The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Most Influential Place On Earth …
December 5, 2012, 6:11 am
Filed under: Comment

I found this post in my drafts folder, but I thought it was worth putting up because I recently had a ‘discussion’ with a client about how the World’s economic power had truly returned to China.


Yes, because the West was only the dominant power for the past few hundred years and – as we all know – that is definitely not the case anymore.

Of course many people will say that China has achieved that power by exploiting its people and foreign investors so they can go out and buy, buy, buy – and while there is more than an element of truth to all that – I would remind people that [1] there’s a hell of a lot of people/companies who exploited China’s cheap manufacturing for their own gain [2] there’s a hell of a lot of foreign brands that are, in essence, culturally blackmailing Chinese citizens into paying premium prices for average products and [3] no company/Government has had a gun put to their head was forced to sell.

Sure, it’s a very complicated situation – with many twists, turns and perspectives – but I do get very sick of certain people’s myopic view that China is a nation of evil without ever looking in their own backyard.

Anyway, that all aside, the Heritage Federation of America recently put up an interactive map that tracks China’s global investments.

It’s amazing and – if you’re a foreign government – frightening, however as I said earlier, the issue isn’t that it’s happened, it’s why it’s happened and how you need to deal with it rather than just fighting against it.

That approach could be adopted for more than just addressing China’s increasing influence couldn’t it.


28 Comments so far
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The shenanigans of the Chinese government are, in many ways, no different to the shenanigans of other governments, they’re just worse at hiding it. Of course there are exceptions, major exceptions, but in terms of economic growth, they face many of the same issues other markets have, just on an enourmous scale.
I think your penultimate paragraph is very important. Why instead of what. A basic insight starting point but one that seems to be rarely examined in these circumstances, preferring to explain it simply as supply and demand.

Comment by George

Even the Swiss government has a closet full of evil deeds so its hardly surprising the Chinese government have the same. I’m not saying that’s right, just accidentally agreeing with Rob’s point.

Comment by DH

Well said.

Comment by Pete

oh for fucks sake, tell me youre not talking political fucking shit. i could just about stand this blog when it talked planning bollocks, but this might be the straw that fucks it all up once and for all.

what you say is right. i just dont give a fuck about hearing it on a bollocks blog about whatever the fuck this blog is supposed to be about.

Comment by andy@cynic

I also want to say how obvious your love for Asia is. While you acknowledge the questionable and the objectionable, you also fight and celebrate its achievements and honour. No wonder you do so well over there. Wieden is very fortunate to have you. Finally that interactive map is fantastic. Thank you for the link.

Comment by George

Rob has always said that to do well in Asia/China, you need to want to live there. I know from personal experience that it doesn’t matter what agency you work for or, to a certain extent, how much money you get paid, the place is not for the faint hearted and sometimes, only your love for the country can get you through. It worked for me for about a year. It appears Rob’s going for the full 12 rounds.

Comment by Pete

campbell. the cockroach of expats.

Comment by andy@cynic

Rob doesn’t give a shit about unfair trade, labor practices or human rights as long as China keeps making his favourite tech cheap for him to buy.

Comment by DH

Just seen my new 56″ television was made in China. I’m with Rob on this.

Comment by DH

I think that can be classed as libelous Dave. And before you say it, yes – I should know!

Comment by Rob

Arguably, and I’m not ridiculing its mischiefs, for its population size it is a relatively peaceful country. And as a foreign investor your investment is much saver than in France after Hollande nationalised a part of Unilever recently.

Comment by Paul

In addition Paul – and from a cultural point of view – it doesn’t like conflict at all.

Of course there are many things that are wrong here, but I would say many of the other things China get wrongly labelled/accused of doing, are the result of misunderstanding, fear or just plain old ignorance.

Comment by Rob

why are you writing comments so early campbell. and why are you thinking of doing what bazza told me youre thinking about doing? are you fucking insane? maybe thats why i put up with you. you keep shit interesting. or confuckingfusing.

Comment by andy@cynic

But why do you think China is still so eager to ‘control’ its own critical and opposing voices? Could these opposing voices really make an impact on Chinese life, society, those in power? Are they a real threat or merely treated as one out of habit? Because on a fundamental level the greatest reforms in modern China have already happened (I think). I’m very curious about your opinion on this.

Comment by Paul

1. Why does Bazza know something I don’t.
2. Why is Andy being discreet.
3. What is going on Rob?

This is much more important than any geopolitical issue.

Comment by DH

My lips are sealed.

Comment by Bazza

he only told you so youd feel bad and send him an ipad mini. you didnt did you? gullible twat.

Comment by andy@cynic

He didn’t. But it’s OK, I have enough of them already. Yes. Plural.

I’ll go and hang my head in shame now …

Comment by Rob

Hi Paul … I think those opposing voices could definitely have an impact on Chinese life and society – especially in markets that are not enjoying the same level of prosperity that other cities experience.

What that ‘impact’ would be, is open to opinion … it probably wouldn’t be as pragmatic as many suggest [especially because at the end of the day, people love their country] … however the fear of the implications of what could happen is enough to ensure the Government will continue to try and ‘control’ the flow of information that goes on.

That said, it’s much more liberal now – though that is also so the Government know what is going on and can act swiftly, than necessarily them having a more liberal approach to people voicing their opinions.

I wrote something about this a while back that you may – or probably won’t – find interesting.

Comment by Rob

Thanks! Enjoyed reading it.

Comment by Paul

Thought provoking, I love that you respect where you work, not all westerners do

Comment by northern

Thought provoking? Who are you and where is the real Northern?

Comment by Rob

If you write something good you get praise
You post about obscure emails you get abuse
And you won’t get any abuse from me until I feel I’ve escaped lateness purgatory or you do something worse

Comment by Northern

what the fuck is worse than writing about an email from nineteen fucking ninety five? trust me northern, it isnt writing some planning school report a few fucking days late.

thats not a compliment. just a fucking fact.

Comment by andy@cynic

And I’ve done APSOTW thought I know you’ll never let me forget how late I am

Comment by northern

I’ll save that ammunition for later.

Comment by Rob

Economically, China is becoming more powerful everyday. I’ve also read a lot of reports and articles about the country flexing some muscles and bullying small neighboring countries. They’re also spending a lot of money on their military (Do China also want to be the number one in terms of military power (shudder!)?

Comment by JamD

What I find interesting is that people react this way when China does it, but when America – the symbol of international bullying – did it, it was about ‘freedom’.

I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that the hypocrisy exists.

Comment by Rob

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