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My Recent Business Trip To China


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I just got back from a 3 week business trip in China and it has been a fascinating experience. I actually really enjoyed travelling around; it was pretty easy and efficient even though at times language was a bit of an issue. Strangely enough, I've really been wrestling with a few questions whilst I've been over there and have found myself beating myself up about how messed up and dysfunctional the UK has become.

I am a Risk Engineer and I’ve spent all my time inspecting factories in and around Beijing, Tianjin, Suzhou, Taicang and Shanghai, so have travelled a reasonable amount and seen what an immense and sometimes quite foreboding county China is. I've also seen those insane empty high rise housing estates everywhere which we seem to hear about – pretty scary!

Sitting here at home in my office this morning I'm really struggling to see how things are going to improve in the UK and how we are going to get this country back on track. Yes I know that China is effectively a state-run dictatorship and an awful lot of what we read here in the media describes how bad China is and how its human rights record is so bad etc. etc. but actually I was very humbled by some of the things I saw over there, and the way that people generally conduct themselves. I came away thinking that actually China is a very impressive country which looks after its own interests and I actually really respect that when compared with the current situation here in the UK.

Young people seem to have this get up and go attitude; the majority of young people I spoke with had the same desire “I want to start my own business” and were positive about their, and China’s prospects. Walking around the factories I met so many young people who had graduated in Science / Engineering subjects and were proud of what China has achieved in the last 10 years and were relishing the opportunities they had been given, even though most said that their jobs were stop gaps before they start their own businesses.

Compare this to the UK where we live in a world of “celebrity” (and the media just seems to push this “culture” further and further by the day) and where most people seem want “to be rich and famous” or “a celebrity” when they are older and are more concerned over when the next IPhone is out or what Kim Kardashian was wearing at her wedding.

I had some very frank conversations and many people were generally dismissive (no surprises eh!) about the Western world; much more so the US than the UK / Europe. I personally think Obama will go down as one of the lamest US presidents ever (yes I know he inherited a stinker) and this generally seemed to be a shared opinion with many people I met. I'm not naive enough to not understand that the control of the internet does play a huge part in this though; try searching “Beijing” and “Pollution” if you're there ;-) but I thought it was very telling.

When you walk around the parks of Beijing and Shanghai on the weekends, older people are out together dancing and singing, the parks are clean and there is a general air of community spirit – even in those huge cities. I am told that this goes even further in the smaller cities and towns in China. Is this purely down to the communism or is this sort of way of life deep routed within Chinese culture?

What I saw during my trip was in such sharp contrast to the “riots” I saw here just before I left which I believe are symptomatic of the final leg of our moral fabric being torn apart. Here in the UK we seem to live in this society where a big portion want something for nothing and are not willing to work for it. We see year after year “record” A Level and GCSE results yet young people seem incapable of speaking properly, are unable to write (how many people spell “lose” “loose”), or being able to comprehend basic maths.

Yes I appreciate that probably 80% of people in China probably live in rural poverty (any stats?) without being able to read or write but for some reason that country seems to work. Is it because of the state control or is it just natural selection where those that “do” make and take their opportunities and the environment is conducive for people to do so? We are supposed to be the “first world” country where everyone gets educated but China seems to be getting its house in order and more and more by the day and people appear to be receiving proper educations which I suspect are to a much higher standard than our primary school children do here.

I guess in conclusion I was very impressed with what I saw in China and this has meant me feeling very depressed about the situation here – am I just being irrational? I have finally realised that we cannot compete with China when it comes to manufacturing. All this rhetoric by Cameron an Co about rebalancing our economy and exporting our way out of this slump is quite frankly utter bulls**t. We have been left in the starting blocks by the Chinese and by the time the starting pistol fires, they will already be on their third lap. I'm not saying that they will be a first world country soon (there are just too many people, its too big a country, and many people are just too poor), but they seem to know which direction they are moving in and quite frankly I think they are doing pretty well

The UK is not Germany; we don’t have Siemens, BMW, Mercedez, VW, Krupp, and SAP. Germany seems to know where it’s at – Keep it high tech, high quality, design in Germany and outsource the cheap manufacturing to China. The number of Germans I saw at hotels in China doing business was quite astonishing. Many people said they were surprised that British companies appeared to be doing so little business in China (one guy even laughed about Ireland being a bigger trading partner to the UK than China!) I firmly believe that manufacturing is fundamental to a successful economy, but how many people want to stand next to a 1500 degree glass furnace 8 hours a day or work 6 days a week 12 hours per day making your mobile phone - the Chinese do, what can we do about this?

Someone please tell me I've got this all wrong and that I've spent too long in China and become brain washed :ph34r:

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Excellent. Thanks for that.

The older people thing is more Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism than Communism.

More of a mishmash really whatever is convenient.... and the older people are the survivors of the cannibal holocaust of the great leap forward.... take of that what you will.

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I just got back from a 3 week business trip in China and it has been a fascinating experience. I actually really enjoyed travelling around; it was pretty easy and efficient even though at times language was a bit of an issue. Strangely enough, I've really been wrestling with a few questions whilst I've been over there and have found myself beating myself up about how messed up and dysfunctional the UK has become.

I am a Risk Engineer and I’ve spent all my time inspecting factories in and around Beijing, Tianjin, Suzhou, Taicang and Shanghai, so have travelled a reasonable amount and seen what an immense and sometimes quite foreboding county China is. I've also seen those insane empty high rise housing estates everywhere which we seem to hear about – pretty scary!

Sitting here at home in my office this morning I'm really struggling to see how things are going to improve in the UK and how we are going to get this country back on track. Yes I know that China is effectively a state-run dictatorship and an awful lot of what we read here in the media describes how bad China is and how its human rights record is so bad etc. etc. but actually I was very humbled by some of the things I saw over there, and the way that people generally conduct themselves. I came away thinking that actually China is a very impressive country which looks after its own interests and I actually really respect that when compared with the current situation here in the UK.

Young people seem to have this get up and go attitude; the majority of young people I spoke with had the same desire “I want to start my own business” and were positive about their, and China’s prospects. Walking around the factories I met so many young people who had graduated in Science / Engineering subjects and were proud of what China has achieved in the last 10 years and were relishing the opportunities they had been given, even though most said that their jobs were stop gaps before they start their own businesses.

Compare this to the UK where we live in a world of “celebrity” (and the media just seems to push this “culture” further and further by the day) and where most people seem want “to be rich and famous” or “a celebrity” when they are older and are more concerned over when the next IPhone is out or what Kim Kardashian was wearing at her wedding.

I had some very frank conversations and many people were generally dismissive (no surprises eh!) about the Western world; much more so the US than the UK / Europe. I personally think Obama will go down as one of the lamest US presidents ever (yes I know he inherited a stinker) and this generally seemed to be a shared opinion with many people I met. I'm not naive enough to not understand that the control of the internet does play a huge part in this though; try searching “Beijing” and “Pollution” if you're there ;-) but I thought it was very telling.

When you walk around the parks of Beijing and Shanghai on the weekends, older people are out together dancing and singing, the parks are clean and there is a general air of community spirit – even in those huge cities. I am told that this goes even further in the smaller cities and towns in China. Is this purely down to the communism or is this sort of way of life deep routed within Chinese culture?

What I saw during my trip was in such sharp contrast to the “riots” I saw here just before I left which I believe are symptomatic of the final leg of our moral fabric being torn apart. Here in the UK we seem to live in this society where a big portion want something for nothing and are not willing to work for it. We see year after year “record” A Level and GCSE results yet young people seem incapable of speaking properly, are unable to write (how many people spell “lose” “loose”), or being able to comprehend basic maths.

Yes I appreciate that probably 80% of people in China probably live in rural poverty (any stats?) without being able to read or write but for some reason that country seems to work. Is it because of the state control or is it just natural selection where those that “do” make and take their opportunities and the environment is conducive for people to do so? We are supposed to be the “first world” country where everyone gets educated but China seems to be getting its house in order and more and more by the day and people appear to be receiving proper educations which I suspect are to a much higher standard than our primary school children do here.

I guess in conclusion I was very impressed with what I saw in China and this has meant me feeling very depressed about the situation here – am I just being irrational? I have finally realised that we cannot compete with China when it comes to manufacturing. All this rhetoric by Cameron an Co about rebalancing our economy and exporting our way out of this slump is quite frankly utter bulls**t. We have been left in the starting blocks by the Chinese and by the time the starting pistol fires, they will already be on their third lap. I'm not saying that they will be a first world country soon (there are just too many people, its too big a country, and many people are just too poor), but they seem to know which direction they are moving in and quite frankly I think they are doing pretty well

The UK is not Germany; we don’t have Siemens, BMW, Mercedez, VW, Krupp, and SAP. Germany seems to know where it’s at – Keep it high tech, high quality, design in Germany and outsource the cheap manufacturing to China. The number of Germans I saw at hotels in China doing business was quite astonishing. Many people said they were surprised that British companies appeared to be doing so little business in China (one guy even laughed about Ireland being a bigger trading partner to the UK than China!) I firmly believe that manufacturing is fundamental to a successful economy, but how many people want to stand next to a 1500 degree glass furnace 8 hours a day or work 6 days a week 12 hours per day making your mobile phone - the Chinese do, what can we do about this?

Someone please tell me I've got this all wrong and that I've spent too long in China and become brain washed :ph34r:

Great post

Things in Britain will chn age, because they'll have to: the unsustainable can't be sustained

In the long run real wages in the UK will fall - this will happen mostly via inflation and falling £

Manufacturing will return to the UK, but this process will take decades. In the meantime, real living standards for 90% of Brits will crash

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More evidence to suggest that an economy based on the ability to provide a better life for you and your family through work, skills, knowledge and innovation is a more cohesive society. Debt fuelled consumption achieved through inflating house prices destroys the value of work.

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One of my clients is a market research company based in China. They provide market research reports on the Chinese market for European and American brands, in English.

10 years ago when I started, these reports would have managed and written in London. They deliver these projects at roughly half the price - and from what I have seen, with no deteriation in quality. In fact the quality is better, especially because the Chinese 20-somethings who write these reports can add all the cutural insight.

Anyway, the point is, the Chinese dont only make stuff, they are also turning into a knowledge enconomy.

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Great post

Things in Britain will chn age, because they'll have to: the unsustainable can't be sustained

In the long run real wages in the UK will fall - this will happen mostly via inflation and falling £

Manufacturing will return to the UK, but this process will take decades. In the meantime, real living standards for 90% of Brits will crash

Living standards were artificially high only because they were paid for by debt....we will only revert to what it should have been if the excess debt had never existed.

Our education is not as good as it should be....it is target led for the benefit of the school not the pupil/student....some of the educators need reeducating, and not all the right skills required for the future are being taught....we do not put enough importance on learning foreign languages required in a global economy....too many of our children leave school without being able to read, count or write effectively enough to make themselves a living so to support themselves.

We have lost our way to some extent due to the importance now being placed on consumerism, material wealth, fame and accumulating as much as possible for doing as little as possible....family values and local communities have become something less of value than having the biggest, most expensive or best fashion of the moment a proof to others that the more you have the greater value and the more important you must be.....when in fact you are not. ;)

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just goes to show, when a young person is presented with the chance of opportunity, he sees a future, a future he is prepared to invest in..

Ok, it might all turn to dust, but at least they can see success around them.

Here in the UK, you need a house to get capital, and to get a house you need to super mortgage with 20% deposit.

Many young people I speak to, see no chance whatsoever.

I see Degree educated children unable to find work...yes, they are still children many of them, cant look after themselves yet, demanding that they are entitled to someone giving them that job, that career, and it had better be a good one straight out of Hello magazine, or they aint doing it.

Now, about starting that restaurant like they say on page 1 of frankie and Bennies menu....ah yes, I need £300K to rent and fit out a place, marketing, H+S and Diversity.........

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Living standards were artificially high only because they were paid for by debt....we will only revert to what it should have been if the excess debt had never existed.

Our education is not as good as it should be....it is target led for the benefit of the school not the pupil/student....some of the educators need reeducating, and not all the right skills required for the future are being taught....we do not put enough importance on learning foreign languages required in a global economy....too many of our children leave school without being able to read, count or write effectively enough to make themselves a living so to support themselves.

...... ;)

There was an article in the ST the other week about the target and league table driven culture in state schools. To boost results pupils were being pushed into easier subjects, and away from trickier subjects such as science and maths. Exactly the wrong approach if we want to pay our own way in the world.

I don't think it's a coincidence that countries like China, Japan, germany and India are led by techies who understand engineering.

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Someone please tell me I've got this all wrong and that I've spent too long in China and become brain washed :ph34r:

No, i think there's more brainwash by the western / our media to a larger extent, how backward / poor / dictatorship etc etc China has been painted (which has some truth). Now you have witnessed the country first hand, you seen the other side (just like every country has two sides). I saw some pictures of Tehran (Iran) the other day and was amazed at how prosper the city looked, clean street, modern cars, grand architecture, civilized citizen.. anyway i digress.

But remember China is playing catch up, so progress will seem more impressive. One day it will lose it's wage competitiveness due to ageing population and tighter environmental regulations. Then it's export-centered economy will run into big trouble.

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Businesses were started with a loan obtained from a whip-round form the family......you didn't have such a large public sector to support so taxes were lower, so were rents and housing....you didn't have large corporates with access to land and low cost debt to out-price and undercut......you didn't have so much red tape and bureaucracy H&S and employment law to get your head around hindering you from running your business. ;)

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(how many people spell "lose" "loose")

or even 'Mercedes' 'Mercedez'

(Maybe you were thinking Mercedes-Benz and amalgamated the two)

;-D

but seriously.

People forget that for that last x number of millennia China were in the ascendancy and are now just reverting to type. Why fight it? embrace it. We can't be so down on what we do in the UK, it's a great place to live. The future will be all about partnerships rather than conflict, subjugation and competition.

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There was an article in the ST the other week about the target and league table driven culture in state schools. To boost results pupils were being pushed into easier subjects, and away from trickier subjects such as science and maths. Exactly the wrong approach if we want to pay our own way in the world.

I don't think it's a coincidence that countries like China, Japan, germany and India are led by techies who understand engineering.

Yes, it said that they got more funding for better results so were encouraging pupils to take the easier subjects and multiple choice type tests..... education was on educating how to pass exams to gain a better place in the school league table...... ;)

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Thanks to OP for the post.

Other things to consider:

- relatively weak welfare and healthcare system in China

- insane banking system (even worse than ours) - see ...

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/chinese-banks-these-things-arent-banks.html

- plenty of Chinese workers have nice 2 up/2 down houses, with a German car parked out the front - but if they chose to leave the prefecture for another place they can't sell up, and lose (looose!) everything.

I prefer freedom in the long run. Just not sure it will be in great supply in the UK.

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No, i think there's more brainwash by the western / our media to a larger extent, how backward / poor / dictatorship etc etc China has been painted (which has some truth). Now you have witnessed the country first hand, you seen the other side (just like every country has two sides).

I think this is what concerns me more than anything and possibly led me to feel the way I did about my trip. We all sit here on our high horses and go on about China's media being controlled, but sometimes I do wonder about ours.

i think you have just experienced china through government issued rose tinted spectacles...

I travel extensively with work all over the world and I can't really explain why I ended up feeling why I did. I've been to many far flung and backwards places but this was just a real eye opener. Maybe deep down the decline of this country is affecting me more than I think it is (my Canadian GF does go on about it everyday as well :rolleyes: )

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(how many people spell "lose" "loose")

or even 'Mercedes' 'Mercedez'

(Maybe you were thinking Mercedes-Benz and amalgamated the two)

;-D

but seriously.

People forget that for that last x number of millennia China were in the ascendancy and are now just reverting to type. Why fight it? embrace it. We can't be so down on what we do in the UK, it's a great place to live. The future will be all about partnerships rather than conflict, subjugation and competition.

Darn it, I new there would be a typo somewhere :P

I agree on the partnerships approach but I am starting to lose what little faith I had in the "new" government. I really thought things would change, but rather like Obama, same old same old.

The other thing which fascinated me was the concept of the 5 year plan, if only our government could sit down and make some long term decisions and get on with it, like the welfare reforms which will take bloody years to implement, or will be cancelled when the plebs vote in Labour next election :blink:

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Compare this to the UK where we live in a world of "celebrity" (and the media just seems to push this "culture" further and further by the day) and where most people seem want "to be rich and famous" or "a celebrity" when they are older and are more concerned over when the next IPhone is out or what Kim Kardashian was wearing at her wedding.

I'm sorry if you've seen this programme already but the answer to that particular question is in the following documentary. Once the Chinese drown their population with these pervasive stimuli they will become like us, zombies. Make sure you see the bit where a Rhesus monkey stops eating in order to keep watching a 'celebrity' monkey on TV...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW0WJ_xULXU

Otherwise thanks for a great post. It sounds like not much has changed from when I was there in the mid 90s, fascinating place.

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Just proves that a state run centralised economy creates a far better future for the average person than all this free market nonsense :)

that's so very wrong... if you still think it's a state run, centralized economy, i.e. soviet communist era... then pls do some research.

i must say though, the hybrid political dictatorship + free market economy really seems to be working for them.

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I just got back from a 3 week business trip in China and it has been a fascinating experience. I actually really enjoyed travelling around; it was pretty easy and efficient even though at times language was a bit of an issue. Strangely enough, I've really been wrestling with a few questions whilst I've been over there and have found myself beating myself up about how messed up and dysfunctional the UK has become.

I am a Risk Engineer and I've spent all my time inspecting factories in and around Beijing, Tianjin, Suzhou, Taicang and Shanghai, so have travelled a reasonable amount and seen what an immense and sometimes quite foreboding county China is. I've also seen those insane empty high rise housing estates everywhere which we seem to hear about – pretty scary!

Sitting here at home in my office this morning I'm really struggling to see how things are going to improve in the UK and how we are going to get this country back on track. Yes I know that China is effectively a state-run dictatorship and an awful lot of what we read here in the media describes how bad China is and how its human rights record is so bad etc. etc. but actually I was very humbled by some of the things I saw over there, and the way that people generally conduct themselves. I came away thinking that actually China is a very impressive country which looks after its own interests and I actually really respect that when compared with the current situation here in the UK.

Young people seem to have this get up and go attitude; the majority of young people I spoke with had the same desire "I want to start my own business" and were positive about their, and China's prospects. Walking around the factories I met so many young people who had graduated in Science / Engineering subjects and were proud of what China has achieved in the last 10 years and were relishing the opportunities they had been given, even though most said that their jobs were stop gaps before they start their own businesses.

Compare this to the UK where we live in a world of "celebrity" (and the media just seems to push this "culture" further and further by the day) and where most people seem want "to be rich and famous" or "a celebrity" when they are older and are more concerned over when the next IPhone is out or what Kim Kardashian was wearing at her wedding.

I had some very frank conversations and many people were generally dismissive (no surprises eh!) about the Western world; much more so the US than the UK / Europe. I personally think Obama will go down as one of the lamest US presidents ever (yes I know he inherited a stinker) and this generally seemed to be a shared opinion with many people I met. I'm not naive enough to not understand that the control of the internet does play a huge part in this though; try searching "Beijing" and "Pollution" if you're there ;-) but I thought it was very telling.

When you walk around the parks of Beijing and Shanghai on the weekends, older people are out together dancing and singing, the parks are clean and there is a general air of community spirit – even in those huge cities. I am told that this goes even further in the smaller cities and towns in China. Is this purely down to the communism or is this sort of way of life deep routed within Chinese culture?

What I saw during my trip was in such sharp contrast to the "riots" I saw here just before I left which I believe are symptomatic of the final leg of our moral fabric being torn apart. Here in the UK we seem to live in this society where a big portion want something for nothing and are not willing to work for it. We see year after year "record" A Level and GCSE results yet young people seem incapable of speaking properly, are unable to write (how many people spell "lose" "loose"), or being able to comprehend basic maths.

Yes I appreciate that probably 80% of people in China probably live in rural poverty (any stats?) without being able to read or write but for some reason that country seems to work. Is it because of the state control or is it just natural selection where those that "do" make and take their opportunities and the environment is conducive for people to do so? We are supposed to be the "first world" country where everyone gets educated but China seems to be getting its house in order and more and more by the day and people appear to be receiving proper educations which I suspect are to a much higher standard than our primary school children do here.

I guess in conclusion I was very impressed with what I saw in China and this has meant me feeling very depressed about the situation here – am I just being irrational? I have finally realised that we cannot compete with China when it comes to manufacturing. All this rhetoric by Cameron an Co about rebalancing our economy and exporting our way out of this slump is quite frankly utter bulls**t. We have been left in the starting blocks by the Chinese and by the time the starting pistol fires, they will already be on their third lap. I'm not saying that they will be a first world country soon (there are just too many people, its too big a country, and many people are just too poor), but they seem to know which direction they are moving in and quite frankly I think they are doing pretty well

The UK is not Germany; we don't have Siemens, BMW, Mercedez, VW, Krupp, and SAP. Germany seems to know where it's at – Keep it high tech, high quality, design in Germany and outsource the cheap manufacturing to China. The number of Germans I saw at hotels in China doing business was quite astonishing. Many people said they were surprised that British companies appeared to be doing so little business in China (one guy even laughed about Ireland being a bigger trading partner to the UK than China!) I firmly believe that manufacturing is fundamental to a successful economy, but how many people want to stand next to a 1500 degree glass furnace 8 hours a day or work 6 days a week 12 hours per day making your mobile phone - the Chinese do, what can we do about this?

Someone please tell me I've got this all wrong and that I've spent too long in China and become brain washed :ph34r:

When I visted Beijing/China they had military Police/vehicles semi-hidden down loads of side streets off the main roads.

Intimidation?

Hundreds, if not thousands of ex-company bosses did a midnight flit when the downturn came.

They literally stripped their companies and fled China over a weekend leaving millions of workers jobless on Monday morning.

When I was there in the 90's every main China-state TV channel betweem 6pm and 8pm had language forced learning on 3 channels I think it was English, French, Spanish (all the main ex-colonial languages)

And stop blaming UK general population - it has been crap, greedy, money grabbing, bent, Ministerial leaders, directors and higher managers and their 'leadership' which has fekked the country up

(You can tell by how much their wages & false bonuses went up way above ordinary workers wage packets!

The Institute of Directors conned Company Board members by recommending the excessive wage/bonus rises between themselves ie other Directors of the same Institute were employed to OK their wage rises and they did the same for other members - nice incestuous, money-go-round earner-wot?)

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  • 433 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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