Almost 60 percent of people in four large European countries see China as the World's leading economic power, according to a PEW Global Attitudes survey published on April 13. Back in Spring 2008, before the beginning of the global financial crisis, the U.S. was perceived as the leading power, yet the situation has changed dramatically since then. Now 57-62 percent of the German, French, British and Spanish population regard China as the leading power, whereas only 13-29 % reckon the U.S. has top spot.
In China however, things are seen differently: Chinese people still consider the U.S. to be the leading economic power, along with only 29 percent naming their home country as the number one economic power. In the United States people are divided as the two economies run neck-to-neck in the people’s perception as the leading economic power, with 40 and 41 percent respectively.
The improving trend in the perception of China's economic power is in line with the Hungarian PM's "eastward opening" policy. The first Orbán administration (1998-2002) was generally wary of China, as was Fidesz during its years in opposition. This has since changed: the second Orbán-cabinet is pursuing stronger ties with Beijing than the previous Socialist governments did, especially in the economic sphere.