Our global economy has opened up many opportunities for investing, business expansion, and professional growth.  China has been one of the star attractions.

As good as all that is, we must not put on rose-colored glasses when evaluating the land of the giant panda.  China has its share of troubles that might cause businesses and professionals to rethink their plans.  For example, Dexter Roberts, with Bruce Einhorn, report on the signs of decline in China’s economy and business environment (“Not Worth it” Bloomberg Businessweek 9/24/12–9/30/12, pp. 11–12):

“Disillusionment is a natural response to the diminishing opportunities of a slowing economy.  ‘Up until 2006 you could come to China and get funded for something you wrote on the back of an envelope, myself included,’ says Anne Stevenson-Yang, the American co-founder of J Capital Research, a Beijing-based equities analysis firm.  After 21 years in China she has sold her house in Beijing and is looking to buy in New York City, in case things in China deteriorate rapidly.” (p. 12)

Additionally, China has been experiencing a very serious problem with its physical infrastructure.  Buildings in China are typically lasting only half as long as buildings in the USA.  In China, poorly trained workers, weakly enforced or inadequate standards, and a government emphasis on quantity of growth over quality have created a generation of buildings and bridges that are substandard.  Christina Larson enumerates some horrific cases (“The Cracks in China’s Shiny Towers” Bloomberg Businessweek 10/1/12–10/7/12, pp. 18–20):

“In August a new $300 million eight-lane suspension bridge in Harbin collapsed, sending four trucks tumbling and leaving three dead.  In 2009 a nearly completed building in Shanghai toppled like a domino because its foundation was inadequate.  The U.K.’s Telegraph reported that within months of opening last year, the $210 million Guangzhou Opera House began to shed its glass window panels and developed large cracks in its ceiling.” (p. 18)

China is a massive, evolving land.  How strategically and rapidly it responds to these serious problems is anybody’s guess.  But without a wise and thorough response, China will be self-limiting its participation in the global economy.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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