Will China succeed in it’s attempt to move more from a manufacturing economy to a services economy? (My numbers could be off, here, and don’t hold me to this — but as I remember services currently make up roughly 80 percent of the US economy; while in China it is just over 40 percent.)
See what the following three pieces have to say on the issue:
- NY Times, The Dictatorship of Talent.
- James Fallows of the always good, Atlantic Magazine, has a great post titled,”‘The’ Way vs. ‘A’ Way (Japan v China dept),” comparing Japan’s way of doing things versus China’s (his post shows that yes, pictures are worth a thousand words).
- China Business Network podast, What If! Innovation
What is your current hypothesis on the issue of whether China can, will and when successfully transition to from a manufacturing economy to a services economy? On the trip will you be open to collecting evidence that only supports or refutes your hypothesis? And how will you reconcile the two bodies of evidence? And in a week or two, can you collect and observe enough evidence to reach a reliable statistical conclusion re: your business hypothesis?
One suggestion I can provide is while we are in China, step back and watch, and I mean really watch and observe, people crossing a busy intersection.
Hundreds of people, numerous cars, numerous bicycles, no rules, chaos (at least to us). Yet, it somehow works — everybody gets to the other side and on their way for the day. It is not easy, it is not pretty, and may not be how we would do it, and can be unbelievably frustrating (e.g., how they are handling the environment), but somehow, someway, sometime they get it done. This metaphor is insignificant. And the Chinese have been moving forward, at certain times faster than others and even at times they have moved backward – e.g., the Cultural Revolution — for the better part of 3,700 years, so why would that change? And will this shift in their economy be a good or bad thing?
The answer is probably yes and no, and it also depends on who you ask and what stake they have to win or lose in the game, and whether they are a member of the optimist club or the doom and gloom club.