Originally Posted by 742
Fact is that the economic growth is limited to the Eastern coast. Fact is that the Communist Party control of the country is weak in many locations. Fact is that the PLA is a big player often independent of the central government.
The economic growth is anything BUT limited to the east coast. Obviously the words coming from someone just reading about China or someone that has only visited Beijing and Shanghai.
I spent about 16 weeks of last 12 months in China. China Government has heavily invested into certain cities/areas (about 10-12 of them) in last 10-12 years. Shanghai was the first one to see it, and is the most obvious one. However, besides Shanghai -- Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Guangzhou are a few other to mention that have nothing to do with the "East Coast". Those are the ones I frequently visit and that look equally impressive as Shanghai itself.
As for the Government -- I would not really call it a typical Communist regime that still exists for example in NK, and used to exist in China, USSR, and so on. Some liberties are still limited in China, but far, far from the Communism. We, claiming to be to most Capitalist and Democratic society have limitions too. It is natural to have the government control over almost 2 billion people, otherwise it could be dangerous. So, I would not call it a typical Gov't "control" but the presence.
Now, my take on China as the future super-power would be that it may happen, but it may not. Many indicators point that it may be on the right direction -- devleopment, size, debt (zero), savings (enough to drown us), world support (I believe the world appreciates China far more than the US for obvious reasons).
The negative side is -- the mentality of Chinese people itself. That is something hard to change and "invest in". The disciplline is bad and obvious as soon as you clear the customs at the major airport -- from no formal lines, to fake taxis, to no traffic rules... We are "programmed" here, and that may be a good thing sometimes, that is what Chinese need...
Also, my opinion is that China has passed its peak, and is leveling off at this point. A lot of things are centeresd around the 2008 Olympics and to show off in front of the World. All the building, infrastructure improvement, cleaning, taxi updates, etc., is just for the event. Beijing for example has taken out all the old taxis and the Gov't has given the taxi drivers all the new cars (Elantras and VWs), and that is the city with the most taxis in the World. WHat happens after that is to be seen.
China will certainly remain a strong market for some time -- it is big, rich, smart, and over-invested from the outside. However, I'd keep and eye on possible other players like India, Russia...