German exports fell by 18.4% in 2009, the sharpest drop since 1950, new data showed on Tuesday, as China officially overtook the biggest European economy as the top global exporter.
According to information from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Chinese exports amounted to $1,201.70 billion, while German exports totalled $1,121.30 billion last year.
Many economists and business executives say they hope that Toyota’s trauma will be the unsettling blow that Japan needs to understand that its reliance on manufacturing and industrial exports, which served the country so well after World War II, is no longer wise. Toyota is Japan’s largest company by sales ($230 billion last fiscal year), and in recent years has been its most profitable company and biggest taxpayer.
The China Investment Corporation, the Chinese government’s $300-billion investment fund, now owns stock in some of the best-known American brands, including Apple, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Motorola, Visa, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup.