China will overtake the U.S. as the world's largest construction market by 2018, and should be about four times larger than India's at the end of the next decade, according to a report by market analyst Global Construction Perspectives, London, and Oxford Economics, New York City.

In the next 10 years, China's construction market will be worth about $2.4 trillion and represent 19.1% of the global construction output, says the “Global Construction 2020” report released in November. Speaking at the launch of the report, Mike Betts, consultant for Global Construction Perspectives, says, “The construction market in China is already enormous at almost double the size of its nearest rival Japan. The U.S. has for some time held the top spot but despite its strong predicted growth over the next decade, China will become the world's largest construction market by 2018.”

The 10-year forecast indicates emerging markets would rapidly overtake the construction output of their developed neighbors. The top 10 highest growth markets in 2020 will be the emerging markets, with Poland—the only European country—to feature on the list. China would rank third. The report highlights that today's global construction market is worth an estimated $7.5 trillion, representing 13.4% of global GDP. But by 2020, construction will be a $12.7 trillion global market, an overall growth of 70% in the next decade. Construction in 2020 will account for 14.6% of global GDP.

The infrastructure construction market in emerging markets will grow by 128% over the next decade, compared with just 18% during the same period for developed countries. The largest construction market globally is residential, accounting for 40% of the total global construction market by 2020, when it will be worth $5.1 trillion.