China has topped the US as the world's largest manufacturer for the first time last year, according to a study by economic research firm IHS Global Insight.
China accounted for 19.8 per cent of global manufacturing in 2010, compared with 19.4 per cent for the US.
In monetary terms it represented $1.995 trillion worth, compared with $1.952 trillion, according to IHS.
But by measures of productivity, China remained far behind the US.
US manufacturing workers generated more than eight times the value per person than China.
"In other words, the US manufacturing sector is producing roughly the same amount of output in 2010 with 11.5 million workers as opposed to its Chinese counterpart with around 100 million workers," IHS said.
Japan remained a distant third last year, generating $1.027 trillion by manufacturing, followed by Germany, with $618 billion.
But the most telling indicators were the pace of growth: over 2008-2010, China's manufacturing sector grew at a pace of 20.2 per cent per year, while the US grew at 1.8 per cent and Japan at 4.25 per cent.
Germany and fifth-ranked South Korea both contracted, and sixth-ranked India grew at 7.3 per cent annually.
IHS pointed out that at one-third of the total economy, China's manufacturing sector is far larger as a portion of output than any other country.
In the US, by comparison, the share is just 13 per cent of all production. In the other top-ranked countries, it is 15-20 per cent.