Monday, October 1, 2012

Last Day in Guangzhou and Reflection on the China Economy

The Last day in Guangzhou was just a matter of getting ready to leave and relaxing.  I did not take a single picture.  So I thought I would reflect on appearance of China a bit.  The greatest reality of China was how much things had changed in 5 years.  We have the unique situation of having visited the same 3 cities that we were in 5 years ago.  The traffic is horrible, but the driving is better.  Though still absurd by our standards.  The people appear more modern both in dress and behavior.  The buildings continue to be more modern and there are fewer dilapidated structures among the new buildings.  The culture is fast and rather self oriented, unless one is in a 5 stare Hotel.  The first 3 stories of buildings are usually businesses.  Above that are wast opened windows with underwear hanging to dry.  If you do not look up, you would never guess.

Our guide explained to us that Guangzhou is the largest exporter of garments (clothes) in the world.  There are hundreds of large factories in the area.  Eight or nine years ago Guangzhou was 8 million people, it is now 24 Million people.  There are 30,000 people employed at the Nike plant alone.
So, this is also why there are so many foreigners. They have come to take advantage of the low cost labor.  We spoke to people from Syria, Yemen, and the Netherlands, all doing business in China.   The face of China's Cities is changing.

 The cost of living has tripled along with the population.  With growth comes inflation.  One of the things that the government did was to pay the farmers to sell their land to make way for business.  In exchange, the farmers were given property in the large apartment complexes.  They now rent these properties, at vastly elevated rents, more than tripling their rental income in comparison to their farming income.  Good deal for them.

What this all means to US?  The prices are going up.

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