Posted by: Rodrigo Fonseca | June 22, 2007

China on the spot

Hong Kong - City of lights in ChinaUnlike Argentina and Peru, China has been growing around 10% an year for the last two decades. Chinese economy has seen the boom of industry and limitless augment of production, leading both to an enoumous advancement in technology. All these coupled with Hu Jintao’s semi-capitalist policy open doors for Chinese development in almost every direction. It is undeniable that China’s growth rate is enviable; however, can one rest assured it will last long?

Consumism has taken over China. It is not hard to see it in Beijing, for instance, where almost every Chinese has either a cell-phone, a PDA or a Blackberry. China Mobile is doing brilliantly, collecting two-thirds of all new subscribers and more than four-fifths of the industry’s profit growth. Nevertheless, not only do the Chinese buy mobiles, but they are also interested in shoes, clothing, make-up and even jewelry. This consumism, however, has a price: whilst 10% of China enjoy the technological gadgets, the other 90% starve at the rice-farms.

Four-fifths of the Chinese farm-labourers work under unhealthy conditions, earning no more than the miserable amount of US$: 200.00 per month. To make matters worse, these Chinese face endless working-journeys, often longer than eight hours a day. Lastly, there are no laws on Human Rights, or if there are, no one respects them. This semi-slavish regime has existed since Mr Jintao took his seat as Chinese president, and no one can tell for sure when it is going to end. Polemical discussions are to be made about Chinese labour, and the UN is most likely to be their host in a near future.

Even though on national matters Hu Jintao has been agressive and very strict, on international affairs China has been very predictable so far. To much of the world the Chinese position regarding North Korea has come as no surprise at all. Though North Korean casinos attract much of the Chinese gamblers and thus Chinese money, China was expected to stand a neutral (or almost in favor) position on the nuclear issue.

To sum up, it seems that China is doing well, thank you very much. Nonetheless, one cannot tell how long this “Chinese Pax” will last. China will face huge international opposition on matters such as climate change, labour-workers, industry, and commerce. Investors should keep their eyes opened to breaking news on China, for things might suddently change – and they probably will.

Rodrigo Machado Fonseca

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  1. […] China on the spot […]


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