Musk says Chinese economy will surpass the US by two or three times

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Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and Tesla Inc., speaks during an event at the SpaceX launch facility in Cameron County, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.

Bronte Wittpenn | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted Friday that the Chinese economy will surpass the United States’ by at least two-fold.

“A thing that will feel pretty strange is the Chinese economy is probably going to be at least twice as big as the United States’ economy, maybe three times,” Musk said while speaking at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

The two nations already are the world’s two largest economies. The U.S. dominates with $21.44 trillion in nominal GDP and makes up one-fourth of the world economy. China, however, is the fastest-growing trillion-dollar economy with GDP of $14.14 trillion, according to the Nasdaq.

Because China’s population is about four times larger than the United States, Musk said it would lower the barrier for China to surpass in economic size. The United States has roughly 330 million people, according to the U.S. Census, while China has more than 1.3 billion people.

“It would only require getting to a GDP per capita half the size the United States for their economy to be twice the size of ours,” Musk said.

China overtaking the United States economy would likely cause increased tension between the two countries working through trade tensions.

“The foundation of war is economics,” Musk said. “If you’re not innovative, you’re going to lose.”

While speaking on Friday, Musk repeatedly stressed the importance of innovation in the United States in order to maintain its competitive edge. When it comes to space, Musk, who is also the CEO of SpaceX, said that the U.S. is at risk of falling behind.

“This is not something that was a risk in times past but is a risk now,” Musk said. “I have zero doubt that if the United States doesn’t seek innovation in space it will be second in space.”

CNBC reported last week that SpaceX is seeking to raise about $250 millionĀ at a $36 billion valuation.

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