China is becoming an increasingly interesting country as far as I am concerned. That is not because I know anything about it. On the contrary, it is because I know so little about it beyond the conventional impressions of it being big, populous and mysterious.
But I keep running across snippets of news that provide some tantalising insights into the way that country appears to be going. This from the Economist:
WITH an increasingly sophisticated and wealthy customer base, Chinese consumer-goods makers are starting to pay attention to brand-building. The smartest are moving beyond simple product ads to marketing an entire lifestyle. In an echo of Nike’s famous “Just do it” campaign, Li-Ning, the largest producer in China’s sportswear market, has just launched an advertising blitz under the mottos “Goodbye” and “Anything is possible”. Costing 15m yuan ($1.8m), eight times the company’s usual ad spend, it taps into the Chinese belief that they can safely wave goodbye to their hard lives of the past, and that the future is filled with unlimited opportunities.
See, I find reports like this fascinating not least because all this entrepreneurial dash is happening in a country which is supposed to be communist. Well, clearly it is not communist. In fact, if the British Labour Party were in charge of China they would probably be looking into ways of trying to put a stop to this kind of thing.
I wonder if the implication in the article is really true? Is China awash with people who believe that ‘the future is filled with unlimited opportunities’? If so then that bodes well for China despite their being saddled with a repressive and ferociously authoritarian government. Who knows if the post-communist hacks that still run the place will be able to maintain their vice-like grip in the hurricane of anarchic forces that all this capitalism and prosperity will eventually unleash.
For reasons I cannot articulate to any satisfactory degree, I believe that China will impact upon the rest of the world in a major way and, possibly, quite soon. Whether this impact will be for good or for ill I cannot say but I do regard the emergence of all this ‘can-do’ spirit to be rather encouraging. After all, political regimes come and go and none of them last forever. The people who are most likely to dictate the shape of the future are the ones who believe that the future is filled with unlimited opportunities.