NEW YORK (
) -- China may be the looming threat to America's status as the global economic powerhouse, but the People's Republic also represents a major revenue boost for Silicon Valley heavyweights
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Figures recently released by the International Monetary Fund predicted that China will
surpass the U.S.
to become the world's largest economy by 2016. Economists polled by
expect strong economic growth of 9.5% in China this year, at a time when the U.S. is
between 3.1% and 3.3%. Figures released by the Chinese Government put the country's Internet users at
at the end of 2010, a 73 million hike on the prior year.
Set against this backdrop, experts see lots of upside for some American tech firms, despite the censorship issues there that have presented major challenges for Internet-based firms like
and social networkers like
"The U.S. companies that do the best are the ones not in sensitive areas, like user-generated content -- I believe
and Twitter don't have a shot here -- but those with investments or autonomous operations here," said Lucas Englehardt, CEO of Shanghai-based research group BloggerInsight. Apple, he added, is doing very well in China, and will continue to do so.
Yahoo!, with its significant stake in Chinese Internet behemoth
, should continue to see upside, while Microsoft is expected to turn the country's economic growth into new software revenue.
Other CEOs across the tech sector have been highlighting the opportunities there, as well.
"I was in Shanghai last week and there's a lot of government investment going on in the country in terms of infrastructure, and there's a growing middle class," Abhi Talwalkar, CEO of semiconductor specialist
after the company's recent earnings.
"We're doing well in the large dot.com fraternity in China and the rest of Asia," added John McAdam, the CEO of
, pointing to China's growing Web sector, led by the likes of
"China e-commerce is very, very compelling," said Sandeep Aggarwal, senior Internet and software analyst at Caris & Company. "It's a perfect storm happening in this market."
Read on for more details on how Apple, Yahoo! and Microsoft are riding China's tech wave.