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Last week I provided investment analysis and outlook conference presentations in Hong Kong and Singapore for a international financial market company based out of Singapore but headquartered in Canada. Back in my Singapore office I work with staff from Singapore, mainland China, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Sunday I returned to Australia and found much of what I had taken for granted in the previous week is no longer possible in Australia due to 457 and other visa process changes.
One of the themes of the Premiers Li's speech at the Australia China Trade Economic Co-operation forum in Sydney was the recognition of the co-existence of two civilizations. He said that multi-lateralism and diverse civilization is good for peace and stability. It was a message well received by the audience and the panel of top business leaders. In the broader Australian media it was a different and less supportive response. Why are Westerners always scolding China? It’s a question my Chinese colleagues have been asking more frequently in recent weeks. It was a question I was asked by Chinese media reporters who were covering the Premiers visit.
Recently I spoke with an eager potential business exporter to China. He exhibited all the signs of the China Syndrome. This is a dangerous infection that often leads to financial ruin. The China syndrome is a collection of untested beliefs about China and the business opportunities offered.Here are five of the symptoms.
China is big and the West still has a fascination with the big data heavy industry figures coming out of China. This fascination belies the astounding growth in the services sector and new business models like O2O – Online to offline. The days when a blast furnace figured on Maoist propaganda posters have long gone. Now the more representative poster is a 30 year old Chinese tourist taking a selfie at an iconic destination in Europe or the US.
What is more important? A psychological level of US$3 trillion or the fact that President Trump has called 18 heads of State but , until late last week, not called President Xi Jinping? Many observers believe the fall in Chinas foreign currency reserves to $US2.9982 trillion is the more important story.
It is a significant story, but the relations between the US and China are more important.