Did China become the World's Leader by 2015

Has China’s growth helped them get to number one?

14 March 2019
Back in 2014 we reported that China could overtake the United States as the world's largest business travel market as early as 2015, according to a report published by the Global Business Travel Association.

At the time spend of business travel originating in China increased by 15.1% year over year to $225 billion. The report projected business travel spending to increase by an additional 17.8%, to $309 billion, in 2015. China was already the second-largest business travel market in the world, but could it go to number one?

China has been closing the spending gap which separates itself and the United States. That difference dropped from $66 billion in 2012 to $47 billion in 2013, and projections from both markets showed China could overtake the United States by 2015.

At the time, growth in outbound international business travel from China had been "relatively tepid," according to the report.

Fast forward 5 years to 2019 and where do the figures sit now, has China surged ahead and overtaken America as the Worlds largest business travel market?

The new report found that total business travel spends in China reached $291.2 billion against $290.2 billion in the US during 2015, not quite the $309 billion predicted but enough to put China at the top, and with their growth in the coming years expected to be over 10% compared to 2% in the US, the gap looked like it was only going to get bigger and it did by 2017 China had increased their gap by over $50 billion.

GBTA then forecasted that travel spend had declined to 9.8% by the end of 2017 marking the first year of this millennium that China’s growth had dipped below double figures, would this trend continue over the next two years, would the US start to catchup?

The figures are not yet out for 2018/19 but based on their forecasted growth China will reach $400 billion by the end of 2019, increasing their gap over the US by nearly $100 billion.

Come back next year when we’ll be reporting on their progress and we will be able to see actual figures and find out if these predictions were correct.
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