Factors Contributing to Increase of China’s Hegemony: a brief literature review

By John Dudovskiy

China’s HegemonyWhile there is a consensus amongst authors regarding rapid hegemonic rise of China opinions divide about sustainability of this tendency in long-term or even medium term perspectives.

On one hand, there are authors such as Zhang (2012), Sobel (2012) and Joseph (2013) who express firm belief about the sustainability of Chinese hegemony. This group of authors refer to the strong competitive advantage of economy of China that is expanding beyond the cost advantage of resources to compete with producers from developed countries on quality levels.

On the other hand, a range of authors such as Catley and Mosler (2007), Balogun (2011) and Nye (2011) adopt a sceptical approach about sustainability of hegemony of China in long-term perspectives. This specific group of authors justify their stand by stating that China’s hegemonic rise is directly conditioned by its volume of exports, and sustainability of volume of export depend on a wide range of internal and external factors that are becoming increasingly volatile.

Nevertheless, the literature review has found a set of political, economical and social factors that contribute to the rise on the level of hegemony of China. Each of these factors is discussed below in greater details.


Political Factors

Political factors contributing to the rise of China’s hegemony are closely associated with damages to the reputation of present world hegemon – the USA through unsuccessful engagement in a series of foreign wars (Catley and Mosley, 2007, Zhang, 2012, Joseph, 2013) and a range other factors discussed below.

Zhang (2012) argues that financing overseas wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya is draining national economy of the USA.  Moreover, eagerness of the US President Barack Obama to initiate military engagements in Syria is most likely to have highly detrimental impacts on the level of national economy.

Moreover, US government sponsors a range of programs and initiatives that aim to advance military might of the country. Catley and Mosler (2007) argue that the government attempts to justify huge investments in military technology by referring to the threat of international terrorism, nevertheless, its detrimental impacts on the level of national economy are assessed to be significant.

Internal dramatic reforms in political system of China are specified by Joseph (2013) as separate factor that should not be underestimated. Joseph (2013) argues that the latest change of top leadership in China in November 2012 when General Secretary of the Communist Party Hu Jintao was replaced by Xi Jinping has been associated with certain argument and discussions that was previously unheard of in Chinese communist system.

In other words, according to Joseph (2013) the political system of China is undergoing dramatic transformation to make decision-making at top level more flexible and even democratic to addressed changes in external environment in a timely and effective manner.


Economic Factors

Economic factors contributing to the rise of hegemony of China are closely associated with shift of manufacturing from the US and Europe to Asia in general, and to China in particular (Shor, 2011, Russett, 2011, Sobel, 2012). According to estimations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) China will have the biggest economy in the world by as soon as 2016 (Shor, 2011).

China is confirmed as the world’s largest manufacturer of steel and about 80% of textile products, as well as, more than 60% of consumer electronics products are manufactured in China (Shor, 2011). Interestingly, while Sobel (2012) agrees with this data, he convincingly argues that the majority of manufacturing companies in China are owned by developed countries such as US and European countries.

According to Russett (2011) the government of China is concentrating to expand the levels of its trading and investment initiatives with large economies such as Russia, Brazil, and Japan, at the same time when USA is found focusing on military contracts on Asia. Russett (2011) considers this situation to be advantageous to China in terms of increasing the level of its hegemony.

Moreover, rapidly increasing amounts of the US debts to China can be justly specified as another economic factor that contributes to the rise of China’s hegemony. According to the records of the Federal Reserve the US debt has suppressed USD 2 trillion mark on August 2013, and about USD 1.27 trillion out of this amount is owed to China (Castro-Mendivil, 2013).


Balogun, M.J. (2011) Hegemony and Sovereign Equality: The Interest Contiguity Theory in International Relations, Springer Group

Castro-Mendivil, E. (2013) New Record: Federal Reserve owes more than USD 2 trillion in US debt, http://rt.com/usa/fed-reserve-two-trillion-747

Catley, R. and Mosler, D. (2007) The American Challenge: The World Resists US Liberalism, Ashgate Publishing

Joseph, J. (2013) Hegemony: A Realist Analysis, Routledge

Nye, J.S. (2011) The Future of Power, Perseus Books Group

Russet, B.M. (2011) Hegemony and Democracy, Taylor & Francis

Shor, F. (2011) Declining US Hegemony + Rising Chinese Power: A Formula for Conflict?  http://www.stateofnature.org/?p=4541

Sobel, A.C. (2012) Birth of Hegemony: Crisis, Financial Revolution, and Emerging Global Networks, University of Chicago Press

Zhang, B. (2012) Chinese Perceptions of the US: an exploration of China’s foreign policy motivations, Lexicon Books

Category: Literature Review