Friday, October 17, 2008

Bare Essentials For A Thrusting Economy

Hotel Amenity Kit, Chinese Style

Clearly, hotels in China have very quickly come to understand what their clients really need after a hard days work: drinks, gambling and sex, and quite possibly in that specific order.

Where we stayed, the first of those was available in copious quantities. However, the other two seemed to be in shorter supply, at least within the hotel's direct precincts. But having said all that, from our table in the ground floor restaurant we could see a continual progression of young women, all dressed in short skirts and tight tops, heading into the lobby of the building next door, starting around 6:30 pm and lasting certainly as long as we were sitting there. No idea what this place was but we could see a large Japanese restaurant on the second floor if that's any clue. We were planning to go over and take a look, but we never got round to it and so this will have to remain a mystery for now.

However you look at it, China has come a very long way, very quickly, from the old boiler-suit and bicycles image we used to have of the country; at a quick glance, we could just have easily been in Sapporo as Shenzhen. Just to paint the picture one additional way, imagine how dominant Japan could become if it had 20x the people and was seeing GDP growing at a steady clip of 10% per annum.

Make no mistake, China is already a major world power and growing stronger by the day. With the rest of the world slipping into recession, the World Bank and the Economist both think it's likely to only dent their growth by a couple of percentage points or so. The net result will be that, relatively speaking, they will now start to grow even quicker than before.

Wonder what Mandarin is for "we're number 1"?

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