Episode: 1
From West to East

Premiered on: 02 February 2013 01:30 GMT

The phenomenal speed of Chinese and Indian growth means that before mid-century these economies are now expected to become the world’s largest.
For our contributors, Zhang Hue and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, the opening up of the Chinese economy since 1979 and the liberalisation of the Indian economy from 1991 offered extraordinary entrepreneurial opportunities. Before setting off on this journey we hear Bobbi Brown’s story from America, the preeminent wealth creator of the 20th century, and still the biggest economy in the world.

Facts and Figures

The challenge to the west by eastern economies

How the number of Ultra High Net Worth individuals has grown in India & China compared to the U.S

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Featured article

From West to East

The phenomenal speed of Chinese and Indian economic growth and reform means that by mid-century the Chinese and Indian economies are expected to vie with the US to become the world’s largest.


Chinese Gross Domestic Product Per Capita grew by an average of 9.9% annually 2001–2011”

According to World Bank Development indicators

The effect of economic liberalisation in the East has been startling. Using World Bank Development indicators, Chinese Gross Domestic Product Per Capita grew by an average of 9.9% annually 2001–2011, and India’s by 6.1%. Those are total increases of 158.2% and 80.2% respectively during the decade. Historically, this makes China’s the fastest rate of increase ever recorded by a major economy. The figures are all the more extraordinary when one considers that it includes the period since 2008, which has seen the most serious international economic crisis since the 1930s. To give a sense of balance, the UK and US per capita GDP grew by averages of 0.8% and 0.7% during the same period.

But the West, and especially the US, still possesses enormous cultural and social advantages, constantly breeding new industries, fermenting innovation and producing brands with global reach. It is possible that India and China may yet face internal social problems caused precisely by this extraordinary explosion of wealth. And it would surely be a mistake to write off the world’s largest, most vibrant economy just yet. The idea that you can come from a humble beginning but through your sharp wits and hard work, become wealthy is after all, the American Dream.

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About the Programme

Changing Fortunes is a co-production by D&E and Films of Record for BBC World News. To film the series we visited the home cities and workplaces of the global wealthy, with interview locations across Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.

The series director is the award winning filmmaker James Rogan. James’s credits include the six part documentary series Warship for Channel Five whilst his latest feature documentary Amnesty! When They Are All Free is his third for BBC Storyville. Changing Fortunes Executive Producers are Marc Heal for D&E, who originally conceived the series, and the award winning filmmaker and writer Roger Graef OBE, for Films of Record.

The series is broadcast on BBC World News at the following times:
Saturdays at 0130 and 1530 GMT
Sundays at 0930 and 2030 GMT

To find viewing times in your location please go to the BBC World News schedule page