The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why China Makes More Money Than The West …
August 16, 2010, 6:41 am
Filed under: Comment

In short, their version of wealth creation comes from a philosophy of opportunity creation, whether that’s through something they’ve personally developed or – as is more common – something they’ve been able to exploit.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Oh no.

China believes in cumulative learning … so whilst others go back to their brand onions, proprietary tools, powerpoint charts, advertising propositions and research processes, China learns from their mistakes so they can immediately develop another version to enable them to make even more money and then, when they feel they’ve exhausted the possibilities of profit, they move onto the next opportunity with the same level of zeal as they did with the project before.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not underestimating the importance of true brand developement – not just because that’s what I do, but because it’s one thing that can counter China’s relentless and aggressive push to continually acquire and achieve more [driven more by a lack of patience than a lack of ability] however there’s often way too much talk in executing even the simplest of things and in a World where competition is now fiercer and greater than ever before, it might help if some companies/countries embraced China’s approach to opportunity which isn’t “trial and error”, but “trial and learn”.

21 Comments so far
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yeah yeah fucking yeah but it also has something to do with a billion of them selling us chicken chow fucking mein and lemon “is it really” chicken.

eat your fucking heart out warren buffett.

i like the “trial and error/trial and learn” comment. what the fuck is going on?

Comment by andy@cynic

Great post Robert, I especially love the cumulative learning and “trial & learn” statements, very true. Of course it cannot be forgotten that with so many people, the need to identify money making opportunities is as much about survival as it is about profit seeking but as a general approach to business the country does seem to be much more pragmatic than most.

Comment by Pete

By the way, what do you mean by “lack of patience”? I think I understand what you’re trying to get at, but I could argue that China’s growth has come as much from their ability to sit, watch and wait as it has from their manufacturing acceleration.

Comment by Pete

yeah campbell, answer that and still look moderately 1/8th fucking clever.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re right Pete … however the ‘sit, watch, wait’ mentality you talk about is, from my perspective, more from Government and uber-sized business than the average man on the street/small business.

There was a great article in Time [I think] that basically highlighted the approach you talk about … how the Government invited foreign companies to trade in China as much to learn how things are done as it was to drive foreign investment which is why now, in regions under dramatic development, foreign investment is basically being ‘shut out’ so that the future profits will remain for China, not a foreign organisation.

To be honest, as you state, this is possibly as much to do with the countries long-term survival as it is wealth creation because the country has to find ways to fund an infrastructure containing 1.4 billion people and whilst they may “own” America due to their debt holdings, the reality is that there are lots of issues that need a more pragmatic approach to managing, from the fact each year 6 million graduates leave the university system – without necessarily 6 million jobs to go, especially as the country tends to currently need more ‘manual labour’ than higher end management given their overall manufacturing focus – to the gender imbalance that could see men never finding someone to marry by 2020 … the ultimate demonstration of Darwin’s “survival” theory.

To be honest though, the World is benefiting from some of these social and cultural changes because in terms of global change, the Chinese are investing over US$950 billion over the next [I think] 10 years in identifying alternate energy sources and are already #1 in solar tech … but as I said, that is not because China wants the World to be OK, it’s because they need to ensure they’re OK, especially as ‘he’ who survives longest, wins … and with America seemingly unable to get legislation passed that will force fundamental change in how it uses/creates it’s energy, a betting man would say the Chinese ‘survival’ instinct is one that will drive massive wealth creation and greater power in the next 10-30 years.

God that’s a serious response, sorry – it won’t happen again.

Comment by Rob


Comment by andy@cynic

That’s much more of a reply than I expected. I guess you’re still very much Mr Pro-East then. 😉

Comment by Pete

You better believe it.

Comment by Rob

If the company killed off their competition by slowly hanging them then Noosy would be a great name but they don’t, so maybe they should rename themselves tateworm.

Comment by Billy Whizz

or act like most western companies do when it comes to the eastern style of creativity: “trail by jury”

Comment by niko

And of course it is much easier to trial and learn when there are more open views to intellectual property – it is almost like an academic environment where everything learned, gained and lost is open for use and reinterpretation

Comment by Simon Kendrick

True Simon … but I don’t think the Chinese are the only ones who have this ‘freer’ attitude to copyright infringement, they’re just the ones who are possibly more public about it.

[Seen the INTEL legal shit with nVidia?]

The problem with many countries is that when another nation acts in a way that doesn’t suit them, they are labelled as thieves or corrupt … and yet often their choices/decisions are a byproduct of how culturally those things have been handled and so whereas one nation may call another ‘corrupt’, the response may be that is how they’ve always worked and it’s not personal, it’s life.

Of course I am not defending when companies literally take all the hard work of one company and replicate it, but too often ‘crying foul’ is the first call made and that’s not always the case, especially when you look closely and see the ‘victim’ has been pulling stunts equally as questionable over the years.

ie: Singapore likes to call Indian Government corrupt, but I could say a country where the top legal firm and transport companies are owned by the PM’s family are just as questionable.

It’s all a matter of perspective, though I do appreciate China is possibly more prolific in ‘borrowing’ than most.

Comment by Rob

One mans ‘borrow’ is another man’s ‘open source’. China exels at ‘opening’.

Comment by Charles Frith

A very interesting post Robert with some excellent comments highlighting the cause and implications of China’s stupendous economic growth.

Comment by Lee Hill

You know me Lee, I’m just Mr Economic Commentator.

Cough Cough.

Comment by Rob

Watch out Dan and Co. Rob’s moving beyond corporate toadyism to actual rebranding. ‘Fail Harder’ is dead, long live, ‘Try and Learn’

Comment by northern

campbell is the master of pithy fucking statements and this is the guy who used to sit in meetings and slag us off for coming up with what he called “yoda statements”. fucking hypocrite, but hes their fucking hypocrite so its quite enjoyable to sit back and see the shit flow.

Comment by andy@cynic

Am I right in assuming this post celebrating China’s global manufacturing and economic dominance is all based on a refurbished stapler or hole puncher? Bit of a leap isn’t it Rob, even for you.

Comment by DH

yes and yes. can you imagine him as a fucking politician, hed say the recession is over if he found 50p down the back of his fucking sofa.

Comment by andy@cynic

He’s already shown the same level of deviousness by trying to make us believe that trail and error isn’t doesn’t involve learning by experimenting

Comment by John

And just think of the expenses scandal.

Comment by John

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