I am back again, back in the land where anything goes and where I will never get used to the spitting on the streets, but then I certainly and thankfully see it less and less.
China is evolving quickly, I am constantly amazed at this counties ability to copy with no consequence but I guess if you set up your manufacturing base here, there will always be repercussions.
The landscape is changing and you no longer can only have one child, you can now have many. The government is all about the numbers game but god only knows how they will pay for all the infrastructure that they will then need.
Industries thrive here; restaurants are busy, the streets and roads are pumping, the huge fabric market that I visit is always manic, although being here during the school holidays has certainly made a difference to getting around, just as Auckland empties at Christmas and the school term breaks, I see Ghangzhou does as well.
The people here are quick to temper, their voices are loud as they have to make themselves heard over each other. English is still rare and even if you do get some, it is merely words with very little understanding, here empathy is low.
I have a love-hate relationship with this country, however, this city is so necessary for the lifeblood of my business. We have been doing business here for the last 5 years and have some awesome relationships established with our factories, but it is so easy to get ripped off and so easy to have your product marginalised. Returning anything is impossible, you need to build up relationships through a sizeable order platform before you will get any chance to negotiate or earn a supplier’s respect that will eventually see you looked after.
Social skills are non-existent, everyone is on their phones all of the time. WeChat does it all from communication both verbal and written to payments for goods and even ordering food in a restaurant while you sit at their premises, the QTR code rules it all.
I know I am looking at the future and see very little that I like. Property is expensive, 1 million Renminbi buys you only 30 square meters, we have bathrooms that are bigger than this! This is a population in overload yet still highly functional, educated and productive. I see no beggars or street people and haven't on previous trips.
Here social security doesn't exist, you must work to survive. The country is busy, the people are busy and they are entrepreneurial at every level whether it is selling flowers and fruit in the markets or running a fully legitimate business. I am not sure how this government collects their tax, there are so many people that simply sell what they can to get by. The government is the key to driving the change and ensuring the environment remains intact for the 22nd century.
The fabric industry is a big polluter with so many factories that do not conform to regulations and are being closed down. I even heard of one serial offender being sent to jail, I am sure that got his attention! But never to be outsmarted, they simply operate at night where the quality certainly takes a hit from this method of operation, however, the need is strong and there are bills to pay, and mouths to feed.
I head home tomorrow now that my job is done here, I have started the new season, met with our factories and secured the many gorgeous accessories that support the season in NZ.
China is a force to be reckoned with and I'm not sure we are ready to do this reckoning or will ever be able to catch up nor compete.