Sharing insights about the economic transformation of China, Dr Xiang Bing, founding Dean of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, reflected on how China has become a global, economic powerhouse and what could hamper its future growth. “China has surpassed Japan, then Germany and, most recently, the US as the largest manufacturing economy in the world,” he said.
The Professor of Chinese Business and Globalisation was speaking at NUS Business School’s Asian Business Series seminar, a platform to discuss macroeconomics, business trends and global issues that impact Asian economies.
Articulating China’s strengths and weaknesses with candour and humour, Dr Xiang walked the audience through the historical evolution of China’s economic development, the factors and myths about ‘the Chinese way,’ and its economic prospects. “China has been more like a domestic helper to the US, to free up the US to do important jobs,” he explained, sharing some major challenges for China’s economic growth, including wide income inequality, a skewed economic ecosystem and lack of a sustainable, transferable developmental model. “We don’t have GE, IBM or Toyota, despite the fact that we have 10 of the top Fortune 500 companies in the world,” he added.
But he’s optimistic about the future of China. He believes that China’s historical prominence, its ‘rich experience’ with socialism, capitalism as well as communism, and the rise of the private business sector provide China distinct advantages over some of the most developed countries. “The Chinese have a strong entrepreneurial drive, and I’m positive about China’s future because of that,” he says. China is already globalised and many sectors are more open than other advanced economies, offering vast opportunities.
He ended the talk on an upbeat note, adding that by 2040, China will make the biggest contribution to the world’s total GDP.
The talk, attended by students, staff and faculty members of the School, as well as industry professionals, was followed by a Q&A session moderated by Professor Oliver Zhen Li. Dean Bernard Yeung wrapped up the event with closing remarks.