Why is China’s Economy Slowing Down Fast?

1. No innovation or research spirit, short sighted business practices: Businesses copying, counterfeiting, imitating, short-cutting almost on everything to minimize costs and make quick bucks.

2. Government manipulation of market. Manipulation on currency, giving improper subsidy to preferred Chinese businesses, banning and blocking foreign competitors on internet, putting high tarrif on imported goods.

3. Unproductive business practices. Excessive overtime work, unrealistic fast paced deadlines setting, Culture Revolution-like back stabbing, power struggling company culture.

4. Corruption on all levels. Bribery, heavily depending on “Guang Xi”(connections) for everything, going back-doors, taking under-tables.

5. Brain drain and money drain. Large numbers of intelligent, affluent and wealthy people emigrated with their money, knowledge and skills.

Service Related Businesses in China

In order to have good service related businesses, you must have more polite and nice people in the society. After decades of prosperous economy development driven by mostly manufacturing in China is slowing down, China is trying to promote service related businesses at home such as senior caring facilities, hotel and restaurants…etc. You might think China will have no problem to make this smooth transition since the economy development in last few decades in China was extremely fast. Well, I will say it will take China much longer time to have top notched service related businesses in all spectra, and the very reason is because of China’s super fast economy development.

The extremely fast economy development in China has elevated many people to middle class, millionaire or billionaire status, but it failed to elevate most people’s sense of responsibility, integrity or etiquette in the same time. In contrary, the fast boomed economy made people become greedy money chasers, they became very selfish, rude, and hostile to others. Everyone became everyone else’ competitors, For being successful, stepping on other people’s backs in order to climb to the top becomes necessary. People lost the compassion towards others because they were not considered as human anymore but competitors, and if they are my competitors, why should I treat them nicely? Having that in mind, you won’t be surprised to see people often arguing on the streets, pushing people hard and fighting for seats on subway trains, or cutting in lines in China, and you will also be shocked to hear people say thank you or excuse me over there.

Therefore, when you go into the stores to ask the clerks directions or any other questions without buying anything, the only answer you will get is “I do not know.” No extra assistance or advice. It will make you feel those clerks are so unhelpful or unfriendly and you just do not feel like going back to the store as customers in the future. While visiting restaurants in China, most greetings sound very superficial and machine-like. The waiters will sit you down and disappear, you usually need to yell at the waiters and tell them you are ready to place orders. Otherwise, you will sit there forever and no one will come to you to take orders. I even encountered waiters who ignored me on purpose when I waved and asked them to come to take my order in many occasions, and if you keep yelling loudly, then you will see the waiters coming to you with very stinky faces.

On the end, you can give those waiters, waitresses or clerks any training you want, if they are not nice people naturally, they will always treat their customers with fake smiles, machine-like greetings, ignorance, or big attitudes. You can build infrastructures in few months but you won’t be able to make people friendly or nice in just one generation. Having top notched service related businesses in China? well, wait for another 20 years.

Will China’s Economy Reform Fail?

When China’s GDP growth downed from double digits to 7 something percent last year, it signaled China’s economy is slowing down. Increasing labor cost and tightened regulations slowly expelled the labor intense industry out of China. Similar to what happened in Taiwan in the late 90’s and throughout 00′, China needs to transform its labor intense industry to high-tech industry. Unfortunately, Taiwan failed the transformation, and is suffering the consequences, low job growth and stalled salary. Will China follow Taiwan’s step and fail the challenge? Very likely.

As an interior designer, my job can not be classified as high-tech, but it is not hard to predict why China will fail the economy reform to transform its economy by observing how the interior designers operate in China. When interior designers start to work on a new project and prepare for client presentation, unlike what we do in the States,  we research the available materials and start to sketch out the ideas, Chinese interior designers look for project photos on the design magazines or websites, and then copy with minor tweaking the designs from the photos they found. Why do they do that?! Isn’t it violating the copy rights and professional ethics, or at least personal integrity? No, not to Chinese designers. In fact, they are encouraged to copy others’ design ideas, why? well, because the clients in China love to rush. If you think some clients in the US like to rush to get things done, the clients in China are 1000 times worse. If a project needs 1 year to complete in the States, it will be completed in China in 3 months. Super fast work flow forces Chinese designers to work overtime constantly, under the pressure, it becomes luxury for designers to have time to be creative and think about the ideas of their own. Long working hours also impairs the designers’ ability to innovate. Therefore, most of interior design ideas in China are copied.

Ok, no big deals, right? just copy an interior design idea! so?! people still make money! Well, Chinese high-tech workers work the same way! cell phone companies, automobile companies, computer companies, website companies, and defense insdustry….These high tech companies copied whatever from foreign companies without creating their own indigenous high technology, so they will always lead from behind.

When the US built the stealth fighter jets like F-22 and F-35, China followed and also built J-20 stealth fighter jets with lots of “borrowed” technology and designs. Many of you might think “see! China is strong and advanced! They can also build stealth fighter jets!” but for me , the real strong country is the one that came up with the idea – “stealth” at the first place. Now, the United States is the only country in the world has operational stealth fighter jets in service and maintains the air superiority. Innovation makes the United States lead.

So, if Chinese clients do not change the way that they want everything done by yesterday, excessive over-time working will keep impairing Chinese workers’ innovation and creativity, and China’s economy reform will be doomed to fail.

Recent Protest in Taiwan

Recent protest in Taiwan made headline news because of the trade agreement between Taiwan and China. I can understand why many people in Taiwan are scared and frustrated. No doubt the economy in Taiwan will be boosted after this agreement is signed, but after seeing how Russia used its economy influence to screw up Ukraine. Increasing economy dependency on China after the agreement is signed will lead Taiwan to a very disadvantage position in the future if China decides to forcefully take over Taiwan. Taiwanese people’s concerns have become very understandable.
If you ask a group of 10 in the US has anyone been to China? 6 out of 10 people will most likely say yes, but when you ask the same group of people if anyone has ever been to Taiwan? it will be very lucky if one person says yes.
When visiting China, I realized there were so many things there looked like they were from China but actually were from Taiwan. You might say, Taiwan is a part of China. Well, according to Chinese government and many ass-kissing governments in the world, it is, but for the government and the people in Taiwan at least, those days that Taiwan belonged to China were just a remote memory, just like the United States to the United Kingdom, or Norway to Sweden.
Since the Nationalist party led government of the Republic of China lost the civil war in 1949 to Chinese Communists, The Nationalist government retreated (escaped) to Taiwan and settled there till today. In all these years of separation, the Nationalist government had successfully defended Taiwan against Communist military’s attack in 1958, and transformed itself from an authoritarian government to one of the most dynamic democracies in the world. The Republic of China or R.O.C., according Chinese Communist version of history, has eliminated by the People’s Republic of China or P.R.C. in 1949, but in reality, the Nationalist party led R.O.C. survived the 1949 Civil War and flourished in Taiwan till this very day.
China opened its door to the rest of the world in the late 80’s and started to establish some communications with the Nationalist government in Taiwan. Since then, China started to send scholars and historians to Taiwan and re-learned the Confucianism and other Chinese traditions and histories that were wiped out during the event of Culture Revolution in China but preserved in Taiwan. Taiwanese businessmen also started to establish businesses in China and introduced the free market system to China years before any other country entered the Chinese market. Taiwanese food, local culture, drinks, pop musics, TV programs, movies, and even slangs, all started to get into China.
When I visited China, I constantly heard Taiwanese songs sang by local singers, TV programs looked so much like Taiwanese TV programs many years back, and popular Taiwanese small eats such as bubble tea and pineapple cakes. Maybe some of you will think it is great to see these things unique to Taiwan are flourishing in China, but I fear Taiwan has started to lose its identity and visibility in the world.
As I have mentioned in the beginning of this article, most of the visitors around the world have visited China but not Taiwan, many of those visitors will never know many of the culture and history stuff in China were restored with Taiwan’s help, and they will never know those pop musics, food, drinks, or restaurants they enjoyed during their visits were actually originated in Taiwan. Once again, Taiwan has disappeared in the world just like it had back in 1949. Chinese government has even changed their police and military uniforms to look like those in Taiwan and imitated Taiwan’s health care law, road system, food culture, and so on…. for only one purpose, to confuse the world and make Taiwan less visible to the world as a different sovereignty but just a part of China. For many, disappearing of Taiwan is just one of China’s domestic affairs, but for the people in Taiwan, it means a democratic way of life is taken away from them forever.

Patriotism or Nationalism?

There is one thing I do not understand is while many Chinese people are trying their best to emigrate and send their kids overseas to become foreigners, many of them are still wanting Taiwanese to be Chinese. If Chinese people do not even want to be Chinese, why Taiwanese people want to be Chinese?! I am puzzled.

A lesson of democracy from a hit Hollywood movie

Chinese audiences laughed about the scenes in the movie “White House Down” showing the transferring of power with the nuclear weapon launching code from the president to vice president and to speaker of the House if the leader was dead or incapable of performing the tasks in the US. I think the Chinese people should stop laughing and think if the similar situation happened to your government, what kind of power transferring mechanism your government has in order to insure the power won’t fall into one crazy nut or fall into no one?? I think that is the lesson Chinese people can learn from this action packed movie. I give this movie a thumb up.