Ranking is deeply ingrained in the Chinese spirit, and being No 1 is usually cause for celebration, but reaction to the news has been more muted than jubilant. This indifference is not surprising, not least because of the specious rationale behind the claim. Even if it were true, it is not something that Chinese people really care about.
The news was first touted in late April when the World Bank released figures suggesting that, at recent growth rates, China's ascent to the top of the world's economic ladder may take place later this year.
The projection that was based on "purchasing power parity" was widely disdained in China, with the statistical method seen as artificially magnifying developing countries' economic clout.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Chinese economy was worth 56.9 trillion Yuan (about $9.25 trillion) in 2013, accounting for only 12.3 percent of the world's total, far behind the front-runner.
In any case, China will be the world's largest economy sooner or later, but do ordinary Chinese people really care? At the end of the day, it is the Yuan in their pocket that really matters.
Even when the Chinese economy is finally coronated as No 1, all that GDP will be spread pretty thin around more than a billion people. On a per-capita basis, China is still No 99 in the world.
The Chinese economy has grown from 67.9 billion Yuan in 1952. Per capita GDP has swelled from 119 Yuan then to 41,908 Yuan in 2013. This is a genuine cause for celebration.
However, this is no time for China to be resting on laurels. This does not change China's status as a middle-income, developing country. More importantly, China remains dogged by a host of problems: overcapacity, financial risk, lukewarm manufacturing, lack of global brands and innovative capabilities. The list goes on.
China and its people are well aware that there is still a long march to go before it becomes a rich country and a strong one.
When the economy does top the world, it should be taken as good news. The country that has lately contributed the most to global economic growth will definitely have more to give.