The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that will Disrupt the World

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Overview

China is known for manufacturing cheap products, thanks largely to the country's vast supply of low-cost workers. But China is changing, and the glut of cheap labor that has made everyday low prices possible is drying up, as the Chinese people seek not to make iPhones, but to buy them. This evaporating labor pool will disrupt supply chains and consumption habits around the world.

Rein takes an engaging and informative approach to examining the changes taking place across all ...

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Overview

China is known for manufacturing cheap products, thanks largely to the country's vast supply of low-cost workers. But China is changing, and the glut of cheap labor that has made everyday low prices possible is drying up, as the Chinese people seek not to make iPhones, but to buy them. This evaporating labor pool will disrupt supply chains and consumption habits around the world.

Rein takes an engaging and informative approach to examining the changes taking place across all levels of Chinese society, talking to everyone from Chinese billionaires and senior government officials, to poor migrant workers, and even prostitutes. He draws on personal stories and experiences from living in China since the 1990s, as well as hard economic data. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of China's transformation—from trailblazing Chinese companies to newly employed Chinese women to the role of China's government—and at the end breaks down key lessons for readers to take away. You'll learn:

  • How rising labor and real estate costs are forcing manufacturers of cheap Chinese products to close, relocate, or move up the value stream
  • How China's move away from exports to domestic consumption will create opportunities for foreign brands to sell products in China rather than just producing there
  • How Chinese consumption will build pressure on the global commodities markets, causing both inflation and friction with other nations
  • How China's economic transformation spells the end of cheap consumption for Americans

China's days as a low-cost production center are numbered. The End of Cheap China exposes the end of our consumerist way of life, and gives clear advice on how companies can succeed in the new world order.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…brilliantly written, colourful, witty and well signposted, so that readers know the lessons they are meant to draw from each chapter before moving on to the next one. These writers will not be the last to offer an answer to the question of what makes China tick. But they could be among the best of them.”-from “A Slice of the China Market” in The Financial Times

“Rein combines elegant writing and methodical research. Years of working in China have given him access to important players. Incisive interviews with billionaires, business executives, government officials, and migrant workers guide the pulse of the narrative.... essential reading.”-USA Today

“Must Read.”-Consulting Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118172063
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

SHAUN REIN is the founder and Managing Director of the China Market Research Group, a leading strategic market intelligence firm that advises Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms, and hedge funds about profiting in China. Millions read his weekly CNBC column on business in China. He regularly appears on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CBS News, CNN, and NPR, and is often featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Financial Times, Bloomberg.com, and the New York Times.

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Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Chapter 1 Chinese Billionaires Outnumber American Ones 1

Chapter 2 Cheap Chinese Labor? Not Anymore: China’s Workers Are Demanding Better Pay and Better Conditions—And They Are Earning Them 19

Chapter 3 Stability Is the Key to Happiness: How China’s Government Thinks and Why It Acts the Way It Does 39

Chapter 4 The Modern Chinese Woman 63

Chapter 5 Why Chinese Consider Kentucky Fried Chicken Healthful: China’s Iffy Food Supply Chain Is Putting a Premium on Safe Food 85

Chapter 6 Understanding Corruption in China: What China’s Underground Sex Trade Shows about Its Government 103

Chapter 7 China’s Real Estate Sector: Boom or Bust or Something Else? 125

Chapter 8 Chinese Neo-Colonialism in Africa and the End of American Hegemony? 147

Chapter 9 China’s Educational Sector: Preventing China from Cementing Its Superpower Status 171

Chapter 10 What the End of Cheap China Means for the Rest of the World 189

Epilogue 203

Postscript 205

Acknowledgments 209

Index 211

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Interviews & Essays

Author Q&A for The End Of Cheap China

1. What is your background with the Chinese economy?
I first came to China in the 1990s and studied it as a graduate student at Harvard. At that time, the word "cheap" summed up China. Land prices and salaries were low and the quality of China's production was inferior. It was still difficult to find a decent job. When walking outside the gates of factories, you used to run into swelling crowds of unemployed workers with cardboard signs touting their skill sets in the hopes of finding a job. That has all changed in the last decade due to the job creation spurred by multinationals investing billions of dollars. Now the biggest obstacle to growth in China for most firms is finding talent even with China's large population.

2. What are some of the biggest economic or cultural disruptions happening now in China that people and businesses should pay attention to?
Too many businesses underestimate how fast costs are rising in China and how rising costs won't change anytime soon. In 2011, 21 of China's 31 provinces increased the minimum wage an average of 22%. The government has set a plan to raise the minimum wage by 13% annually for the next five years to spur domestic consumption and wean away the country's reliance on exports. Many companies might be forced to relocate manufacturing to lower cost countries like Indonesia. However, the reality is China's work force and infrastructure is far superior, so China won't lose its dominance in manufacturing. The resulting higher input prices will force companies to accept squeezed margins or they will have to transfer higher costs to end consumers. Instead of being a deflationary force in the global economy, China will export inflation to the rest of the world. Already import prices from China in 2011 in America were up 3.6%, the highest on record. Consumers around the world better get used to seeing higher priced products in stores.

3. What kind of global impact will "The End of Cheap China" have?
Aside from higher costs, the End of Cheap China means that China as a nation will become more powerful in global affairs which could cause more friction. Chinese companies will not only be investing more in countries like Canada to secure access to natural resources but Chinese brands will start selling products abroad and acquiring western brands, as Chinese auto manufacturer Geeley with its acquisition of the Volvo brand. It also means China's government will take a larger role in global institutions like the United Nations and G20 in order to safeguard its interests. The key to China's rise as a superpower is to ensure that it is integrated enough into world affairs to reduce possible tension and to stop the fear-mongering and hysteria about China's rise.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 22, 2012

    Must read

    The world is flat, the world is round...different authors have different philosophies of economics. Read this book and see how both may be right; the real question is what is best for America and the world. Cheap China is keeping the peace in China (workers have jobs and are less likely to revolt) but is hurting America (why we need good job here, and I don't mean "service" jobs -- no matter how well they may pay.)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2013

    The End of Cheap China is an excellent book that engages you int

    The End of Cheap China is an excellent book that engages you intellectually, invokes thoughtful questions and expands your interests about the cultural and economic changes of China. It provides fascinating case studies and essential considerations for operating businesses in China. It raises interesting points about the emerging modern Chinese woman, understanding the Chinese government, the fast changing real estate sector, Chinese neo-colonialism in Africa, the challenges of education reform in China and the larger global implications of China’s dynamic evolution as a society.

    This is essential book to read for anyone visiting or conducting business in China. It is an invaluable read for expatriates who have been living and/or working in China for years. Reading The End of Cheap China will cultivate an influential force that transforms, evolves and deepens your ideas about China, leaving you hungry for more information. By reading this book, you will gain an accurate understanding of the economic and cultural changes in modern China and the implications of China’s rise as a superpower and increasing roles in global institutions and world affairs.

    Shaun Rein is an inspiring thought-leader in our global society---- and so needed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2012

    Nothing New

    Nothing new here and the analysis of China's economy is
    rather sophomoric I agree with the previous reviewer that the book was dated even before it was published ,

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    It was out of date a few years before it was published.

    It was out of date a few years before it was published.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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