.S. President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda stumbles, China could overtake the U.S. as soon as 2031, according to forecasts by Bloomberg Economics.