The Rise of China in a Post-American World

It was a perfect afternoon in the Emerald City. Most people were out,
almost naked, by the lake soaking under the sun. Me and ~myWife spent the
afternoon lying on the grass, reading under a tree.

I opened my copy of The Post-American World and picked up where I left off: China. 

"To
get a sense of how completely China dominates low-cost manufacturing,
take a look at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is one of the world’s largest
corporations. Its revenues are eight times those of Microsoft and
account for 2 percent of America’s GDP. It employs 1.4 million people,
more than GM, Ford, GE, and IBM put together. It is legendary for its
efficient–some would say ruthless–efforts to get the lowest price
possible for its customers. To that end, it has adeptly used
technology, managerial innovation, and, perhaps most significantly,
low-cost manufacturers. Wal-Mart imports about $18 billion worth of
goods from China each year. The vast majority of its foreign suppliers
are there. Wal-Mart’s global supply chain is really a China supply
chain.

"China has also pursued a distinctly open trade and
invesment policy. For this among many reasons, it is not the new Japan.
Beijing has not adopted the Japanese (or South Korean) path of
development, which was an export-led strategy that kept the domestic
market and society closed. Instead, China opened itself up to the
world. (It did this partly because it had no choice, since it lacked
the domestic savings of Japan or South Korea.) Now China’s trade-to-GDP
ratio is 70 percent, which makes it one of the most open economies in
the world. Over the last fifteen years, imports from the United States
have increased more than sevenfold. Procter & Gamble now earns $2.5
billion a year in China, and familiar products like Head &
Shoulders shampoo and Pampers diapers are extraodinarily popular with
consumers there. Starbucks predicts that by 2010 it will have more
caf├ęs in China than in the United States. China is also very open to
international brand names. whether of goods or people. Foreign
architects have built most of the gleaming towers and grand
developments that define the new China. And when looking for the man to
direct China’s debut on the world stage, the Olympic opening
festivities, Beijing chose an American, Steven Spielberg. It is
inconceivable that Japan or India would have given a foreigner such a
role."

Speaking of China, nowadays, whenever China is
mentioned in the mainstream media, often we only either hear about its unprecedented
economic growth or its global environmental impact. But China is
comprised of more than a billion people and we rarely get a glimpse the
human faces behind its economic boom. Enter, FRONTLINE’s documentary, Young & Restless in China.

"An intimate look into the lives of nine young Chinese, coming of age in a society that’s changing at breathtaking speed." [watch it here]

Here’s a preview.

I
watched it on TV last night. It’s another superb documentary from
FRONTLINE. The documentary provided the viewers an intimate perspective
on how young people from different social status are affected by
China’s rapid economic growth. I almost got teary-eyed watching the
program. Why? Being an immigrant worker myself who grew up in a developing country, I could relate with some of the characters in the
documentary.

If you want to understand the human side of the rise of China, the FRONTLINE documentary is a must-see.