2014 in china: What to expect

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1. Two phrases will be important for 2014: ‘productivity growth’ and ‘technological disruption’

China’s labor costs continue to rise by more than 10 percent a year, land costs are pricing offices out of city centers, the cost of energy and water is growing so much that they may be rationed in some geographies, and the cost of capital is higher, especially for state-owned enterprises. Basically, all major input costs are growing, while intense competition and, often, overcapacity make it incredibly hard to pass price increases onto customers. China’s solution? Higher productivity. Companies will adopt global best practices from wherever they can be found, which explains why recent international field trips of Chinese executives have taken on a much more serious, substantive tone.

This productivity focus will extend beyond manufacturing. In agriculture, the pace at which larger farms emerge should accelerate, spurring mechanization and more efficient irrigation and giving farmers the ability to finance the purchase of higher-quality seeds. Services will also be affected: for companies where labor is now the fastest-growing cost, a sustained edge in productivity may make all the difference. And in industry after industry, companies will feel the disruptive impact of technology, which will help them generate more from less and potentially spawn entirely new business models. Consider China’s banking sector, where bricks-and-mortar scale has been a critical differentiator for the past two decades. If private bank start-ups were allowed, could we see a digital-only model, offering comprehensive services without high physical costs? Will Chinese consumers be willing to bank online? Absolutely—if their willingness to shop online is any guide.

2. CIOs become a hot commodity

There is a paradox when it comes to technology in China. On the one hand, the country excels in consumer-oriented tech services and products, and it boasts the world’s largest e-commerce market and a very vibrant Internet and social-media ecosystem. On the other hand, it has been a laggard in applying business technology in an effective way. As one of our surveys1 recently showed, Chinese companies widely regard the IT function as strong at helping to run the business, not at helping it to grow. Indeed, simply trying to find the CIO in many Chinese state-owned enterprises is akin to hunting for a needle in a haystack.

Yet the CIOs’ day is coming. The productivity imperative is making technology a top-team priority for the first time in many enterprises. Everything is on the table: digitizing existing processes and eliminating labor, reaching consumers directly through the Internet, transforming the supply chain, reinventing the business model. The problem is that China sorely lacks the business-savvy, technology-capable talent to lead this effort. Strong CIOs should expect large compensation increases—they are the key executives in everything from aligning IT and business strategies to building stronger internal IT teams and adopting new technologies, such as cloud computing or big data.

3. The government focuses on jobs, not growth

Expect the Chinese government’s rhetoric and focus to shift from economic growth to job creation. The paradox of rising input costs (including wages), the productivity push, and technological disruption is that they collectively undermine job growth, at the very time China needs more jobs. Millions and millions of them. While few companies are shifting manufacturing operations out of the country, they are putting incremental production capacity elsewhere and investing heavily in automation.

For example, Foxconn usually hires the bulk of its workers for a given 12-month span just after the Chinese New Year. Yet at the beginning of last year, the company announced that it wouldn’t hire any entry-level workers, as automation and better employee retention had reduced its needs. Although upswings in the company’s hiring still occur (as with last year’s iPhone 5S and 5C release), the gradual rollout of robots will probably reduce demand for factory workers going forward. In short, many manufacturers—both multinational and Chinese—are producing more with less.

So as technology enables massive disruptions in service industries and sales forces, what happens to millions of retail jobs when sales move online? To millions of insurance sales agents? Millions of bank clerks? Even business-to-business sales folks may find themselves partially disintermediated by technology, and rising numbers of graduates will have fewer and fewer jobs that meet their expectations. They will not be happy about this and may not be passive. Finally, while state-owned enterprises will feel pressure to improve their performance, to use capital more efficiently, and to deal with market forces, they are likely, at the same time, to face pressure to hire and retain staff they may not really need. The government and the leaders of these enterprises have long argued that such jobs are among the most secure. They will find it very hard to declare them expendable.

4. There will be more M&A in logistics

As everyone pushes for greater productivity, logistics is a rich source of potential gains. State-owned enterprises dominate in capital expenditure–intensive logistics, such as shipping, ports, toll roads, rail, and airports; small mom-and-pop entrepreneurs are the norm in segments such as road transportation. This sector costs businesses in China way more than it should. With upward of $500 billion in annual revenues, logistics is an industry ripe for massive infusions of capital, operational best practices, and consolidation. Driven by the pressure to increase productivity, that’s already happening at a rapid pace in areas such as express delivery, warehousing, and cold chain. Private and foreign participation is increasingly encouraged in many parts of the sector, and its competitive intensity is likely to rise.

5. Crumbling buildings get much-needed attention

While China’s flagship buildings are architectural wonders built to the highest global standards of quality and energy efficiency, they are unfortunately the exception, not the rule. Much of the residential and office construction in China over the past 30 years used low-quality methods, as well as materials that are aging badly. Some cities are reaching a tipping point: clusters of buildings barely 20 years old are visibly decaying. Many will need to be renovated thoroughly, others to be knocked down and rebuilt. Who will pay for this? What will happen if residential buildings filled with private owners who sank their life savings into an apartment now find it declining in value and, perhaps, unsellable? Alongside a wave of reconstruction, prepare for a wave of local protests against developers and, in some cases, local governments too.

6. The country doubles down on high-speed rail

When China inaugurated its high-speed rail lines, seven years ago, many observers declared them another infrastructure boondoggle that would never be used at capacity. How wrong they were: daily ridership soared from 250,000 in 2007 to 1.3 million last year, fuelled partly by aggressive ticket prices. Demand was simply underestimated. Now that trains run as often as every 15 minutes on the Shanghai–Nanjing line, business and retail clusters are merging and people are making weekly day-trips rather than monthly two-day visits. The turnaround of ideas is faster; market visibility is better; and many people come to Shanghai for the day to browse and shop. There are already more than 9,000 kilometers (5,592 miles) of operational lines—and that’s set to double by 2015. If the “market decides” framing of China’s Third Plenum applies here, much of the investment should switch from building brand-new lines to increasing capacity on routes that are already proven successes.

7. Solar industry survivors flourish

Many solar stocks, while nowhere near their all-time highs, more than tripled in value in 2013. For the entire industry, and specifically for Chinese players, it was a year of much-needed relief. By November, ten of the Chinese solar-panel manufacturers that lost money in 2012 reported third-quarter profits, driven by demand from Japan in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. (Japan’s installed capacity quadrupled, from 1.7 gigawatts in 2012 to more than 6 gigawatts by the end of 2013.) Domestic demand also picked up as the State Grid Corporation of China allowed some small-scale distributed solar-power plants to be connected to the grid, while a State Council subsidy program even prompted panel manufacturers to invest in building and operating solar farms—an initiative that will ramp up further.

This year is likely to see even stronger demand. Aided by international organizations, including the World Bank, an increasing number of developing countries (such as India) regard scaling up distributed power as a way of improving access to electricity. In addition, solar-energy prices continue to fall rapidly, driven down by technological innovations and a focus on operational efficiency. While I’m on green topics, I’ll point out that the coming months are also likely to see another effort to create a real Chinese electric-vehicle market. The push will be centered on the launch of the first vehicle from Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology.

8. Mall developers go bankrupt—especially state-owned ones

Shopping malls are losing ground to the online marketplace. While overall retail sales are growing, e-retail sales jumped by 50 percent in 2013. Although the rate of growth may slow in 2014, it will be significant. Yet developers have already announced plans to increase China’s shopping-mall capacity by 50 percent during the next three years. For an industry that generates a significant portion of its returns from a percentage of the sales of retailers in its malls, this looks rash indeed. If clothing and electronics stores are pulling back on the number of outlets, what will fill these malls? Certainly, more restaurants, cinemas, health clinics, and dental and optical providers. But banks and financial-service advisers are moving online, as are tutorial and other education services.

I expect malls in weaker locations to suffer disproportionately. These are often owned by smaller developers that can’t afford better locations or by city-sponsored state-owned developers that are expanding into new cities. The weak will get weaker, and while they may be able to consolidate, it’s more likely they will go out of business.

9. The Shanghai Free Trade Zone will be fairly quiet

In early October, there was much speculation about the size of the opportunity after the State Council issued the Overall Plan for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), and the Shanghai municipality issued its “negative list” of restricted and prohibited projects just a few days later at the end of September. For the FTZ, the only change so far appears to be that companies allowed to invest in it will not have to go through an approval process. As for the negative list, while there’s a possibility that Shanghai will ease the limitations, for the moment the list very much matches the categories for restricted and prohibited projects in the government’s fifth Catalog of Industries for Guiding Foreign Investment. This ambiguous situation gives the authorities, as usual, full freedom to maintain the status quo or to pursue bolder liberalization in the FTZ in 2014 if they see a need for a stimulus of some kind. On balance, I’d say this is relatively unlikely to happen.

10. European soccer teams invest in the Chinese Super League

I know, I know—I’m making exactly the same prediction I did a year ago. True, Chinese football has battled both corruption and a lack of long-term vision. It’s also true that the Chinese Super League still trails Spain’s La Liga and the English Premier League in television ratings. That’s in spite of roping in stars such as Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba (who both returned to Europe this year) and even David Beckham (as an “ambassador”).

At least this year some things started to improve. After all, Guangzhou Evergrande just won Asia’s premier club competition—the AFC Champions League—a year after hiring Italy’s seasoned coach Marcelo Lippi. This international success could be temporary, but there is a shared sense in China that something has to change because there is so much underleveraged potential. Maybe Rupert Murdoch’s decision to invest in the Indian football league will precipitate more openness among Chinese football administrators? Perhaps the catalyst will be the news that the Qatari investors in Manchester City also invested in a New York City soccer franchise? An era of cross-border synergies from the development and branding of sister soccer teams is coming closer.

 

Finally, something that’s less a prediction than a request. Can we declare the end of the “BRICs”? When the acronym came into common use, a decade ago, the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—contributed roughly 20 percent of global economic growth. Although China was already the heavyweight, it did not yet dominate: in 2004, the country contributed 13 percent of global growth in gross domestic product, while Brazil, Russia, and India combined contributed 9 percent, with similar growth rates. Compare that with the experience of the past two years. China accounted for 26 percent of global economic growth in 2012 and for 29 percent in 2013. The collective share of Brazil, Russia, and India has shrunk to just 7 percent. It’s time to let BRIC sink.

What to Expect in 2014: Six Key Statistics

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What will 2014 bring? It looks to be a better year in economic terms than 2013 but risks remain (once again) on the downside. Key challenges to look out for in 2014 include the re-run of the impasse in the US Congress; the likely Fed taper and the flow-on effects on emerging markets; and the continuing impact of lingering unemployment and stagnant incomes in many advanced economies. The oil price looks likely to remain around the same level as it will end 2013 – on or around US$100 per barrel. Real GDP growth is set to accelerate in seven of the G8 (Japan is the exception) and in India and Russia, although not in China or Brazil where it will remain at 2013 levels. The 2014 consumer in advanced economies will begin to emerge from the cautiousness of recent years but will not be forgetting recession-learned habits in a hurry. In emerging markets much depends on how the major economies withstand the taper, but the expected increase in disposable income will continue to strengthen the numbers in the middle classes – albeit at a slower pace than in recent years.

Six key Statistics are as follows:


1. 138 million babies will be born globally half in Asia Pacific.

2. Global consumer spending will increase by 3% in real terms – just 10% of this will come from Western Europe.

3. Real GDP growth will accelerate to 3.7% with acceleration widespread across all regions.

4. Per capita disposabal incomes to increase in real terms in Western Europe for the first time since 2007.

5. The number of global households will top 2 billion for the first time with 89% of growth coming from emerging markets.

6. The average age of the world’s population will pass the 30 years mark for the first time. The oldest region (Eastern Europe)  will have an average age 19 years higher than the youngest (Middle Europe and Afica).

Big Idea 2014: China & The West Finally Connect

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West Highland Way in Balmaha

West Highland Way in Balmaha (Photo credit: abernmf1)

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Taliesen West from Taliesen Overlook (Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ)

Sunset of the Forbidden City, Beijing (northwe...

Sunset of the Forbidden City, Beijing (northwest cornor of the Forbidden City) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Visit to the Russian Pavilion at the 2010 Worl...

Visit to the Russian Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo. With Vice President of China Xi Jinping and Russian coordinator of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre project Viktor Vekselberg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flag of the Chinese Communist Party 贛語: 中國共產黨黨...

Flag of the Chinese Communist Party 贛語: 中國共產黨黨旗 한국어: 중국공산당당기 / 中國共產黨黨旗 lzh: 中國共產黨之黨旗 Português: Bandeira do Partido Comunista da China Русский: Флаг Коммунистической партии Китая Tiếng Việt: 黨旗黨共産中國 / Đảng kỳ Đảng Cộng sản Trung Quốc 粵語: 中國共產黨黨旗 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Emblem of Communist Party of China defined in ...

Emblem of Communist Party of China defined in the Party’s Constitution (2002), Article 51. (The Golden version for red background) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With Vice President of the People’s Republic o...

With Vice President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Big Idea 2014: China & The West Finally Connect

December 10, 2013

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This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers pick one big idea that will shape 2014. See all the ideas here.

In 2014, we stop focusing on the differences between China and the West, and instead start truly to connect.

There are four reasons why this is going to happen:

(1) The New Chinese Regime Has Shifted

The new Chinese regime, led by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, is more business-friendly, and is trying to end abuses involving corruption, intellectual property theft and fraud.

The pro-business stance has been praised by Western CEOs including WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell. He recently commented, “So, the Chinese government, which I have the highest respect for… if you see the new policies that the 18th plenum has just put in, this all goes very well for the Chinese economy in terms of leadership, direction, attention to detail, the change in the one child policy, is much appreciated. I think it will be a strong stimulant to growth along with the other performers, whether they be in services, social security or even land reform. Their attention to detail is almost unparalleled in the world. I’m very bullish on that.”

For a long time, Chinese businesses have understandably focused on the massive domestic opportunity, but now more of them are looking West and going global. For instance, Fosun is trying to buy the Rockefeller building, while my friend Huang Nubo, chairman of Zhongkun Group, has made a stir with his plan to buy 300 square kilometers of land in Iceland and build a golf resort.

(2) Westerners Are Now Looking To The Opportunity

For more and more Western companies, China has moved from being a bet into the future into a priority for growth for their overall business. Western companies have found the road to China hard – typically start with an export approach, bring a local in, and hope for a third time lucky. In 2014, I predict that more Western companies will get lucky. For instance, Apple will finally strike that elusive deal with China Mobile, enabling it to sell the iPhone and gain access to the world’s largest network of 740 million subscribers.

Such business deals will be accelerated by improving diplomatic relations. The mood during Xi Jinping’s meeting with President Obama, at the Sunnylands estate in California in June 2013, was better than during previous encounters with Hu Jintao. Professor Di Dongsheng, vice director at Beijing’s Renmin Center for China’s Foreign Strategy Studies, told TIME Managing tthat the Chinese public was “warm and optimistic” about the meeting, adding, that in Xi Jinjing, “This time, we have a new leader who is more confident, mature and natural than his predecessors,” and that ordinary people hoped to stem the negativity that had developed over recent years.

Chinese state media went further, with a Global Times editorial calling it a “milestone” meeting that offered a “glimpse of what China’s future might look like when it catches up with the U.S.” It added that the West is growing more accustomed to China’s new standing and no longer considers Beijing policies “dreadful”, to use the language of perceived affronts from the past.

Relations have also improved with the UK, which were strained when prime minister David Cameron met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in May 2012. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post noted that Cameron left “contentious human rights issues on the sidelines” when overseeing the signing of £5.6bn worth of business deals with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a trade visit last week.

(3) Cultural Exchange – East Pushes West

In 2012 we went ‘Gangnam Style’ with the breakout South Korean pop hit, 2013 was the year of the “selfie”, and, in 2014, I predict that many more Eastern influences will impact our music, food and popular culture.

Over the next decade, China’s middle class will top 600 million, and it’s no great surprise that several Western brands are doing well in China. KFC is the country’s most popular restaurant chain and a Buick is the top-selling car. Chinese enjoy premier luxury brands – from Burberry to Paul Smith; and high quality entertainment – from James Bond to Downton Abbey.

I now expect more of a push in the other direction – for instance, movie star Jet Li and internet entrepreneur and Alibaba founder Jack Ma launching Tai Chi centers in the West.

The cross-fertilization of ideas will be led by large movements of Chinese millennials continuing to come to the West on university exchanges, and more Western children beginning to learn Mandarin rather than Spanish or French in schools. This is echoed by David Cameron, who last week said:

“I want Britain linked up to the world’s fast-growing economies. And that includes our young people learning the languages to seal tomorrow’s business deals. By the time the children born today leave school, China is set to be the world’s largest economy. So it’s time to look beyond the traditional focus on French and German and get many more children learning Mandarin.”

As Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands that goes to his head, if you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.” Many students agree. Jacob Gill, an American student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, started learning Chinese because he was interested in Chinese culture and history, “I certainly think that learning Chinese has allowed me a different world view that shapes the way I look at culture questions and think about cultural differences.” Bilha Juma, a Kenyan student, adds, “The part that I find easy and interesting is the Chinese culture. The way the Chinese perceive life is quite amazing. They always strive to know more that is outside their culture.”

I for one have been struggling with the pleasure and the pain of learning Mandarin for the last four years, and while it’s a hard slog, I’m finally starting to get somewhere.

With more Chinese people coming to the West to study and more Western school-children and business people learning Mandarin, it’s an exchange that can’t be stopped.

(4) Bridging networks: social and face-to-face

At the top of Chinese society, the reality is that many CEOs have now earned enough money for themselves and their family, and are increasingly driven by bigger and more noble aims, such as to how to give something back to their country, society or the next generation. One of the catalysts for this shift is the China Entrepreneur Club (CEC). Founded by the visionary Lui Donghua, there is no western precedent. The CEC’s stated aim is that it is “dedicated to promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship alongside the sustainable development of the economy and society.” The best way to visualize it is as a group of Chinese CEOs, equivalent in size to the Fortune 50, who are friends, travel the world together and try to foster a collaborative spirit.

As the CEC goes global, another elite Chinese bridging network is welcoming in the West. Zhisland (Zheng He Island) is an invite-only social network, with high-net worth business leaders asked to pay a $3,000 fee in order to join. It claims to resemble, “a special fish pond in an Internet ocean, a closed-end social network of entrepreneurs who are provided with valuable information that has been carefully screened and pure ‘positive energy’ social relationships.” In 2014, it is launching the Zhisland Global Fellowship, offering a forum where the top 30 leaders from the West can meet China’s top 30, in a trusted environment.

(Disclosure: my company Xinfu, which means “trusted friend and confidant” in Chinese, is one of the launch partners.)

Beyond these trade fairs and elite business bridging networks, there is a much bigger revolution underway in social media. Last month, I wrote an article observing that Chinese internet firm Tencent has over 1bn users and is set to overtake Facebook. With Western social networks such as Twitter and Facebook blocked behind “the great firewall of China” (LinkedIn is less restricted and slowly gaining a foothold), homegrown equivalents such as Sina Weibo, RenRen and Tencent’s ‘WeChat’ have rapidly emerged to fill the gap. With distinctive and fun features like “hold-to-talk” and “shake” to discover other users in the same vicinity or around the word, WeChat is the first to go global, and it’s now virally coming across here. In just four months between May and September 2013, WeChat’s overseas users have doubled from 50m to 100m.

This is opening up the public dialog in China and forcing the public authorities to publish more data. For instance, the government has started publishing PM2.5 air quality readings in Beijing, prompted in part by Sina Weibo posts and a Twitter feed from the U.S. Embassy that reported readings from the building’s roof. Chinese people have become increasingly vocal about the quality of the environment, and hourly air quality updates are now available online for more than 70 cities.

In 2014, I expect China social media will increasingly encourage not just greater accountability, but also more free thinking. The challenge for the Chinese government will be to grow increasingly comfortable with giving up a degree of control. During a visit to Beijing last week, US Secretary Of State Joe Biden told a group applying for visas to the U.S. that “innovation can only occur where you can breathe free”, adding, “children in America are rewarded – not punished – for challenging the status quo”.

Jean Charest, who was Canadian prime minister from 2003-12, famously said that, “You can’t go east and west at the same time.”

I think in 2014 that all changes – with the Chinese regime shifting, Westerners seizing the unlocking opportunities, an unstoppable cultural exchange and bridges suddenly becoming effective – East and West finally connect.

For those of us who are fortunate enough to be involved in bridging between China and the West, there are not only massive business opportunities but also opportunities for massive personal development.

 

Photo: Author’s Own

Stéphén Dårori ✔✔✔*****


  • Peter Urey

    Peter Urey

    Fearless – Confidence in Sales and Strategy

    …..and what about the cyber attacks, human rights and Tibet? Will all that go away on 2014?

    9 hours ago

  • Susie Zhong

    Susie Zhong

    Membership Manager at Association of Taxation & Management Accountants

    It’s the economy that connects the world, not the politics. The East and the West become inseparable through the link of economy and business. Since China’s Opening up policy, there have been many foreign investments rushed into the mainland. The social system difference did not stop China’s growth then and it will most certainly not in the future. No matter whether we like each other or not, it is harder now to start a war against each other since destroying one country would lead to destroy the other. The recent downturn of America economy is a perfect example. The shift of focus by declaring wars against other countries rather than solving the domestic issues would not work as well as in the early twenties century It is inevitable that the East and the West have to put up with each other and develop together. Otherwise it will end up as an ugly divorce: Both will get hurt to some degree.

    6 hours ago

    1 Reply
    • Kenneth Tran

      Kenneth Tran 2nd

      Tech Rebel; Class Clown; 3 AAA Titles (Mgmt); Pioneer of Freemium; Award Winning Apps; Digital Analyst; Ninja Activist

      That’s why I majored in Economics! 🙂

      4 hours ago

  • Richard Little

    Richard Little

    Designing and Engineering Hi-Fi Loudspeakers at SONOS

    Jean Charest was not the PM of Canada…you’re thinking of Jean Cretien.

    4 hours ago

    2 Replies
    • Christopher Mis

      Christopher Mis 2nd

      Creative Retirement Living Executive, Focused Inspiring Leader, Effective Results Driven Sales and Training Professional

      Yeah that threw me for a second…

      19 minutes ago

    • David Grant

      David Grant

      Project Manager at Carpedia International

      Am glad somebody else noticed…

      2 hours ago

  • Heru C.

    Heru C.

    President Director at iSDM Consulting (PT. Inti Sumber Daya Manusia)

    Why article pic show a beautiful chinese female and western male? Even it might tried to show off the writer’s capability to take a picture (or to approach) with a beautiful chinese woman, it makes me curious though, I rarely find a picture which show a beautiful western female and chinese/asian male. I’m worried it become typical lately and -more or less- correlate with media/prejudice bias of western manhood. If it’s true, I think It’s quite sexism and racism.

    2 hours ago

    4 Replies
    • Michael T.

      Michael T.

      Consultant at Virtual Consulting International

      I agree as well, the picture had little relevance and, as a reader, it was distracting from the content. It really makes the entire thing look more like an ego boost than an attempt at a professional piece.

      16 minutes ago

    • Mark E.

      Mark E.

      Learning Support Specialist at the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, University of Melbourne

      | agree with you Heru, really what does an attractive anonymous Chinese woman have to do with the article? It just seems to perpetuate the sleazy foreigner stereotype of a middle aged guy going abroad to pump up his fragile ego by going after much younger women! At least give her a name and title…

      37 minutes ago

    • Show More
  • Michael W.

    Michael W.

    Journalist

    Mr. Tappin’s optimism must be taken with a grain of salt. Or perhaps with an entire shaker. Here are a few reasons why: — China’s business culture still is based on relationships rather than rule of law. — The government has suggested, through official publications, that the dollar should be replaced as the global reserve currency, a move that would hurt American consumers. — The Chinese military is increasingly assertive, a fact manifested most recently by the establishment of an air defense zone around the disputed Senkaka Islands. — Censors continue to restrict the content and tone of U.S. films shown in Chinese theaters. — Chinese leaders remain intransigent over Tibet. The breakthrough Mr. Tappin describes has been just around the corner for nearly two decades. I would love to see it arrive, but I’m not convinced we are there yet.

    1 hour ago

  • Dirk Biesinger

    Dirk Biesinger

    Co-Founder Allergen-Alarm

    Interesting indeed. Especially the last paragraph under (4). I actually had to circle back to see which government Steve is talking about. I think all governments need to “grow increasingly comfortable with giving up degree of control”.

    10 hours ago

  • Ilya Kozitskiy

    Ilya Kozitskiy

    MBA @ Grenoble Ecole de Management

    How about GlaxoSmithKline sales in China decreased last 3rd quarter by 61% , Volkswagen recalled 380K cars, Tim Cook public apologies for bad customer service… & “The perception amongst foreign investors is that it is getting harder to do business here,” says Michael Crain, Beijing director of administration for law firm Bingham McCutchen, which advises international companies doing business in China. “In most of the government investigations and media exposés this year the focus has definitely been on the behaviour of foreign companies.”/FT, 4 Nov 2013/

    6 hours ago

  • Richard Lindenmuth

    Richard Lindenmuth 2nd

    Partner at Verto Partners LLC

    Interesting. The legislation and the dialog are very important and meaningful. Outgrowing existing infrastructure is a significant barrier. One of the most amazing social development programs has been the Chinese very intelligent use of foreign investment, limited first to one provence until infrastructure was completed and then, cut off for new investment, the focus moved to the next provence. Truly unique even after watching Singapore.

    6 hours ago

  • Robert F.

    Robert F.

    Multimedia Designer (Freelance) at RainDance Technologies

    I hope to be moving to China in February. I’m just waiting for my work visa application approval. The US hasn’t offered me adequate full-time employment since I was laid-off in 2009 due to Wall Street’s destruction of our economy. I have many Chinese friends from grad school, and they all said that an American can most likely make a good life in China. I visited last year, and I loved it. I met generous, friendly, often open-minded people who hope and work for a better future for everyone in their country. There’s a market for my skills in China, and I see no reason to sit around waiting for the statistic of 40% of the US workforce being temp and freelance by 2020. Obviously, China isn’t perfect, but I’ve got no more dreams left here. China is growing into its own, enlightening, and improving while the US is back-peddling into pre-Revolution France. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but it can’t be worse than alternating between being unemployed and under-employed here for much longer. Forcing oil spills into US citizens back yards, cutting food stamps and increasing corporate subsidies, exonerating racially-motivated murderers… how much more moral high ground does the US have? But I should probably be careful about what I say, the NSA and Homeland Security may be reading or illegally tapping my phone. It’s SO much better than in China. At the worst, I return in to the US with “Fluent in Mandarin Chinese” on my resume. Maybe that’ll get me quality full-time employment once our economies are irreparably dependent on each other. 🙂

    2 hours ago

    3 Replies
    • Louise Wang

      Louise Wang

      Postgraduate Degree in Australian Curtin University

      Hi Robert, what u said is absolutely true, now China could still be a better place for foreign friends to work and live. Anyway, Chinese basicly hold this idea that foreigners can be more excellent than most of their work-place peers, so many prosperous future is waiting for ahead. Hope everything best to u in China.

      50 minutes ago

    • 한웨재Jerry

      한웨재Jerry

      Sales & Marketing

      Have you talk to headhunter who can find a job that you are looking for?

      1 hour ago

    • Show More
  • Megan Frazier

    Megan Frazier

    A Phone Call Away From Destiny

    Xinfu, if I recall, is much more “trusted subordinate” than a peer level relationship.

    6 hours ago

    1 Reply
    • Michael H.

      Michael H.

      Marketing Director

      Ha,you’re much better at Mandarin than the author is. Though,maybe it’s exactly what he defines himself to those business leaders.

      44 minutes ago

  • Jamie MacDonald

    Jamie MacDonald

    Passionate people developer

    One small note: Jean Charest premier of the province of Quebec will be really surprised to read that he was the Prime Minister for 9 years. I believe you were thinking of Jean Chretien.

    3 hours ago

  • Julia S.

    Julia S.

    Analyst at Goldman Sachs

    The equality and fair play brings people together. China is building the biggest temple of the world to host capitalism/materialism. The prevail of the free capitalists in China will ignite the reform of its political system and society, follows by the Renaissance of the culture. Our greatest hope is capitalism in the long run and there is no boundary of countries for that.

    3 hours ago

    1 Reply
  • Leo W.

    Leo W.

    Project Quantity Surveyor at CHINA HARBOR ENGINEERING COMPANY LTD

    we wont really connect with the west until our gov stop enslave our people politically and economically.

    16 minutes ago

  • Donald Wilson

    Donald Wilson

    Senior Partner at Dacheng Law Firm – U.S. Chairman of Entertainment and IP Department

    Point 3 is especially well made and on target. As a Senior Partner in Asia’s largest law firm, I have several clients setting up manufacturing plants and offices here in the U.S. I anticipate many more to follow in the coming years.

    4 hours ago

  • ipad H.

    ipad H.

    Director at JANSTON PtyLtd.,

    Yes we are developing a simplified Music system based on the Eight note Scale or Octave whilst all of Asia use the 5 note or Pentatonic scale. So it will be East meets West, when we release the SOUNDSEZEE*(TM) “makes music easy” Scientific interactive Music Palette Apps, by Janston Pty Ltd.

    3 hours ago

    1 Reply
    • John Graffio

      John Graffio 2nd

      IT Manager at Eco Farms USA

      Fascinating. Waiting to see and hear it.

      1 hour ago

  • Elaine Dolan

    Elaine Dolan

    Rolfer, Social Change Advocate

    Economy does connect us, and the missing link in both cultures is responsibility for the ecology.

    5 hours ago

  • Jacob P.

    Jacob P.

    Seeking an Internship in Legal/Compliance in Banking, Financial Services, Shipping or Natural Resources

    History tells a much different story. China’s dramatic rise in the last 15 years mirrors Japan and Argentina in many ways, but both of those countries were eventually faced with a much different reality. I don’t expect much to change, and I certainly won’t rely on the advice of economists who missed out in predicting the Great Recession- your credibility is shot!

    1 hour ago

  • Milorad-Misa Ciric

    Milorad-Misa Ciric

    USA, Canada, China, Europe, Serbia at International marketing and trade, Economic diplomacy and international relations

    BRAVO! Regards from http://www.Diasporagroup.org

    6 hours ago

  • Flag and HideBert Walker

    Bert Walker

    Student at RCC

    Are the Chinese still hacking into the Pentagon?

    5 hours ago

  • Neil Walsh

    Neil Walsh 2nd

    Communications services at Computershare – INTERESTED IN TRADING/ANALYST OR LEGAL/COMPLIANCE POSITION

    Zheng He Island. Are China’s entrepreneurs symbolically looking ‘across the seas’ with this reference? Chinese culture seems to be quite symbolic, from what I see.

    5 hours ago

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