The People's Republic of China is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding this week. Taking the opportunity to look back at the country's economic growth over the past decades, the early years of the People’s Republic were rather difficult for China. The country traded only with other countries of the communist bloc back then, which shows in the export
numbers. The "Great Leap Forward", an economic policy by Mao Zedong, which ultimately led to the great famine that killed between 15 and 36 million people between 1958 and 1961.
It was not until the late 1970s that the "Chinese economic miracle" began to take place. After economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese economy became more liberal and began to open up to the world. As World Bank data shows,
the value of Chinese imports and exports began to grow, reaching $53.3 billion and $62.1 billion respectively in 1990, about 20 times more than in 1960. China's global trade expansion accelerated even more at the early 21st century, when the value of Chinese imports and exports increased 40-fold between 1990 and 2018. Today, China is the main supplier of imports to more than sixty countries, about a third of which are in Africa.