China's year of enormous numbers

China enjoyed a year of major successes, ranging from trade to to aeronautics.

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In June, China signed a broad free-trade agreement with Taiwan to lower tariffs on a range of goods travelling between the Chinese mainland and the island. Some in Taiwan are concerned it could be flooded with cheap imports from China that undercut locally produced goods.

The initial public offering (IPO) of the Agricultural Bank of China took place in Shanghai and Hong Kong in July, and it went on to become the largest of its kind, generating US$22.1 billion (Dh81.16bn). Ernst & Young recently said Chinese IPOs would generate $300bn on global markets by the end of the year.

The Tianhe-1A supercomputer in Tianjin secured the title of the fastest in the world when in October it showed it was capable of carrying out more than 2.5 thousand trillion operations per second. The computer boasts formidable hardware including 14,000 Intel chips and 7,000 graphics processors.

By the time the gates closed at the end of October, the Shanghai Expo had racked up 73,084,400 visitors, beating its 70 million target, with some queuing for eight hours to enter the most popular pavilions. It provided evidence of the power of Chinese consumerism, something the government hopes to harness as it moves towards an economy driven by domestic consumption.

The first orders were placed last month for the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China's C919 aircraft, which it is hoped will take the fight to Boeing and Airbus in the airliner market, at least in China.