Should we go to China?
Is this the best we can do?
There are more people in China than anywhere else.
Yet my grasp of this huge nation borders on ignorance.
I could do months of research to bring me up to speed.
Or I could ask you.
As an opinionated Dutch migrant, Dad raised me to believe European history was the only one worth studying.
Yet when Mum finally dragged him to China, his eyes shot open.
He realised that while his forebears were grubbing in the mud, China was streets ahead inventing paper, printing and the compass.
The West eventually ‘caught up’ but today we see an even bigger swing to The East.
I think this is worth watching.
What I don’t know
Below are my (mis?)understandings of China.
They came to me through various filters, so I’m keen to get them vetted by those close to the action.
We haven’t played Fortunately/Unfortunately for a while.
What better topic for this game than our biggest Asian neighbour?
When I was Personnel Manager for a global corporation, Chinese jets crashed so often that we had a written policy forbidding more than one director to travel on the same flight. Just in case.
I hope things have improved in the last 15 years.
China is buying a WHOLE LOT of our raw materials. I hear, for instance, that China builds a city the size of Brisbane every month.
This sounds extraordinary, but is it true?
Chinese products aren’t known for their high quality. But nor were Japan’s – at first.
And digging up stuff to send it overseas isn’t the best possible thing for the environment.
China’s doing BIG things in renewable energy and already leads the world in wind power.
If we’re so smart, why aren’t we doing this?
Chinese languages are difficult to master.
Then again, English is hardly a snap.
Studying Mandarin could be an extremely smart move.
There’s a large, vibrant population of Chinese Australians from whom savvy business people could learn.
It takes years and years (and years) to build enough trust to do business in China.
Those who know set up ages ago.
Have the rest of us missed this slow boat?
East meets West
We may be able to run our businesses (for a while) without reaching out to China.
But what happens when China comes to us – via tourists, expats and new corporations?
Do we really want them to find us ignorant?
Can we afford that luxury?
I suspect not, and suggest we bone up on this big player.
To this end, I warmly invite your additions, corrections, questions, impressions, admonitions, expectations and excitations
about all things