Wednesday, June 23, 2010

China - success story

Dear Mr. Tan
Here is an interesting article.

US President Obama visited China recently, primarily to find out what exactly & how exactly China is doing things that makes it such a success story, surpassing all the so-called "expert economic planners" of the US & Europe. His team found these 5 basic lessons behind China 's success.

The Chinese believe in Setting Goals, Making Plans, & Focusing on Moving Ahead - there is always the sense of foward motion. As an example, a huge 6-lane highway in Shanghai took only 2 years from planning to ready for traffic. In the US, 2 years will only get you the environment and local authority permit if you are lucky.

The Chinese are obsessed with ensuring kids get the right education - English, Maths & Science. They made sure that their education system reached even the most remote rural areas - today the literacy rate in China is OVER 90%, surpassing even the USA 's 86%. According to American Educationists, the Chinese kids are way ahead of the kids in the USA .

The Chinese DO NOT send their elderly to nursing care centres - they personally look after & care for their parents. In the US , nursing care of the elderly is now costing each resident USD 85,000 annually, & this is rising. The Chinese also believe that the grandparents at home make the best tutors for their children. It also provides a sense of cultural continuity - this helps bind society.

Here its a growing trend to have children brought up by maids, of the lowest educational & moral quality - so our children (the future leaders) grow up with similar language & outlook capability.

In the USA , savings dropped to zero in 2005, and is only now slowly rising to 4%. In China , the savings rate for every household has exceeded 20%. The Chinese believe that fugality & a healthy savings rate are a sure indicator of a country's financial health. High savings lead to increased investments - results in increased productivity, innovation & job growth.

In China , eveyone is foward looking - never backwards. New graduates make a vow - never ever will their children & grandchildren ever work in the fields again. With this kind of foward mentality, people are always thinking & planning how, not just to succeed, BUT how to be the best in the world in everything they do.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea actually.

C H Yak said...

Yes, also look at how the more educated "Post 80s" workforce is trying to engage the Govt., and not simply giving way easily to foreign MNC from capitalist countries.

This evolving CHANGE is identified in my blog.

My Blog :-

Garrett said...

What a one-sided article. Here's the other side of the story.

Note to Mr Tan: For fairness and objectiveness sake you should let this comment go through. I have disclosed my real name.

I don't see how lousy US bureaucracy translates into having no goals, no plans and no ambition. Also, too much government control is no good as it makes the people powerless as the government can do whatever they like. (Hint: No need to look to China just look closer to home).

Just because Chinese kids can count and write better than American kids doesn't means that they will always be ahead forever. If Chinese kids are so great, tell me why is quality research in science & technology still coming from the US and Europe? US is also still regarded as the world leader in tertiary education and research even until today.

The Chinese concept of taking care of the elderly conveniently pushes the responsibilities of taking care of senior citizens from the government to the citizens. (Hint: Again no need to look overseas, just look at home) In the first place, it is the responsibility of the government to take care of its senior citizens, not the children. Also, this has led to the effect of the "sandwich phenomenon" in which younger people in the 20-40s of our time have the burden of raising up their own families and children AND taking care of their parents AND meeting their retirement needs AND coping with an ever escalating cost of living which is *practically impossible* for many median-income earners. The concept of forced financial "filial piety" also encourages people to not plan financially for retirement since they can pass this burden on to their children. Finally, it is not true that Americans do not look out or take care of their elders financially.

This fact cannot be denied and I agree that Americans now are glutton spenders. However, less than 50 years ago the Americans (after WW2) were very thrifty savers. The gluttony of American consumption is not a "Western value" and frugality is not an exclusively "Chinese value". I won't be surprise if China falls into the same path 50 years from now when they become complacent in their economic success.

And Americans (or for that matter the rest of the world) don't have such forward thinking mentality? What an arrogant and unsubstantiated opinion.

Garrett Goh
(P.S. I am a Chinese)

michael said...

Lesson No 6 - Think independently is another crucial factor that ensuring success and continued growth.

Anonymous said...

Lesson No.5 Look Over the Horizon
and to add further.......Look Overseas for Opportunities.
The influx of the Chinese from China will spur Singaporeans to compete further.

Anonymous said...

Such generalisations can be attributed to "navel gazing" and a focus on celebrating your own laurels when comparing to competitors in the PRESENT. It's usually a symptom (mistake?) of those who have no sense of world history and narrow-mindedness.

All those listed attributes can be found in various societies and nationalities throughout history e.g. British in the 18th & 19th century, Americans in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, and even Chinese during the early Tang, Ming and Han dynasties.

During WW2, Americans were building entire cargo ships at the rate of 1 every hour, 365 days a year. They were making so many tanks, planes and ships that they could fight WW2 for another 20 years if necessary.

Humans are basically the same type of animal --- their behaviour, thinking and attitudes are formed by their immediate surrounding and realities. Chinese (and many asian countries) have high savings rate simply because (surprise surprise) they don't have much welfare and no pension (except for senior civil servants/politicians). Habits are also formed by the kind of family or community experiences. If your parents were poor and had to struggle (like many asians in 1940s-70s or Chinese from inland provinces), chances are you will be thrifty even if you now earn $10K/month.

If you transplant an average American couple to Singapore (and take away their US citizenship), by the 2nd generation their kids will also just be as KS and have similar savings rate and mentality i.e. don't take risks; you die your business. :-)

Anonymous said...

It will be good to read the article in its entirety.

Obama has the elements needed for an agent of change. Very little Pride or Prejudice.

The US will be a leading world power for a long time because of this.

You can have the best hardware (read - roads, infrastructure, buildings), but without the right software (read - people, social systems, culture, etc.), you cannot achieve the glory of the western civilisations.

The China miracle is a mirage that hides much of the ugly and the unseen, while showing the side that makes it look good. Sounds familiar?,8599,1938671,00.html

Anonymous said...

Lesson No. 4
For the economy to grow there must be consumption. If everybody saves and only a few spends the economy of a country will grind to a halt. Everybody condemns American for its high rate of consumption. Yet every country want to sell to America. This can only happen if the Americans consumes. If the Americans start saving like the Chinese the world will be in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Item No.3
Understand from some China friends that the elderly retire at 60 and are engaged in hobbies, exercise and play lots of, the elderly are told to work and work and work to get the Workfare bonus for those unfortunate low income earners.But with the influx of China FTs, the elderly clearners
are no longer seen working in coffee shops thes days.

Anonymous said...

You guys seem to think elderly people in China need to depend on their children to feed them. You are sooo.... wrong. China's social support systems is in fact more generous than Singapore. After all, it is a communist country.

1. For Chinese people in the cities (with city hukou), unemployed are given unemployment benefits during recession/ unemployment. Old people receive pension from the city government.

2. For Chinese people in the countryside (with a farmer hukou), each peasant (young or old) is allocated a plot of land. This plot of land can feed them during recessions or old age.

If any of you guys still have the mental picture of a Chinese farmer toiling with a manual plough (like what your grandparents told you about farmng), your info are probably 5 decades outdated. Chinese farmers has long ago adopted mechanized agriculture.

In fact, the peasant merely pays the guy with mechanized plougher $50 to plough and sow their fields during spring, and then pays the guy with the mechanized harvester $50 during autumn to harvest their produce. Nature takes care of the rest.

That's why old peasant folks in China can spend time playing mahjong and taichi (instead of working at Macs). And that's why young people in rural China has nothing to do at home (yet they are secure and well fed), so they flock to cities to earn extra income.

So you have it: the Chinese may have easier life than Singaporean city folks. Rich Singaporeans simply haven't stepped up enough to provide their share for society, in terms of providing money and services to care for our young children, our old folks and our disabled.

C H Yak said...

Anon 2.14 AM is quite right about the social benefits system in China.

In the China, the benefits system is there, it is just that the hardware or infrastructures still need time to catch up because of its population size despite a one-child policy. So the old age pension and medical insurance is there, perhaps even more established earlier than S'pore. But you find that the hospitals capacity and numbers could not cope. Rural areas sick still need to go to provincial or city hospitals for major illness.

In Singapore, the software is not exactly there yet because the Govt refuse to bear the costs directly. It tries to save on spendings on the citizens. As a result, it will try all ways to work out a complex system. SO hardware is there but they drag TIME ... need to Q long time ... from Polyclinics to Restructured Hospitals.

Funny thing is they are not so stingy spending on themselves insofar as salaries are concerned.

In USA, softwares could be outdated or not there ... so the major reforms are called for by Obama...or they just could not find $ how to finance it.

There is just no way out, the State must care for the poor.

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