"The greatest show on earth."
That is the subtitle of Hugh Peyman's book, China's Change, and it is apt. Since its economic reforms began in 1978, China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty and created a 250 million-strong middle class. It produced the fastest and longest-ever economic growth spurt, taking just 12 years to double industrial output per person, compared with 53 years for the United States and 154 years for Britain. It has become the world's top trading nation, with the largest foreign exchange reserves. Even with 5 per cent growth per year going forward, it is on course to become a high-income country within a decade.