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Ranked 2 of 26 for comprehensive power, with an overall score of 74.6 out of 100.

Lost 1.5 points (−2% change) in overall score in 2021.


China is a superpower in Asia.

Its overall score declined by 1.5 points relative to 2020. This is the first time that China’s comprehensive power has dropped in four editions of the Asia Power Index.

The country lost ground in half of the Index’s measures of power in 2021 — from diplomatic and cultural influence to economic capability and future resources. China continues to lead the rankings in the economic capability and economic relationships measures, but has lost its first-place ranking in diplomatic influence and future resources. It remains in second place behind the United States for military capability and cultural influence, and in third place for its resilience.

Beijing’s weakest performance is in its defence networks, where it comes in at 8th place. This measure has consistently been China’s poorest showing in the Index. However, it has improved over the years; from 12th in 2018, to 9th in 2019 and 8th in 2020 and 2021.

China’s largest gain in 2021 was in the Index’s resilience measure, which assesses the capacity of a country to deter external threats to state stability. The world’s largest trading nation is becoming less dependent on its leading trade partners — the European Union and the United States — as it shifts to a domestic consumption model.

Yet China’s inward turn as a result of the pandemic appears also to have depressed its diplomatic influence. Beijing’s pole position in that measure has been very narrowly overtaken by the United States in 2021.

China exerts slightly more influence in the region than expected given its available resources, as indicated by the country’s positive power gap score. China is now a net overachiever in Asia, with its power gap improving marginally in 2021.

Read more analysis in the Key Findings report . Explore further results in the Scores section.

Bilateral Influence

Bilateral trade, current dollars (2020)

Countries that influence China

Globally, which countries does China do most of its trade with?

European Union 14.5%

United States 13.2%

Japan 7.4%

Taiwan 6.7%

South Korea 6.6%

Countries influenced by China

Which countries in the region rely most on trade with China?

Mongolia 67.4%

North Korea 64.4%

Australia 38.3%

Myanmar 31.9%

Taiwan 31.0%