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China Pathfinder

The China Pathfinder project scores China's market reform across six key areas relative to open market economy norms.

China is a global economic powerhouse, but its system remains opaque. Policymakers and financial experts disagree on basic facts about what is happening inside the country. To create a shared language for understanding the Chinese economy, the China Pathfinder project scores China and other open market economies across six key areas and presents an objective picture of China relative to the world.

Where does China's economy stand?

See how China's economic system compares to open market economies.

See the dashboard

Launched in 2021, the China Pathfinder Project is a collaboration between the Atlantic Council and Rhodium Group to track China’s convergence with or divergence from open market economy norms. This project is nonpartisan and seeks to foster consensus about where China stands in relation to advanced market economies. With that goal in mind, our design balances accessibility for nontechnical readers with commitment to robust, transparent, and data-grounded methods.

Research Framework

The China Pathfinder Project evaluates the economic system of China and ten open market economies in six categories: financial system development, modern innovation system, market competition, trade openness, direct investment openness, and portfolio investment openness. The first three clusters represent the “domestic” dimension, and the latter three clusters represent the “external” openness dimension.

The comparable cross-country indicators that we select to represent development in these six areas are updated annually. China Pathfinder also provides a set of composite scores based on the indicator data to offer a larger picture of China’s movement toward (or away from) market norms. In addition, we select nuanced supplemental indicators and conduct quarterly policy tracking to keep up with fast-moving economic and policy developments in China.

Read the latest Pathfinder research


China Pathfinder: Q1 2023 Update

An aggressive public campaign to allay concerns about the direction of China’s economy has not been underpinned by a convincing shift in policy.