(XINHUA)PARIS - China is still a developing country with its per capita income ranking behind although the country has replaced Japan to become the world's "No 2 economy," a French economist has said.
The economic model of China "is still mainly based on subcontracting, providing labor-intensive segments for re-exportation," Diana Hochraich was quoted by French newspaper La Tribune as saying on Monday.
"Actually, China continues to import 70 percent of what it exports and it is mainly the foreign companies that export sophisticated products from China," said Hochraich, an expert on the Asian economy who has worked with the Ministry of Economy for many years.
"China remains dependent on industrialized countries, both for value-added inputs and for market for its products," she added.
According to Hochraich, China is still far from catching up with the United States and Japan in terms of innovation. "Innovation is the result of cultural sedimentation through generations."
China's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is still far behind that of many other countries.
According to the World Bank, China's per capita GDP was a bit more than $3,600 in 2009, ranking 124th worldwide, whereas Japan's per-capita GDP amounted to over $39,000.
China tries to acquire advanced skills and technologies. However, to improve the grade of production is not easy, Hochraich said.
For China, to become the new laboratory in the world "requires conditions that are far from being met," she added.