Since the outbreak of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, the economic balance between the traditional developed economies and the emerging ones has changed drastically, including that between the European Union and China. While the EU and its Member States are preoccupied by the eurozone debt crisis, stagnant economic growth and high domestic unemployment, China raised as the world’s second largest economy and one of the quickest growing consumer market. This paper explores the change in perception of the EU as an economic actor in the eyes of Chinese mainstream news media and national elites under such context. It argues that the strategic partnership could improve only if the two sides understand the mutual perception clearly. It is found that China has increased its leverage for bargaining vis-à-vis the EU as well as the capacity to give some help to the EU. Although the image of the EU as an economic powerhouse has been slightly weakened, it did not turn the heavily trade-oriented EU-China relations more comprehensive.
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