If Japan was a surging tide, then China is a tsunami. The globe’s most populous country turned manufacturing juggernaut has a one-two punch of low-cost labour and homegrown national champions taking the world by storm. Its economy, which has been growing above nine per cent for a decade, has already surpassed Japan’s in size, and is expected to overtake the U.S. by 2040. Its voracious appetite for energy and resources has sent commodity prices skyrocketing and its cheap manufactured goods power consumer spending around the globe. With its sheer drive for material success, after centuries of deprivation, China seems unstoppable. But is it? Or is it just history repeating itself?