China for the first time has surpassed America to export the most technology wares around the world, according to new figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The crossover took place last year, when China exported $180 billion of computers, mobile phones and other digital stuff, exceeding America's international sales of $149 billion. A year earlier, in 2003, China's technology exports had overtaken those of both the European Union and Japan.Don't know how much to read into that, but it seems like a significant shift as economic power starts its migration over the Pacific.
Given China's importance as a centre of low-cost manufacturing, its rise as an industrial power in technology goods is hardly surprising. What is startling is the speed of its ascent. From $36 billion in 1996, its world trade in tech goods—both imports and exports—has grown as much as 32% a year, to reach $329 billion in 2004.