In the world I walk around in this week, change is key. In the markets things that did not exist one year ago are being sold (like digital photo frames that show your pics from a USB memory), old buildings can from one day to the next have been cleared down to make space for brand new, exciting arcitechture - often 10 or 20 times taller. Shops that are not profitable close after a week or two, the club that was in last month is most likely not the place to be tomorrow night. The feel is wonderfully capitalistic-optimistic and today as I walked in to the Shanghai Museum of Urban Planning, the lady at the ticket office proudly told me that the current exhibition would tell me more about the city in 20 years time. The future is here!
The downside to the whole thing is of course the lack of environmental and..ehrm..human concerns. Of course there are many women and men as well as geographical areas that suffer when products are being quickly produced and sold for small change ("Everything 2 yuan Shops" =0.20 cent, are everywhere). Although, it might be changing. It is not easy to get information on these things here, but small signs like that organic foods are available - even if in a small scale and often imported and a well-to-do middle class is emerging, at least here in Shanghai.
Seeing this exploding growth makes me think of the information clash that probably exists since in Europe we can read every week about "The China Bubble". The headlines scream out "Sell your China papers!" and "The end for China is here!" While the concern is almost never about environment or human rights, the economy journalists worry about the "financial fragility" of the Chinese market. Coincidently, a Swedish finance guy I met in a fancy club at The Bund - the Shanghai see shore and business centre since a decade - said that "with the Olympic Games in Beijing next year and the World Expo in Shanghai 2010, people would be crazy to listen to those who predict a soon-to-come downfall of the Chinese market".
Well, if I would trust the vibe I've gotten here in Shanghai over this first week and that handsome financeman, I'd buy into Chinese stocks. Although, my money will more likely be spent on a last minue trip to Beijing tomorrow where I'll look for further capitalism clues.
3 weeks ago