China has an economic system that blends elements of socialism and capitalism. While its leaders strive to create a communist economic system, much of its growth occurred after it adopted some capitalist practices.
For more than 30 years, China's gross domestic product has increased by almost 10 percent per year, which is a rate far above those of developed nations. Deng Xiaoping, its leader at the time, is famous for his pragmatism. To him, building a thriving capitalist economy was key for growth, and he invested heavily in the Chinese economy to make it the world's leading manufacturing center.
Unlike many countries in the West, many of China's businesses are owned by the government, and the country has strong regulatory power over private businesses. This control, which many view as overly restrictive, helps the country grow in a manner the government views as most beneficial.
China has not abandoned socialism or communism, and many elements of socialism are still present. German philosopher Karl Marx, who wrote extensively on communism, stated that all countries must go through a period of capitalist growth to build the infrastructure needed for communism to flourish. Chinese officials view the country's embrace of capitalism as a transitional period needed to create a communist economy.