“China is the place to be”

Here in China it’s a wretched time for Pu’er tea investors, but otherwise things aren’t necessarily as grim as the newspapers might lead you to believe. At least that’s the claim of this China business blogger who just returned from a depressing trip to angst-ridden Minnesota. He says China’s woes are being exaggerated, and the sky’s not falling over here like it is over there. Interesting perspective, especially on the factory closings.

Yes, there are thousands of factories closing down in China … but have you seen what those are like? Many of them are shoddy Taiwan- or Hong Kong-owned enterprises making commodity junk of questionable quality and pushing it into the market at dangerously narrow margins. If this is you, then yes, you are a statistic and should take immediate action to remedy this situation – I suggest quickly removing yourself from the commercial gene pool. But since junk companies are not this blog’s key demographic, I need to assume you are smarter than this.

We can all be cautiously optimistic about China in 2009. Yes, 8% GDP growth is lower than the 12% we have been experiencing in the past few years, but it is about 9% greater than what most of the rest of the world is experiencing. So find your happy place, and dig down to locate your opportunity in China. Its here. It is not going to be reaching out to grab you; you’re going to have to look for it. But I am guessing that your opportunities among the native Minnesotans – as nice as they may be – are going to be limited. They are too busy looking at their 401(K)s that are sliding quicker that a Lutheran in Sunday-go-to-meeting-shoes the morning after an ice storm.

No, your opportunities are here. And with caution aplenty and wariness radar on full blast, you will find them.

While he’s more optimistic than I am, his post definitely made me wonder whether we’re getting caught up in pack journalism when it comes to the collapse of Guangdong and China’s manufacturing backbone, and whether things are really as dire here as some are saying (or as some would like to see). I just had a conversation with a reporter who told me they’re surprised at just how stable things are here, at least thus far. They said the job market was still remarkably stable; we are not seeing the white-collar layoffs endemic to present-day America. At least not yet. And I don’t hear from people in China what I’m hearing from literally all my friends and family members back home – that their life savings have been reduced to a fraction of what they were a year ago, and that they’re rearranging their entire lives.

I know, there’s a whole lot to worry about and a whole lot of pain down the road for China. But maybe those horror stories from Shenzhen and Guangzhou only tell a part of the story? And maybe this really is the best place to be right now. I’d sure like to think so.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 102 Comments

I tend to agree with this blogger.

In the last four weeks, I traveled to Shanghai, Lijiang, and Xian. Many shops in these cities have ads on windows advertising open positions. If you lose your manufacturing job in Guangdong, there is a service job waiting for you elsewhere.

By the way, Pu’er tea is quite good. After you buy it, you don’t have to drink it right away, like you do with Green tea. The longer you keep Pu’er, the better it tastes.

January 17, 2009 @ 10:48 pm | Comment

And maybe this really is the best place to be right now.

For whom? Foreign businessmen producing toys? Bankers? Car manufacturers? English teachers? Chefs? Urban workers? It really depends on who you are and what you’re doing.

As for the article, I love this piece of pap.

But they are Chinese … they have survived 5,000 years as a basically intact culture simply because they are not given to wild fits of euphoria, even in – or maybe particularly in – the good times.

A “basically intact culture” – one of the greatest myths in modern history. But if that is true “simply because they are not given to wild fits of euphoria”. Really?

But I am guessing that your opportunities among the native Minnesotans – as nice as they may be – are going to be limited.

So find your happy place, and dig down to locate your opportunity in China.

So it’s China or Minnesota. There aren’t a bunch of other American states, other countries in the world. China or one American state.

What a complete idiot.

January 17, 2009 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

“.. we’re getting caught up in pack journalism”

Also got that feeling. Some are predicting a perfect storm in CH: growth reduction –> unemployment –> wealth gap –> mass demonstrations —> “interesting” times

But my gut feelings tell me no. The ride may get rough, but no catastrophic I think.
It is going to be interesting to see how the government adapts to the situation and what changes this crisis may produce in CH economic/social environment.

And paradoxically I expect greater cooperation between US and CH for stimulating economy than most people think.

About this crisis in general, I think is going to be deep but short. See you in two years time. ;-)

January 17, 2009 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

Ecodelta, I think it will be deep and long, sorry – it hasn’t started, even though it’s already been in place for a year. I hope you’re right, but I see no cause for optimism at this moment.

Raj, it really sounds like you hate China. Do you hate China?

January 17, 2009 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

It has nothing to do with “hating” China. This small time punter picks out one state and compares it to a whole country? And the economic and social structures are totally different.

Additionally, no real economist or analyst buys China’s “steady as she goes” 8% claims, just like they don’t buy last year’s adjustment from 11.9 to 13% growth. Conveniently placing China into the #3 GDP spot. A nice little national pride touch when everyone is peering over the abyss.

It’s good to see things haven’t changed much over hear, though I wonder if this is the first time Richard has asked Raj “do you hate China”.

January 18, 2009 @ 12:06 am | Comment

First time. It’s the tone of his comment and the “complete idiot” remark and the general tone of hostility.

About the 8% – some economists do buy it, some don’t. I’ve read plenty of both. No one knows. But you have your own track record of seeing only the bad side, so much so that you named your blog “Bad, bad China.” So of course it’s pretty predictable where you’d stand on this issue.

“The small-time punter” compares China with what he sees and experiences in the place in America where he was. I compared China in other posts to what I saw in Arizona. Would you prefer he fantasize and compare the mood in China to places where he hasn’t been? Few of us can offer a panoramic view of how the crisis is affecting the world; we instead focus on what we see, what we know. He was quite honest, saying he was looking at Minnesota and not all of America. Now, he may be totally wrong. And maybe China doesn’t quite have 5,000 years of history (something I’ve blogged about here before) but it’s a pretty common reference, even in the respected global media, and is not an instant mark of an “idiot.” Anyway, the hostile tone was pretty blatant.

January 18, 2009 @ 12:23 am | Comment

one of the greatest myths in modern history

Nope, it’s quite sound actually. It changed some, but the base is there. In fact it’s really the only culture that qualifies though technically I’d say it died around 1970.

January 18, 2009 @ 12:36 am | Comment

“though I wonder if this is the first time Richard has asked Raj “do you hate China”.”
Maybe Richard is gone “native” ;-)

January 18, 2009 @ 1:06 am | Comment

Why is it surprising? That guy Raj always has this tone when talking about China. Same tone as NYTimes, same tone as CNN, as BBC. Not surprising at all.

deleted

Regarding British colonies in India and Africa. He says they are admirable.

deleted

January 18, 2009 @ 2:14 am | Comment

Actually Indian men seem to be pretty popular among British women, which pisses Indian women off.

I don’t think he’s Indian. Or he wouldn’t dismiss or trivialize the horrible mismanagement of India under colonial rule the way he does.

January 18, 2009 @ 2:55 am | Comment

Richard, I recently talked on the phone with my older sister, a single working mother in China, about America’s financial crisis, and she was very surprised. “I had no idea,” she said. She did not notice because the company she works for was not affected. I think the migrated workers might have been hit harder though.

January 18, 2009 @ 4:17 am | Comment

I think the depth of the crisis largely depends on where you are, regionally, both in the US and China, and what industry sector you are in.

January 18, 2009 @ 4:24 am | Comment

Actually Indian men seem to be pretty popular among British women, which pisses Indian women off.

I don’t think he’s Indian. Or he wouldn’t dismiss or trivialize the horrible mismanagement of India under colonial rule the way he does.

They are popular because they behave like slaves in front of the whites, all these decades of British rule made them good pets: “Hello Sir, come ogain”.

He is Indian. He dismisses the British colonial rule’s mismanagement, because he is an Indian with slave mentality. Has no pride of his own nation, of his own identity. All his self esteem is from feeling being part of the “British Empire”. If tomorrow Britain re-colonizes India, and massacres millions in India. He would also find a way to justify it, and say it’s admirable.

January 18, 2009 @ 4:41 am | Comment

re. HX and amigo

It is not that the Chinese people are not slaves. They have never been free and are the slaves of their own masters ever since, until this day under the CCP totalitarian rule. As the slaves without political rights in their own country, the Chinese is in no justifiable position to laugh at the Indians. The Chinese were also miserable slaves to the barbaric and genocidal Mongolian conquerors who almost exterminated the Chinese race and degraded the surviving Chinese to the lowest class of the Mongolian empire. Chinese would be very lucky and fare much better today if they ever had been the slaves of the British empire, for example, Hong Kong. Why the Chinese don’t rise against their CCP ruler, because they are also made mental slaves by the nationalistic brainwash. Eagerly calling other people slaves is the sign of denial of the fact that they themselves are exactly slaves.

Also look at the link, you will understand what the 4th-ranked GDP can offer.

http://club.6park.com/bolun/messages/35830.html

January 18, 2009 @ 6:25 am | Comment

@Hongxing & Yourfriend
Do you know the meaning of bigotry?

Curious, I perceive a very low opinion of Indians by some alleged CH individuals.
So much for the brotherhood of “white”subjugated Asian peoples, eh?

Hhhmm.. In the long competition run between CH and IND they may be in for a big surprise.

By the way, Raj stated more than once that he is not Indian, and if he were one.. so what? Another acute case of ad hominenism?

Or rather a curious case of blog ID induced bigotry?

January 18, 2009 @ 6:29 am | Comment

Do you hate China?

I’d be interested in hearing what you think the answer is, richard.

It’s the tone of his comment and the “complete idiot” remark and the general tone of hostility.

So I (may) hate China because I’m critical of an American working there? You’ll have to explain the logic in that.

January 18, 2009 @ 6:35 am | Comment

maybe China doesn’t quite have 5,000 years of history

First, he didn’t talk about history, he said that the Chinese have survived 5,000 years with a “basically intact culture”. Clearly that is not possible given how culture evolves and changes hugely over such long periods of time. There’s a big difference between culture and history – only an idiot would confuse the two, so the term was justified. And as yourfriend indicated, Chinese culture as it was after the Chinese Civil War was rather brutally smashed/damaged during Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

Second, if “China” has 5,000 years of history so do most other countries – Japan could be argued to have over 10,000 years. But because most people refer to the nation rather than the region I do not accept it.

January 18, 2009 @ 7:14 am | Comment

And now for something lighter…

China is the place to be:
————————-

Start spreading the news, Im leaving today
I want to be a part of it – Beijing, Beijing
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it – Beijing, Beijing

I wanna wake up in a city, that doesnt sleep
And find Im king of the hill – top of the heap

These little town blues, are melting away
Ill make a brand new start of it – in old Beijing
If I can make it there, Ill make it anywhere
Its up to you – Beijing, Beijing

Beijing, Beijing
I want to wake up in a city, that never sleeps
And find Im a number one top of the list, king of the hill
A number one

These little town blues, are melting away
Im gonna make a brand new start of it – in old Beijing
And if I can make it there, Im gonna make it anywhere

It up to you – Beijing Beijing
———————-

Or should I say Shanghai? ;-)

January 18, 2009 @ 7:20 am | Comment

Dont forget the original, of course.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W40y9W2PQxA&feature=related

:-)

January 18, 2009 @ 7:24 am | Comment

Second, if “China” has 5,000 years of history so do most other countries – Japan could be argued to have over 10,000 years. But because most people refer to the nation rather than the region I do not accept it.

The main thing about China’s culture it has a fairly resilient substrate in their religions and language. Even when it hybridized, assimilated, or was occupied by other nations it survived well. You can draw a clear genetic, linguistic, geographic and cultural line from the Huaxia down to the China of a few decades ago.

But yes I’d say at least now it seems like China’s traditional culture is on the brink of death, as is much of the entire world’s.

January 18, 2009 @ 7:28 am | Comment

As for “5,000 years”, it’s a little hard to say. Definitely by 1,800 BC until 1950~ AD or so. Whether or not the Shang borrowed much from earlier Chinese civilizations can only be proven when the 10,000 BC – 2,000 BC time period is more thoroughly excavated and analayzed in East Asia.

January 18, 2009 @ 7:35 am | Comment

Ferin,

Sorry, I’m with Raj here. I’m actually doing a bit of research on this general topic of late. The “unchanging eternal China” bit as we know it was in large part introduced into Chinese historiography quite recently (19th/early 20th century) by Han historians seeking to place China into the longer sweep of world history while preserving a bit of dignity. What’s ironic is that the ‘unchanging’ bit was actually an import, an internalization of European ideas formulated on the assumption that “Asiatic” civilizations lacked the impetus or ability to change/evolve on their own. In the cultural realm, these ideas were reinforced by New Culture era writers who sought to distinguish between the new, dynamic ideas that they were writing about and the “backwards, static” society they hoped to change. It’s tough sometimes to distinguish between “trope” and “truth.”

By way of example, you mentioned religion. Has Buddhism (in all of its myriad adaptations) been a part of a ‘Chinese culture’ longer than, say, ‘Christianity’ (in all its myriad adaptations) has been a part of the history of a ‘French culture.’ Hard to say. We have written records supporting both dating to about the first or second centuries CE. But here’s the salient point: is it sufficient to justify exceptionalism in the writing of a particular history?

Moreover, China’s cultural, political, and intellectual history is one of considerable dynamism. As for continuous, well that’s in the eye of the beholder. Many countries/peoples/locations have a “continuous” history, it’s a term with such a broad definition that it cannot be applied uniquely to any particular circumstance.

Let’s be clear, I’m not denying the Chinese people’s treasured lore of “5000 years of continuous civilization,” just suggesting that we should look at the origins of the trope and avoid the twin traps of exceptionalism and teleology.

January 18, 2009 @ 8:03 am | Comment

Sorry, I’m with Raj here.

Shocking.

“unchanging eternal China”

Straw man. Everything and everyone changes. In what way is the question we’re asking here. Japan? The Jomon were subordinated by the Yayoi from Baekche as early as 400 B.C. The Jomon way of life and culture has long sense been extinguished. It has been torn out by the roots. It ceases to exist. It’s dead.

Has Buddhism (in all of its myriad adaptations) been a part of a ‘Chinese culture’ longer than, say, ‘Christianity’

Buddhism in China compared to Islam during Mughal India is like changing your shirt compared to getting a lobotomy. Buddhism was adopted, and only by some. Islam and Christianity were burned into the minds of their conquered peoples. If you look at a map and color code it by the prevalence of specific religions, they essentially are a nation in themselves. This pattern of “transmission of thought” present in Abrahamic religion tends to involve less than voluntary forms of conversion.

just suggesting that we should look at the origins of the trope and avoid the twin traps of exceptionalism

Not exceptionalism, simply statements of fact.

January 18, 2009 @ 8:12 am | Comment

“statements of fact.”

And therein lies the rub: As a historian and a teacher, my goal is to destabilize certainties, acknowledging that while ‘truth’ may exist in history, our apprehension of it will be guided by sources which can be contested and debated. What I do in my own very small way is to help people to understand history in all of its glorious complexity and possibility, not to chisel tropes in stone, point to them, and command “There it IS.” If anything, I see my job as going up to the stone and defacing it with the phrase “maybe, but if we look at it this way…”

This is why we will never agree: You’re coming at this from with the zealousness of the converted, trying to establish and maintain certainty and (capital ‘T’) Truth for your own (I suspect personal) reasons.

These are two very different projects.

Ps. You can’t acknowledge my agreeing with Hong Xing on an issue and then two minutes later get all sarcastic (there’s a shocker!) about my agreeing with Raj. That doesn’t make sense.

January 18, 2009 @ 8:23 am | Comment

You’re just arguing endlessly on principle, basically. No one is arguing that China has never changed, they’re just measuring lifespans.

Whether or not this makes certain China-haters batshit crazy with uncontrollable nerd rage is aside from the point.

Fenqing: My dad is older than your dad
Ugly American: No, if you count the years where my dad was a vegetable and the time he spent being turned into a zombie manwhore by Jeffrey Dahmer he actually existed, in a way relevant to our human experience, for about 10 years longer than yours.
Jeremiah: IT’S ALL POSSIBLE IN HISTORY LAND KIDS, HOO-HA!

January 18, 2009 @ 8:28 am | Comment

I’m not sure about “China-haters,” but playing with you has been fun. Kind of like when I take a stuffed mouse, tie it to a string and dangle it in front of my cat. You know what the reaction will be every time, but sometimes when I’m bored it fills the time until brunch, to watch her dance around endlessly in a circle.

“Jeremiah: IT’S ALL POSSIBLE IN HISTORY LAND KIDS, HOO-HA!”

And to think I felt bad calling your mind “sophomoric.”

January 18, 2009 @ 8:36 am | Comment

tie it to a string and dangle it in front of my cat

..and watch as it screeches and crawls up and down your face with its claws out, leaving you to delude yourself into thinking you left the room with your dignity intact.

January 18, 2009 @ 8:45 am | Comment

She’s actually sleeping on my keyboard making it tough to type right now and is sternly resisting my efforts to move her. Clearly she has all the dignity our little family requires. We often joke that it’s her house, we’re just renting a room and providing food and beverage service.

January 18, 2009 @ 8:49 am | Comment

” We often joke that it’s her house, we’re just renting a room and providing food and beverage service.”

It will be an interesting thing to know what cats do really think about us.

January 18, 2009 @ 8:58 am | Comment

It will be an interesting thing to know what cats do really think about us.

Cats see their human “owners” as being surrogant mothers who provide a potentially endless supply of food.

January 18, 2009 @ 9:02 am | Comment

^ true wisdom

January 18, 2009 @ 9:03 am | Comment

Raj,

“Cats see their human “owners” as being surrogant [sic] mothers”

I hope you’re right. She’s be in heat for two days and is starting to look at me (and my wife, and my sofa, and the rock in my garden) with a “let’s be more than friends” gleam in her eye. I’ll settle for motherhood any day.

January 18, 2009 @ 9:08 am | Comment

She’s be in heat for two days…..

When that happens what you describe is the norm. All you have to worry about are the toms wailing for her outside your back door at night.

Sweet dreams….

January 18, 2009 @ 9:18 am | Comment

Raj: So I (may) hate China because I’m critical of an American working there? You’ll have to explain the logic in that.

When Lambchops asked me about my question, “Do you hate China?” this is what I wrote:
It’s the tone of his comment and the “complete idiot” remark and the general tone of hostility.

That’s my logic in asking you the question. It had nothing to do with Americans working there. It was about tone. I’m pretty sure most people here believe you hate China. If you don’t, you may want to look at the tone of your comments and posts about it.

In my post I didn’t quote the part about “5,000 years of culture kept basically intact,” because I saw it as just a dumb but commonplace repetition of an old and easily challenged myth. I think it’s easy to make the “5,000 years” mistake, and to confuse language with culture, so I wouldn’t spend too much time harping on a pass-through sentence that I simply ignored.

Jeremiah, it is thrilling to watch you flay Ferin and HX alive. Thanks again. Hope your cat settles down, or finds a playmate (other than you and the missus.)

January 18, 2009 @ 10:22 am | Comment

Raj is right.

January 18, 2009 @ 11:14 am | Comment

About? Because there’s a lot of stuff there – 5,000 years (on which I agree with Raj, too), about whether the writer is a “complete idiot,” about whether one should compare the mood in China with that in America, or about….? Or are you just saying you hate China as well?

My issue with Raj’s comment is more one of tone than anything else. He just sounds so bitter and angry about anything that is not negative about China, as if he just bit into a lemon. Other than that, I know Raj is a splendid fellow and this is nothing personal. It’s just part of a pattern of scorn and mockery for anyone expressing a positive notion about China.

January 18, 2009 @ 11:39 am | Comment

@ HongXing – “this curry boy”
What’s with all the Indian-bashing? Should we start playing to the lowest common denominator and likewise paint you with similar brushes of bigoted idiocy? (Good to see you landed the obligatory CNN comment as well, couldn’t have a discussion without dropping that in somewhere).

Pretty clear that Raj’s first statement was aimed at the author’s shortcomings. I must concur, it’s rather shallow in it’s construction. The argument that since

I’d still rather have a company matching my monthly investment to my 401k, be it dwindling or not,than say, well, uh, what is the equivalent for the employees here working non-government jobs….ah….

Dig in indeed.

January 18, 2009 @ 11:47 am | Comment

b, most of my friends in the US have either been laid of or are worrying that their layoff is imminent. None is very happy. I wasn’t saying China is the best place to be for everyone. In my eyes, it’s the place to be if you have the resources and means to make a choice. Obviously every country in any economic situation will have some industries that are thriving and others that are struggling. If at this instant you are trying to decide which is “the place to be,” China or America, I’m going with China, which is not that strange or unusual an opinion. I would say 99.999 percent of the foreigners working here will agree, especially those working for MNCs who are seeing what their US-based colleagues are going through. Now, we may well all be wrong (hard to measure) but that’s just the way it is right now – China seems more promising for many reasons I listed in earlier posts – more people willing to spend, the ease of setting up a new business or opening a storefront, relatively low labor costs, etc.

January 18, 2009 @ 11:56 am | Comment

5000 years or even 8000 years of Chinese history means nothing and contributes little to the modern civilization, science and technology while the U.S and the Western civilization shaped the modern world as it is today within short time. Quantity is not quality.

Chinese do not innovate but only copy the West, without appreciating the source of water when drinking it.

January 18, 2009 @ 12:00 pm | Comment

Note: I just saw HX’s comment to Raj and deleted much of it.

January 18, 2009 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

The Chinese do innovate. Not as much as the developed nations (yet), which is hardly surprising, but this is improving. We have Mao and others to blame for that. And China has made many contributios to the world, so please stop with the generalizations, which can easily be attacked as racist.

January 18, 2009 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

The 5000 years thing is really a stretch when many of China’s innovations (and Buddhism) came from India and the Koreans are arguing strongly that pulp paper and even the printing press were their inventions.

Additionally, western civilization is much older than many give credit for. Stonehenge is unequaled in Asia and the Christmas tree used around the world is a stone age ritual invented in Germany.

January 18, 2009 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

@el chino AIP: The Chinese copy AND innovate. For evidence check out James Fallows’ new book “Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China.”

January 18, 2009 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

I did not express my opinion accurately and caused misunderstanding. I mean the Chinese people are good imitators much more often than innovators.

January 18, 2009 @ 1:07 pm | Comment

Chinese do innovate, like anyone else, maybe even more, just check historical records.

Imitation is always easier than innovation, specially when you need to catch up. China at this moment seems to copy more than innovate. The explanation is simple, the gap is too great with other advanced countries (why reinvent the wheel), they need to get up their own companies in key technologies fast, they want also to be not just assemblers of someone else components and …. it is usually cheaper to get advantage of other´s people I+D work and ideas.
The problem now with CH is not only the copying but the sheer size of it,… and the effectiveness too.

Everybody did that in the past: Germany, US, Japan, Korea. China seems to be doing it bigger and faster.
But as the gap closes we will see, or be at last more aware of the current innovations in CH. They really do have, even some of the copying is pretty innovative.
It is a no brainer, they have the money, the market, the people (in great quantities. See the photos of last job fairs in CH) , the respect for high education and the need to develop innovative solutions to their problems and to get new products in the market. They are not going to manufacture cheap Chinese crap forever..

For a good overview of the inventions in CH have a look at Robert KG Temple book.

http://tinyurl.com/7sfh6v

Some of the innovations were used/rediscovered with hundreds of years difference later in the west. Many were copied and some of them created a revolution in their field of application in the west…. and some others are not even used today!

The longer historical stability of CH, the for longer time more rational form of government as compared to west based on feudal/nobility rules, a system which promoted officials by their intellectual achievements, created a better ground and people for making innovations and implementing them than in the west.

They may have fail for several reasons to develop an industrial revolution, maybe their system was too prone to stability/stagnation, maybe the very success of their system prevented it or maybe they did not need it,..until they had the visit of some foreign ships….

Yeah, they had some…. problems lately, in the last two centuries, and still have. But it seems they are fixing them pretty fast lately. ;-)

January 18, 2009 @ 5:02 pm | Comment

Some people are interested in visiting CH not just because of the food, the culture of the exotism of the country (from west perspective of course..)

But too see ancient/current technological developments, specially in infrastructure.

Shanghai Subway, Transrapid maglev, Tibet railroad, Bridges (new and old), the great canal, mountain paths, etc

There must be some travel agency specialized in that kind of trips.

January 18, 2009 @ 5:24 pm | Comment

I’m pretty sure most people here believe you hate China.

I doubt that’s the case. For those that do, in my view most of them are the ones who aren’t worth convincing otherwise. The tone wasn’t friendly but if someone is to think I “hate” China because of it then that’s their problem. When it is worth putting the record straight they would ask me before they made their minds up.

For me the article itself was pretty bitter, which was the main reason for my hostility. This is a guy who is annoyed that his home is in trouble and has been so blinded by it that he has written a piece that ends on the daft note about how people should pack up and move to another country with a very different way of life, work, etc.

So while he advocates that people should not get too excited when times are good, when times are bad he advocates them running around like headless chickens and instead of knuckling down should flee like rats from a sinking ship? If that many people really could find success in China, it would suck states like Minnesota down a plug-hole if they took his advice. If it wouldn’t have an impact then he’s writing nonsense about where people should look for success.

January 18, 2009 @ 7:16 pm | Comment

Raj, I and most readers know you hate China; trust me, they’ve talked about it with me. That’s okay. But don’t deny a part of yourself.

when times are bad he advocates them running around like headless chickens

Where does he do this? What are you referring to. Are we reading the same text? Quote, please.

The piece isn’t bitter, it’s pragmatic, at least when it comes to opportunities here vs. America. What he is saying is exactly in line with Jeremy Goldkorn’s panel discussion I went to a few nights ago here, where entrepreneurs all stated why it is simpler and more lucrative to start a business here than in America. It is consistent with the viewpoint of nearly every expat living here at the moment, at least those who are interested in setting up a business. And you know something, Raj? This guy is a blogger. he is talking to his readers, not to the entire state of Minnesota. He is talking to readers who are interested in doing business in Asia – that is what his website is all about. He is not addressing factory workers or farmers or people who run a neighborhood store. He is not telling everyone in the state to come here “like rats from a sinking ship.” He is telling his handful of readers, as I am, if you are interested in business opportunities in Asia and want to start a business now there are many reasons to consider China, where it is certainly easier to start up than in the US.

I detected not an ounce of bitterness in the post (despite a dumb line or two, like about the 5,000 years), and request that you clip the words you found “bitter.” You’re the one who is bitter. You read something in any way encouraging or positive about China and the bile flows and the hostility radiates outward. Your tone is totally out of keeping with a blog post that simply says there are more opportunities right now in China than in America and that there’s a more positive feeling here. That is not such an outrageous notion, and your reaction to it…. Well, let’s just say it underscores my point about your compulsion to make China look bad at every opportunity. Of course, this shouldn’t surprise us, coming from someone who was delighted with the choice of Sarah Palin and said “she’ll grow into the job.” But still….

January 18, 2009 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

Raj, I and most readers know you hate China

Really? Oh of course I guess they’re too “scared” to say so here so you can make such a claim without evidence. Well I challenge these mysterious individuals, bar those who won’t change their minds, to come here and discuss it. Or e-mail me – richard can give them my hotmail address. No response means no one feels they can back up their sentiments, or you’re misrepresenting others’ views.

I love China but it’s because I love it that I have little or no interest in talking about the good stuff as there are so many problems to deal with. If I had a blog on the UK it would be mostly negative because we need a new government. But hey I guess that means I would hate the UK too.

He is telling his handful of readers, as I am, if you want to start a business now there are many reasons to consider China

No, he says “your opportunities” are here. Not “an opportunity” or “think about it”. He’s saying “go for it”. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to consider China, but he wasn’t just saying that. If he means something else he should say what he means.

Of course, this shouldn’t surprise us, coming from someone who was delighted with the choice of Sarah Palin

Richard, for someone who has demanded quotes from me you could do with practising what you preach.

and said “she’ll grow into the job.”

What relevance does that have to whether I “hate” China or know anything about China and business? It doesn’t. Richard, stop being childish.

January 18, 2009 @ 9:20 pm | Comment

I should say that in retrospect it is not fair to assume the author is bitter – he is unhappy with the situation in the US.

January 18, 2009 @ 9:42 pm | Comment

Raj, I’m not going to pore through the site for your Palin remarks but you remember them – our whole discussion about her “growing into the job.” That was indicative to me of how when there is something you like, like John McCain, you will go to any length, no matter how huge the stretch, even to the point of defending the selection of Palin and saying she would “grow into the job.” When it’s something you don’t like you go to amazing lengths to cast aspersion on it – the post is bitter, he’s telling people to run like chickens with their heads cut off, his advice will ruin the state of Minnesota, etc. I ask everyone to recall your post faulting the UK Guardian for urging Americans to vote for Obama. You falsely identified the writer as “the Guardian” (it was a pundit, and that’s what pundits do) and went on a rant, the commenters tore the argument apart and then, whoosh!, you deleted the entire thread. And you call me childish?

People think you hate China. They’re too polite to tell you. I usually am, too, but after years of thinking it I finally said it. Sorry, just couldn’t help myself.

I am amused and kind of shocked that you find it so strange for a post encouraging people to do business in China on a site dedicated to helping people do business in Asia is so irresponsible. It’s a friqqin’ blog giving a frikkin’ innocent and widely held and generally sound opinion for people interested in doing business in Asia. You’re a hoot.

January 18, 2009 @ 10:10 pm | Comment

Ecodelta and Xujun, thanks for the excellent comments. The Chinese throughout history have been leaders of innovation. Mao helped to stifle that, but Chinese industriousness, drive and brilliance are irrepressible. They are making a great comeback, despite the continued censorship and attempts to control what they think.

January 18, 2009 @ 10:29 pm | Comment

Raj, I’m not going to pore through the site for your Palin remarks but you remember them – our whole discussion about her “growing into the job.”

Yes, I do remember them and I do not remember ever saying that I was delighted. There is a strong difference between being able to live with someone/not thinking their quite as bad as a person like yourself thinks and believing they’re the best thing since sliced bread. Palin was never my choice for VP candidate, and I believe I said that. But in my mind last year it didn’t invalidate McCain for president nor make him a bad guy.

You falsely identified the writer as “the Guardian” (it was a pundit, and that’s what pundits do)

Yeah, and then I acknowledged that mistake.

then, whoosh!, you deleted the entire thread.

Yes, and I re-wrote it to better reflect my more considered views.

And you call me childish?

I deleted that thread once. You go on about my Palin comment pretty much every time you want to slap me down, despite the fact that I’ve said I wouldn’t stand by that now and that a judgment on an American politician isn’t relevant to any other topic in the entire world. In retrospect I should have unpublished the thread – you seem happy to bring up my Palin comment all the time.

People think you hate China.

You said “know” not think. The former indicates that you believe me to be a liar, which is a serious allegation to make especially over something like whether I “hate” the country this blog focuses upon. The latter is a perception. I am happy to rectify any perceptions people have of me, but I’ve offered more than once to do that by e-mail and each time you’ve ignored me.

I’m still willing to have that e-mail chat.

you find it so strange for a post encouraging people to do business in China on a site dedicated to helping people do business in Asia is so irresponsible

In retrospect I was very unreasonable about his comments in respect of opportunities in China – apologies to Kent if he has the time to read this. There are many reasons to consider investing there and it should always be a consideration, even if I disagree over his implication that it is the place to be.

I stand by my views over his 5,000 years of “culture” claim, which was probably what made me react as I did. I guess I heard it one too many times. From now on I’ll just shrug.

January 18, 2009 @ 10:29 pm | Comment

Ecodelta, I was going to say that Chinese tourist agencies might be able to sell “train journeys across China” if they don’t already. Look at the Trans-Siberian railway. It takes something like a week (I think) to cross, yet it is quite well-known and I’ve heard of many people taking the journey as part of a holiday.

Maybe China has problems re the quality of older trains and infrastructure, but if they focus more on improving routes running West-East (currently work seems to be done more on the East coast) that wouldn’t be a problem.

January 18, 2009 @ 10:33 pm | Comment

Raj, please spare me the word games (think vs. know) – this is what is so irritating in these arguments. The sparring over micro-elements. The getting bogged down in minutiae.

Still, I appreciate your comment; thanks for at least considering what I was trying to convey. As to ignoring your emails, I don’t remember doing that – if so, apologies. And apologies for getting so exasperated. I simply think you are too quick to discard as invalid or stupid anything positive that’s said about China. I may have been less heated about it if you didn’t write the guy off as “a total idiot” when he said nothing idiotic. Maybe silly to some, maybe overly optimistic. But to label him a total idiot bothered me and reminded me of all the slack you gave to Sarah despite all the evidence of her being a birdbrain, while being so quick to brand this guy for something that was way less idiotic than the Couric interviews.

January 18, 2009 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

@Richard
“They are making a great comeback,”

Ouch! We are going to suffer a lot of competition in coming years. We see them coming already even in the specialized market where I work.

But if they can do things better, what the heck!

Hhhmm. I am still eyeing that Meizu minione/M8 thing. If they just decide to put Android on it.
By the way, if Apple finale introduces (legally) the iPhone in mainland CH they should have a red model available.

http://tinyurl.com/5amucr

;-)

January 18, 2009 @ 10:54 pm | Comment

Richard, thanks for that comment. I didn’t mean to try to hold you to a single word.

I hope we can have that chat – please drop me a line if I forget. I’m sorry for any of my comments over the last few years that you have found hurtful/arrogant/unpleasant/etc. Politics can divide people in bad ways, and we talk about politics or political-related things often. I enjoy reading your views and consider you someone worth being on good terms with – I probably wouldn’t get so annoyed by some of the things you say if that weren’t the case.

January 18, 2009 @ 11:13 pm | Comment

Okay, thanks. Tomorrow – it’s nearing bedtime in Beijing.

January 18, 2009 @ 11:49 pm | Comment

@ ecodelta

I know you aren’t claiming that the Chinese designed and built the Shanghai maglev by themselves. We ALL know that story. And 10-20 years ago China needed western firms to do all of the design and PM work on any large scale engineering projects, and design/build firms still have lots of business in China.

As for China’s innovation problem, individual genius will never be completely silenced, but the political situation does a great job at snuffing out greater independent thinking simply because true innovation on a broader basis requires independent thinking and that is what the commie bone suckers fear. Thus, in Chinese grad schools, students undergo an extra year of political education.

January 19, 2009 @ 12:00 am | Comment

Nanheyangrouchuan, welcome back. Nice to see you haven’t changed. I agree that China has stymied its own creativity since Mao, but they remain an incredibly creative people. Give them the freedom to make money and they can come up with creative ways to do so unlike just about any other people. In addition, Chinese PhD’s working behind the scenes create much of the arcane yet incredibly innovative technology coming out of Silicon Valley (and Shangdi). So don’t sell China short – the stuff on the inside that we don’t hear so much about but is just as important as what the customer sees. They enable it.

January 19, 2009 @ 12:09 am | Comment

The Romans were accused of stealing from the Greeks. But look at the great, long lasting empire they built.

Pax China next?

January 19, 2009 @ 12:30 am | Comment

@nan heyang rou chuan
Yes, it is well known that transrapid is German technogoly. Siemens+Thyssen consortium if I remember well.
But a good part of the track was done by CH companies. Constructing, putting in service and operating such a infrastructure gives a lot of knowledge, and advantages, to CH companies for future projects, inside and outside CH.

I agree with your point of view about the stifling effects that the political system has in CH development. Can you imagine anything so disruptive and able to empower the individual like the photocopy machine, the personal computer, the internet or the world wide web being invented+widely implemented in CH?
These throat chokers and mouth mufflers are doing a great disservice to their country.

Much of the future developments rotates around new system to make exchange of information far more efficient (social networking, web 2.0). That thought controls mania is making this future more difficult to achieve in CH.

The powers that be in CH should have ample experience of the consequences of lagging behind in technological progress.

They also prevent the creation of a strong civil society.

Will their keep putting their own selfish interest before their our country and people interests?

January 19, 2009 @ 3:39 am | Comment

Chinese creativity loss obviously cannot be attributed to Mao only; as we know before late Imperial period, its innovative creativity was already running behind by challengers from the West. The beginning of the New China the turned out to be an exacerbation of the short period of modernization during the republic era. China, for 2 centuries, offered so little to the human kind of the modern world (given that it also contribute far less in exploiting the rest of the world).

Unconditional China apologists beware, Richard and Raj are getting along better now. It’s great news, for sure.

January 19, 2009 @ 6:21 am | Comment

Raj – as a new commenter and as one who has worked in China for many years as a non-local, I must say you do come across as quite bitter and if not hateful of many things that you feel are China, you certainly come across as such. But you are right, you certainly do not need to try and convince me of whether or not you do or not as you have the right to your opinions. Its sometimes just teh manner that an idea is presented that helps convey your message better so if that is really what you are attempting, rather than just stiffing up conflict and discussion, than I would advise reviewing your mannerisms and tone rather than pretending you don’t care what others think. If that were truly the case, you wouldn’t waste your time posting at all.

4000? 5000? whatever the historical period is. China and the greater China region has maintained certain strands of its culture intact for quite some time. Much of what many would consider was good was stunted during the Cultural revolution, but with overseas Chinese communities, and Chinese communities not under the rule of the Gang of Four, so renewed influence to regain some of that original culture is happening. Furthermore, the current CCP leadership is far less stereotypically “communist” then ever and have been learning from the West, from success stories to failures. It will be interesting to see what the next couple years will bring as the crisis will affect China but in a much different way that it does in places like the US. Ultimately in China, I think, the issues will be form the “have nots” who number far greater than those who “have”.

January 19, 2009 @ 2:10 pm | Comment

@Jason
The problem is not a lack of creativeness, but the lack of a system that encouraged further developments and implementation of the byproducts of such creativeness.

A hierarchical political/economic system which fears the empowerment of the individuals may be stable for long time, but at very prone to stagnation. Maintaining the status quo is paramount, any advance specially if perceived as disruptive is discouraged. Sometimes pretty actively.

That is the danger of authoritarian regimes, be it theological or ideological centered.

Even when their original principles become hollow, this tendency remains, but now a feeling of illegitimacy permeates it, that could make the system more prone to actively trying to maintain the “current state of things” by any means at hand.

January 19, 2009 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

When I said empowerment I mean advances that give more power/independence to the individual.

I am not against government, event against strong government, but a government that serve the people not the other way around.

Ah! And a government for the people by the people,… not without the people.

Nothing is more dangerous than someone that claims to serve you… but that you cannot get rid off. ;-)

January 19, 2009 @ 3:33 pm | Comment

I was in Guangzhou a few days ago and had a chance to talk to a few college seniors. The news i got was that it is harder to find jobs in Guanzhou, but layoff (for white collard workers) is not as bad as the media said it is.

The whole Chinese culture argument is very interesting. On the creativity front, I can understand why ecodelta criticizes it. But he forgets how big China is and it will take more than 3 decades to undo the mistakes of Mao’s cultural revolution and decades of war before it. It only has been 30 years since we Chinese opened up to the world. The rest of the world branded china’s opening up policy as a miracle. Indeed it is. As I am personally living in China for a year now, I noticed how the Cultural Revolution had affected the Chinese society. Most of the older generation (40s, 50s) is not internationally competitive because the Cultural Revolution had prevented them from going to school (most of them are factory owners now). Those that were lucky enough to go to school had to study under an inferior communist educational system, which did not encourage creativity. As those, which were affected by the Cultural Revolution, become educator of the next generation; they don’t know how to inspire creativity because they never learn it themselves. This cycle need time to break. 30 years of reform is not nearly enough.

January 19, 2009 @ 5:32 pm | Comment

yu888, I do care what people think – provided they keep an open mind. I could be more pleasant when it comes to Chinese politics, but if I say “I don’t hate China – I’m merely exasperated with its political elite” then I think that’s pretty clear.

January 19, 2009 @ 6:27 pm | Comment

@NJ

I agree with most part of your comment.

And yes. CH is BIG. No just in land size. Somewhere found a table listing several CH regions/provinces, in parallel there was a column with countries with populations ranging between 40 to 70 Millions. China is like putting several “major” European countries together. Germany is just 82 Million.
Managing Holding everything together is not a small feat.

Hope my critics are constructive not destructive ;-)

January 19, 2009 @ 6:29 pm | Comment

daft note about how people should pack up and move to another country with a very different way of life, work, etc.

Right. Also, who says China wants these parasites and opportunists?

Chinese creativity loss obviously cannot be attributed to Mao only; as we know before late Imperial period, its innovative creativity was already running behind by challengers from the West.

Chinese people, on average, are inherently more creative, moral and intelligent than “Westerners”. Lets get that out of the way and put an end to your simmering passive-aggressive circumlocution.

The main problems from the 1700s on was a lack of natural resources (including stable, arable land), too many natural disasters, and too great a period of time without real conflict or wars to stimulate technological development- by the time the disease of Western influence reached China, it was too late for them to react. Especially with the Qing court full of lofty and corrupt officials.

As for China contributing “little” to humanity during the past few hundreds of years, they haven’t started any world wars or annihilated entire continents and countries full of people either. They also aren’t responsible for international terrorism and global warming (if you believe it or not) either. Nor are they responsible for eradicating 90% of the world’s unique cultures and religions via Christianity and other forms of bastard “Westernization”.

One thing that apparently chaps the West’s ass is the fact that China owes no one any apologies save their own people. They are constantly trying to retroactively apply “Han guilt” (Africa, Tibet, Xinjiang) in an attempt to cripple their competitor in opinion polls. Really puerile if you ask me.

January 20, 2009 @ 4:20 am | Comment

As for all this talk about “nurturing or suppressing” creativity, it’s mostly all bull. People are either inherently creative or not. Environment has an impact, but you can’t socially condition it.

Creativity is making the best use of what’s given to you. The fact that Europe can feed off the fat of the world (conquered through sheer luck and a bloodthirsty nature) and only produce piddling advances exploiting the labor and resources meant for hundreds of millions is not really something to be proud of.

January 20, 2009 @ 4:25 am | Comment

Correction:

only produce piddling advances, achieved only by exploiting the labor and resources meant to sustain hundreds of millions around the world, is not really something to be proud of.

January 20, 2009 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Ferin, you are so wrong about creativity that I suspect you are joking. Take kids who learn solely from what the teacher writes on the chalkboard. No questions, no discussion or debate, only memorization, rote learning and repeating what you are told. Compare that to people who are taught to problem solve, to question what they are taught, to consider different types of philosophies, to speak up and present their own viewpoint even if someone with a higher position (your teacher, your boss, someone older), to challenge and create. If you ever want physical proof, I urge you to visit a multinational company with a multinational workforce in China and attend a brainstorming session. This is something I have done – many, many, many times. One group tends to participate, one group tends to sit there silently and needs to be coaxed into saying even a single word. Getting them to participate, even in a room with no Westerners, can be hell. I’ll let you guess how the groups are divided. This is improving by the way, very slowly, and the ones who are now more willing to participate are those who have traveled, who do a lot of writing and reading, and who are constantly encouraged to think outside the box. But getting them there is hard work, and with most it’s nearly impossible. I have lots of first-hand stories about this. Lots.

I worked with literally the most acclaimed creative team in all of China and can state as fact that environment is crucial. These people produce their best work when off on retreats where they play basketball together and solve problems and do all sorts of creativity games that really do work. This is not to say that everyone is creative and that such games or environments will make all the dullards you know composers and artists. But these factors definitely bring out people’s creativity, as does the way you are brought up and the way your mind has been conditioned to work. When you start with the fixed notion that whatever you are told from someone higher up is a god-given truth, there is little room to analyze, critique and suggest creative alternatives. And the mind gets conditioned to listen and accept, as opposed to analyze and challenge. And creativity is all about challenging the existing paradigm.

This was maybe your most ignorant comment yet. Congratulations.

January 20, 2009 @ 8:26 am | Comment

People who are creative tend to be intelligent enough to challenge what they are taught on their own. If you’re working with drones, it’s because they’re just average.

January 20, 2009 @ 9:25 am | Comment

to: yourfriend

” People are either inherently creative or not. Environment has an impact, but you can’t socially condition it”

You might want to give some facts or appropriate examples to support this one because you sort of just dismissing the other side of the argument by simply stating your view. I don’t think people are either “inherently” creative or not. I think the society plays a big part of it. If governmental policy encourages creativity, such as the Tang and Ming dynasty, creativity would flourish. But, if governmental policy discourages creativity, like during the Cultural Revolution, the negative impact on creativity is unimaginable. I don’t believe that creativity is wired in our DNA. I believe the society and the values that the society processed plays the key role in creating or destroying creativity. Case in point, if you compare the creativeness of the Chinese society vs. western creativity before the industrial revolution, most would agree with me that the Chinese society is more creative. If you compare the creativeness of the Chinese society with western society now, no doubt western society would triumph. So if creativity is wired in our DNA why does creativity declined or raised at all (isn’t it fixed in our DNA)? If people are either inherently creative or not and the environment only has an (small) impact on creativity, how can the inferior western creativity caught up with the supposed inherently creative Chinese and surpassed it? If the creativity gene is a fixed variable and the environment is a variable, needless to say that the environment being the only variable had a profound impact on the Chinese and western creativity.

January 20, 2009 @ 9:37 am | Comment

Richard

Chinese PhDs are hardly “the” engine of thought in Silicon Valley. Indians are a plenty and Russian immigrants come with some very impressive skills. In fact, who are most of the non-caucasian professors and instructors in US higher ed? Indians, in business, math and science.

Sounds like you are promoting Chinese as some sort of “master race”?

@ ecodelta

How would Chinese engineers have known about the various engineering factors needed to design a track with no prior experience or exposure to maglev technology? They were told what to do by the Germans and the Germans spent as much of their time keeping the chinese from stealing as they did managing the project.

As for web 2.0 and other such fluff, I say “bah mantou!”

January 20, 2009 @ 3:01 pm | Comment

There are still an enormous amount of opportunities in China for those who know what they’re doing here. Opportunities don’t disappear in ANY country during an economic crisis, they just change. I am sure debt collection agencies are doing fantastic business, for example! As Wen Jiabao said earlier this month, opportunities will be there for those who stress innovation.

January 20, 2009 @ 3:30 pm | Comment

Nanhe, I worked in Silicon Valley for three years. Lots of the SW programmers are Indian. Lots are other nationalities. But in the companies I represented the lion’s share of PhD’s were Chinese. This is not a master-race opinion (idiot), it is simply a well-known fact that Chinese place greater emphasis on learning the arcane stuff that most Americans shy away from, like physics, semiconductor design, middleware development, etc. Of course, I may not have seen a representative sample of all Silicon Valley, but it was common knowledge, at least back then, that a disproportionate number of the PhD’s in the most gruelling and unsexy areas (unlike C++ and Java programming, for example) were mainly Chinese. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. Similarly, every single DSP company is run by Israelis, or at least that was the situation in the late 90′s. And again, there are reasons – DSP technology is the key tool for Israeli intelligence, the country’s highest priority. Master race? Hardly.

Bad news, Nanhe – the Chinese people are very smart and very effective, at least when they aren’t held back by tyrants. Wherever they go – Singapore, Indonesia, the US – they very quickly build businesses and play a big part in the community. You can make similar observations about Indians and Jews as well – probably because of a cultural emphasis on education, which I can attest to from personal experience.

January 20, 2009 @ 3:49 pm | Comment

Long time no log on, back here. Beijing is undergoing an invisible penetrating downturn, to most of grassroots like me as i feel among the multitude. The downturn may be digging deeper. But, the damned real estate is diving, good news in the cold recessionary winter at least.

January 20, 2009 @ 6:40 pm | Comment

Wood, the real estate market began to crash in August and was predictable.

There’s definitely a downturn, but in Beijing it doesn’t seem too acute – yet. Most of my friends, native and expat, are still employed, which is more than I can say for my friends in the US. I realize, however, that things could spiral out of control at any minute.

January 20, 2009 @ 7:22 pm | Comment

But, if governmental policy discourages creativity, like during the Cultural Revolution

The Cultural Revolution didn’t really discourage creativity. They just killed tons of well-educated people, who of course most creative work will come from. Aside from that, the climate of the era provided the average citizen with very little proper education and terrible nutrition which are both disasters for cognition.

People who are raised on tree bark and have 3 years of education aren’t likely to be very intellectual, no matter how talented they could have been otherwise.

Chinese PhDs are hardly “the” engine of thought in Silicon Valley. Indians are a plenty and Russian immigrants come with some very impressive skills.

The thing is all the best Indians leave. The Chinese, by comparison, is more or less an unexceptional cross-section of the general population. That’s why India is worse than China in every measurable way from crime rates to corruption to infant mortality, malnutrition, education and infrastructure.

January 21, 2009 @ 6:47 am | Comment

I should have said “from whom most creative work originates”, etc.

They were told what to do by the Germans and the Germans spent as much of their time keeping the chinese from stealing as they did managing the project.

And the Germans acquired key research that formed the basis of their technology from Jews they killed, etc. America of course was more than happy to take this for themselves, as were the Russians.

January 21, 2009 @ 6:49 am | Comment

The thing is all the best Indians leave. The Chinese, by comparison, is more or less an unexceptional cross-section of the general population. That’s why India is worse than China in every measurable way from crime rates to corruption to infant mortality, malnutrition, education and infrastructure.

And China is worse off than South Korea in “every measurable way from crime rates to corruption to infant mortality, malnutrition, education and infrastructure.” It is simply because Korea opened up a decade before China and India started opening up a decade after China. As opportunities in India increase along with economic growth more Indians stay back or return home from the US. This is very similar to what happened with the Chinese.

January 21, 2009 @ 7:11 am | Comment

Crime rates in China are actually lower than South Korea’s, but that’s not the point.

Even at equivalent periods of development, India hasn’t kept up with China’s documented rate of growth; be it gdp, productivity, patent intensity, etc.

So much for nanhe’s theories and his seething inferiority complex, which is mind-boggling to most Indians and Chinese.

January 21, 2009 @ 8:06 am | Comment

Crime rates in China are actually lower than South Korea’s, but that’s not the point.

Do you have references? Do they factor in the higher quality reporting and law enforcement in Korea?

Even at equivalent periods of development, India hasn’t kept up with China’s documented rate of growth; be it gdp, productivity, patent intensity, etc.

Whereas there are other areas where India is ahead of what China was during its equivalent period of development, like number of world class companies, inequality etc.

January 21, 2009 @ 8:24 am | Comment

Do you have references? Do they factor in the higher quality reporting and law enforcement in Korea?

Yes

like number of world class companies

Based on what? China has 4x as many in Fortune 500, Forbes 2000, etc.

inequality etc.

This is only because the majority of India’s population lives off of subsistence agriculture. That and because their richest move to England or America.

January 21, 2009 @ 8:37 am | Comment

Yes

The answer should include the reference, if you had a basic understanding of the question!

Based on what? China has 4x as many in Fortune 500, Forbes 2000, etc.

How many world class private companies did China have in the mid 90s, whose revenues came from around the world ? Of course govt owned monopolies don’t count.

This is only because the majority of India’s population lives off of subsistence agriculture. That and because their richest move to England or America.

Or it could be because the elite in China, with the help of the CCP ripoff the vast majority of Chinese to enrich themselves, while India’s democracy puts heavier focus on redistributing resources.

January 21, 2009 @ 9:02 am | Comment

while India’s democracy puts heavier focus on redistributing resources.

LOL. Good one.

January 21, 2009 @ 9:28 am | Comment

Btw what do you think about Brazil’s democracy and their “distributing of resources”.

Again, the only reason why India’s income inequality is so “low” is because hundreds of millions of them make one dollar a day and there aren’t that many super rich.. yet.

January 21, 2009 @ 9:31 am | Comment

yourfriend,

Although I know that you have no interest in a debate, in the interest of others on the blog, I’ll explain my thoughts on why inequality in India is much lower than in China.

In India agriculture is not taxed. In China rural agriculture was heavily taxed until recently. An elected Indian govt cannot survive by taxing the huge numbers of rural farmers. The CCP was generally more worried about relatively well-off urban population who can create trouble for CCP rule. So it made sense for the CCP to heavily tax rural agriculture. It is a similar story with the residency rules in China (which prevents rural people from moving to cities easily), which helps urban people at the expense of poorer rural people. India has no such rules.

Another important factor is property rights. When the city expands for a factory is established in India, many rural farmers/land owners benefit, because their land is now more valuable. This distributes the benefits of urbanization more widely. In China most of the benefits go to property developers, factory owners or the local govt. This system benefits the elite (developers, companies etc.) at the expense of farmers.

In India basic education and healthcare (which btw is of awful quality) is free for the poor. It is not true of China.

For all the above reasons, it is pretty clear that Indian democracy reduces inequalities compared to China. It is also why consumption as a fraction of GDP is higher in India. Lower income people tend to spend a larger fraction of their income on consumption than the rich. The effort to increase consumption in China to make its economy more balanced should involve efforts to reduce income inequality.

January 21, 2009 @ 9:52 am | Comment

My conversation With an Indian

Originally copied from tiexue.net

In Shenzhen, in a small coffee shop by the road, I was meeting an Indian from our client company, on a business trip to China. I started my first conversation with an Indian. Indian asked me: “Why don’t you ask for a receipt for your coffee?”

I, confused, said, “I can’t reimburse it, why receipt”?

Indian proudly said, “When our company sends us on business trips, all meals are reimbursed”

Before I can answer, Indian asked, “Do you know Tibet?”

I said I do. Indian started again, “This small country is between India and China.”

I replied immediately, “You have the Dalai of Tibet. We have the regime of Tibet.” I was about to kick him if he wasn’t an employee of our client company.

As we left the coffee shop, Indian mentioned Hong Kong and said randomly and stupidly, “Is Hong Kong right beside China?”. I was amusedly depressed. Must be very good propanganda in India for their citizens to receive this kind of knowledge!

So I replied, “100 years ago. China fought a war with Britain, and lost. So Hong Kong was taken away by Britain. 100 years later, China became stronger, and so took Hong Kong back.”

Indian thought a bit, and said “So Hong Kong belongs to China?”

I affirmatively said, “Just like New Delhi belongs to India.”

Indian changed the subject.

He’s from the TATA company in India, working as a software programmer for TATA. TATA is one the biggest company in India, leader in automobile and steel.

He started to proudly show me his employee ID. And said, “In my company in India, I can take this ID and face a scanner, and all doors would open for me.”

I said, “We can do the same here.”

India coughed a bit, and asked me, “Do you know TATA?” I said yes I do, it’s a big company.

He looked very proud, and said, “Is your company a big one?”

I said, “It’s not so big. Only average in China. China has about 12 cell phone companies. Our is just an average-sized one”

He felt surprised for the first time, “China has 12 cell phone companies? I always thought there are only 1 to 2 companies in China capable of producing cell phones.”

I replied, “Our company is not so big. We only sold 10,000,000 phones last year.”

When Indian heard the figure 10,000,000, I noticed a big change in the color and texture of his face. His left eye twitched a little bit.

I then continued, “Hmm, yes. Last month, our company just sold half a million CDMA phones in India.”

Indian was shocked again, said, “half a million. That’s a big number. How many cell phone users in China?”

I replied, “China has China Mobile, and it has about 200,000,000 customers in China. Another one is called China Telecom, and it has about 100,000,000 customers.”

Indian looked he was about to faint, and said, “Oh my god.”, his voice a bit unstable.

I continued, “Usually for a Chinese, he buys a new cell phone every 1-2 years.”

Indian still could not believe his ears and thought I was lying. So he asked, “In China, can a software engineer make 150 dollars a month?”

I was about to cough blood. How can India fool its citizens like this? I said, 150 dollars? That’s about how much they can earn in 1 week.

Indian was visibly shaken and could not say a word for the next few hours. In his mind, Chinese are poor, Chinese could not effort cell phones. Chinese’ salaries are lower than Indians.

Then at the end of that day, he did something that made me laugh for days.

He took out a CD, and came to my laptop, and asked, “Can your laptop support CD Rom?”

I thought to myself, “This is the level of an employee of India’s biggest software company?”

I lent him my USB harddrive. But his old IBM laptop did not support USB ports…

Then we went to our hotel, and in our hotel, I connected online using wireless. I then opened a friend’s MSN Spaces site, and showed Indian a few pictures of the city of Wu Xi. I told him, this is my hometown.

Indian was psychologically wounded, looked at the pictures, and said, “This is the most developed city in China, right?”.

I told him mercilessly, “No. There are a few hundred cities like this in China. Wu Xi is a very average one.”

Indian said, “Oh.”

I said, “Can I see some pictures of Indian cities”?

Indian, stated shifting his eyes, and touched his face, and coughed, and said “Tonight is too late. I am kind of tired, let’s sleep first.”

January 21, 2009 @ 11:24 am | Comment

Math,

My I suggest you take a look at the following help with you self-esteem issues :)

http://www.euroextender.com/

January 21, 2009 @ 11:46 am | Comment

Richard, are you really trying to talk technology? You are a PR guy and that’s all. Secondly, making cutsy little social networking sites is child’s play. I’ll put Russians, Isrealis or Indians against Chinese engineers anytime, any day.

If you are looking for real engineering, look at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. THE center for robotics in the US, even more high powered than all of California and who do you see everywhere? Indians.

Also, Indian companies don’t need state financing or political leverage to succeed abroad. Tata and Mittal steel are on their own and do well.

nice how you have to resort to childish name calling. We all know your bias Richard, you’ve gone “all in” in China and have nothing to go back to if things go bad. But we all know you’ll be a proud American with your passport if things do go bad.

@ Otherlisa

Obama may also mean “reforming” social security to exclude people over a certain income as well as peg payment increases to inflation instead of the lobbying whims of the AARP and forcing drug and medical equipment companies to sell at wholesale rates instead of retail rates to people on government programs.

@ ecodelta

How did the chinese engineers in the maglev project know the needed concrete strenghts, thicknesses, track angles and slopes with no prior experience to maglev technology?

January 21, 2009 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

Although I know that you have no interest in a debate

Good points. Then again most Indian farmers would starve if you taxed them too much. A lot has to be done still to increase productivity in the agricultural sector of India.

THE center for robotics in the US, even more high powered than all of California and who do you see everywhere? Indians

There are more Chinese than Indians in all of the top universities in America. You don’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about. Whether or not they’re PRC citizens, now that is a different story.

Indians in America have very high incomes, but their academic performance second to the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese or possibly third to the Jews. This is true in Britain as well.

January 21, 2009 @ 4:03 pm | Comment

@lamb chop
“How did the Chinese engineers in the maglev project know the needed concrete strenghts, thicknesses, track angles and slopes with no prior experience to maglev technology?”

The Germans taught them, and now they now how to use them, more than able to replicate the construction, improve over it or create their own construction design. In not many other places is that knowledge available, that is an advantage for ch engineers. Add some inventiveness, and they are capable now of doing more things now.

In a conference I assisted at a German university, one of the Chinese project directors told that the “key” was to reduce the cost of track construction. Nor remember well, they wanted to reduce the cost to either in 1/3 or to 1/3 of the original.

The maglev train itself is not so expensive when compared with the cost of building infrastructure. Operational Maintenance is lower than conventional rail track.

The chinese were also very much interested in the maglev train itself… There were some rif raf when some engineers took photos at night in the maintenance base they were not be supposed to do…. Siemens complained… A ch university presented later a maglev prototype….

January 21, 2009 @ 4:18 pm | Comment

Nanhe is going to whine up a storm about “stealing technology”. Why go that route anyhow? If you’re like India you can get billions worth of nuclear technology just by kissing America’s butt.

January 21, 2009 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

@ ecodelta
There was alot more espionage than just some pics, magnets were stolen, so was power management equipment, blueprints, laptops, etc.

As to the “key” being to reduce cost, that is typical chinese thinking. Let them use that crap concrete they use on highways and see how long their maglev tracks last. The spectacular wreck will be a major coverup effort by Xinhua, especially if it happens in a city.

@ ferin

Only PRC citizens are Chinese, others may be Taiwanese citizens, the rest are red-blooded Americans and all are better than you.
And of course, being Chinese, you would only look at grades. Those Chinese students (especially the males) also have no lives outside of the classroom. Well, maybe looking for Tibetans and Taiwanese to harass.
At least the girls can look forward to some dates and party invitations.

And the Indians and Jews also have great film industries internationally that don’t depend on government funding and political agendas.

Bad, can’t make a film china.

January 22, 2009 @ 12:29 am | Comment

I suggest everyone should just ignore nanheyangrouchuan. all he is doing is making bias opinions without a single fact. “And of course, being Chinese, you would only look at grades. Those Chinese students (especially the males) also have no lives outside of the classroom. Well, maybe looking for Tibetans and Taiwanese to harass.” from this idiotic comment i know he has never been to China, and he gets all his bias judgment from popular stereotypical view of the red neck society. I know my comment is a bit strong, but i think it is appropriate to stop this stereotypical comment as this idiot is using it as if it was a fact. The more you acknowledge this guy the more creditability you’ll give him.

January 22, 2009 @ 3:08 am | Comment

And of course, being Chinese, you would only look at grades.

They have more extracurriculars too. How else are they being accepted at higher rates than all other groups despite discriminatory affirmative action and a lack of legacy? Because the American Chinese supremacist conspiracy? Keep deluding yourself.

the rest are red-blooded Americans and all are better than you.

Well, you’re talking to a “red-blooded” “Taiwanese-American” (except I’ve spent half of my life in Taiwan). I can say for a fact that we don’t consider ourselves “red-blooded Americans”. We’re like Americans, just better in every way.

And the Indians and Jews also have great film industries

Bollywood isn’t that bad but the big budget stuff Hollywood creates creates is crap. It’s only sustained by the stupidity of trash like you.

January 22, 2009 @ 5:02 am | Comment

NJ, his reputation precedes him. Mostly people block him out.

January 22, 2009 @ 8:44 am | Comment

Richard, I’m in your head.

January 22, 2009 @ 3:35 pm | Comment

we’re not in your blog though, because I sent tons of internet trolls to completely trash it

January 28, 2009 @ 4:52 pm | Comment

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