China as a “Quasi-Center” in the World Economic System—Developing a New “Center–Quasi-center–Semi-periphery–Periphery” Theory

Enfu Cheng, Chan Zhai

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Abstract

Based on the “center-periphery” and “center–semi-periphery–periphery” theories, as well as on analysis of data related to China’s GDP; foreign trade; finance; foreign investment and aid; comprehensive competitiveness; the Belt and Road Initiative and so forth, this article explains that while a gap still exists between China and the major countries at the center of the world economic system, China’s tremendous growth obviously distinguishes it from the countries of the periphery or “semi-periphery.” If we are to present an objective description and definition of China’s status and role in the world economic system since 2012, we must therefore adopt the concept of a “quasi-center.” This innovation supplements the dichotomy involved in the “center-periphery” theory, and requires the formulation of a new theory with a three-tier structure of “center–quasi-center–periphery,” or even a four tier structure of “center–quasi-center–semi-periphery–periphery.”
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Review of Political Economy
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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