"Whether it's China, whether it's India, these emerging countries, what they're accomplishing in a few short decades -- alleviating poverty, helping ordinary people all around the world get access to opportunity -- that's a wonderful thing that we should be rooting for," Obama said in his address to APEC CEO Business Summit at Honolulu in Hawaii.
People in these two countries "are potential customers for us in the future," he said.
Obama said his administration has created a frank dialogue with the Chinese over the last two years that has benefited both countries.
"My general view is that there can be a friendly and constructive competition between the United States and China, and a whole range of areas where we share common interests and we should be able to cooperate," he said.
"We should be rooting for China to grow, because not only does that then present an enormous marketplace for American businesses and American exports, but to see so many millions of people, hundreds of millions of people, lifted out of poverty is a remarkable achievement," he said.