Chinese digital economy VCG/Getty Images

El nuevo dividendo digital de China

HONG KONG – En las últimas cuatro décadas, China ha pasado de ser un proveedor de salarios bajos a convertirse en uno de los tres eslabones más importantes en la cadena de valor global, junto con Estados Unidos y Alemania. A pesar de los crecientes temores sobre la deuda corporativa de China -que ahora está cerca del 170% del PIB- y su capacidad para eludir la trampa del ingreso medio, la rápida digitalización le permitirá a la economía china seguir ascendiendo en la cadena de valor.

Luego de su "apertura" estratégica hace casi 40 años, China ofreció una fuente abundante de tierra y mano de obra barata, que le permitió alcanzar economías de escala en la fabricación de productos de consumo. Luego, a medida que China avanzó hacia una condición de ingreso medio, se convirtió en un importante mercado de consumo en sí mismo.

En 2012, los actuales líderes de China reconocieron que el "dividendo demográfico" del país había llegado a su fin: la economía china estaba alcanzando su "punto de inflexión de Lewis", momento en el cual el exceso de mano de obra se agotaría y los salarios comenzarían a subir. Y, al mismo tiempo, el "dividendo de la apertura" también estaba alcanzando la madurez y topándose con barreras proteccionistas en todo el mundo.

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