In 2013 more cars were sold in China than in the U.S. The most popular car for several years has been the Buick Excelle, which is not available in the U.S. General Motors has derived almost 30 percent of it’s global net income from China, as reported by Morgan Stanley analyst.
This illustrates the rising middle class in a surging economy, that now seems about to plateau. In an ironic twist, the labor supply on which the economic expansion of China has depended, is not being replenished.
The one-child policy has been too successful, and birth rates are down. And with a rising middle class, the demand for higher wages has already driven some manufacturers to other countries such as Thailand.
But it is still a Country and a society steeped in history and tradition. Beijing is the Capital, where we will find the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Great Wall just north of the City. Variously noted as 4000, or even 8000 miles long, it is truly one of the most momentous construction projects on the Planet. We will visit all of these, and much more in “China Rising”.
Of course we’ll visit the site of the Terracotta warriors...an army of 8000 figures formed of terra cotta and bronze, all done in amazing detail and only discovered in the 1970s. They had been buried here over, 2000 years ago, a protection for the Emperor in the afterlife. They were discovered by farmers working their fields, and one of the major archaeological finds of the 20th Century.
In contrast to the antiquity of China we’ll see much of a burgeoning economic expansion...ultra modern cities, expensive shopping, traffic congestion, and perhaps most surprising, huge farming operations with giant tractors producing corn, soybeans and other crops on private farms...not Government collectives as in the past.
It’s a cliché to say that China is changing, and we know that it is. But it is fascinating to consider just where and how much it has changed, and to contemplate how it will continue. Wherever the road they’re on takes them, it is important. One way or another it will effect all of us.