China is in the news a lot these days. Is China’s progress over-reported?
Having spent the last year living in China, my view is that the “China story” is, in fact, under-reported. The world’s largest country is finally developing economically in a rapid and impactful way. Much of China’s work, to date, has been in “investment” activities (infrastructure, research, education), so progress is likely to accelerate. The Chinese know very well where they want to be in 20 years (affluent!), and are on their way.
It is a big story, and one that we at Forum One and many of our clients are paying attention to for three main reasons:
- Influence: In many of the topics we work on — environment, global development, health, food policy, economic relations — China is becoming a dominant force. Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, has commented that multilateral environmental efforts are often not as useful as simple bilateral agreements with China .
- Innovation: Because of China’s size and rapid growth, the most innovative work in many areas is being done right now in China. The recent feature in the New York Times on the architecture renaissance in China  reflects just one of many comparable fields.
- Opportunity: Chinese are open to international expertise and programs, and foreign organizations are finding meaningful relationships with Chinese counterparts. One of our clients, the Half the Sky Foundation , is a Berkeley-based nonprofit working with Chinese partners in a consequential way to reshape social welfare programs in China.
Recognizing the importance of China’s development, we at Forum One have reviewed our own efforts, are expanding our portfolio of China projects, and plan to open a Beijing office later this year. A number of our clients are comparably bullish about the expansion of their own Chinese efforts. There are many opportunities, but since it is a new area for all of us, there is much to learn from each other. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s talk!