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9. China

Projected annual growth: 5.1%
2010 GDP: $3.511 trillion*
2050 projected GDP: $25.334 trillion

It may be no surprise that China, the current engine of global growth, is set to be one of the fastest growing economies over the next four decades. But what is noteworthy is that the size of mainland economy, which is currently one-third that of the United States, is expected to grow more than seven-fold to overtake the U.S. by 2050.

It is no wonder that foreign companies across all sectors are flocking to China to set up shop and capitalize on its growth. The country is a leading recipient of foreign direct investment, receiving $116 billion in 2011,according to China’s Commerce Ministry.

Growing wealth among Chinese firms has also led to an increasing amount of outward foreign direct investment — increasing the country’s influence on the world economy. In 2011 alone, China invested in 1,392 overseas projects in 132 countries, totaling $332 billion.

Dubbed the “world’s factory,” China’s economy has been largely fueled by its export sector. However, the country’s latest five-year plan aims to shift the economy’s focus to the development of its internal market. One way it plans to do so is by increasing the spending power of its 1.36 billion population by spurring job creation and implementing minimum-wage requirements. The government recently pledged to raise minimum wages by 13 percent a yearthrough 2015 and launch measures to generate 45 million new jobs.

* Based on 2000 U.S. dollars

Andrea Pistolesi | Getty Images