In the light of President-elect Trump's campaign slogan, 'Make America Great Again', and his campaign to bring jobs back to this country that had been lost overseas, I found this perspective on doing business in China to be rather interesting. Compare and contrast to our US experience.
The hotels were amazing. Equal or better than anything you might find here or in Europe, at a much lower cost. The infrastructure has improved dramatically. From brand new major super-highways to bullet trains cruising along at 180mph. The cities were surprisingly clean and well organized. Traffic jams were omnipresent as was caustic air pollution. While the food has definitely improved, you no longer need to wonder whether your chicken is really chicken or some other creature, it still leaves much to be desired.
For an alleged police state, we saw very few police or military. Internet service was fast, but local service blocked Google, YouTube, Facebook and my podcast server Libsyn. However, my Verizon cellular and data service worked flawlessly. Our host was amazed that there were no blocked sites on Verizon, even though it was using the same network that his smartphone used. You could always use a VPN to avoid government firewall blocking.
In Yiwu we visited the largest general goods wholesale market on the planet. The building stretches for 6 kilometers and is four stories high. Every type of good you can imagine was available, from numerous vendors at amazingly cheap prices. Usually at less than one-tenth the price you’d pay in a store in the States. Housewares, outdoor goods, electronics, jewelry, hardware, etc. It ran for literally miles and miles. At this point I realized that no matter how effective a President Trump may be, he’s not going to bring back this type of manufacturing to America. The war has been fought and lost. Unless he’s putting a 200 percent tariff on these goods, they’re going to be made in China.
There's more at the link.
Basically, China learned from the West what it takes to be a First World economy - then improved on that with its own dash of indigenous culture. In some aspects, of course, it's far from an improvement to our eyes (particularly in areas such as human rights, freedom of expression, etc.), but from the perspective of the Chinese people, it's far, far better than what they had. They'll put up with the negatives in order to get the positives.
I wonder whether American voters will have the sense to do the same thing? We simply can't bring back the 'old jobs', because most of those industries no longer exist in the form that they did when they operated here. Steel plants were labor-intensive; now they're robot-intensive. 'Work smarter, not harder' has become a worldwide mantra; but how many of our school-leavers have been educated to the point where they can work smarter? I venture to doubt that the average US public school produces work-ready employees. Most of them need help tying their metaphorical shoelaces!
It's going to be an interesting ride. Just as China learned from us, perhaps it's time for us to learn from China and other countries, and use that to shape what we hope will be our new success story. Your thoughts?