All Articles Tagged "China"
(Associated Press)–Chinese athletic shoemaker Li-Ning knew it couldn’t “out-Nike” Nike, especially in the sporting giant’s own backyard. So the company is going low-budget edgy in its expansion to the U.S, using an irreverent YouTube video to play up its heritage while taking a lighthearted dig at the company name shared with its high-profile founder. Li-Ning is among the first Chinese consumer product brands trying to build a following in the U.S., seeking to grab a slice of its saturated but highly coveted market. As China’s economic might increases — it last year overtook Japan as the second-biggest economy after the U.S. — its companies are increasingly confident about expansion overseas. But corporate China has yet to produce a brand with the global name recognition of the likes of Apple, Sony or Google.
By Steven Barboza
Within approximately a decade, China has accelerated its urban infrastructure development by creating futuristic skyscrapers and sleek, high-speed trains, resulting in the belief by many that the country has surpassed the United States in economic dominance. In fact, nearly half of Americans (47 percent) think China is the world’s leading economic power, according to a Pew survey.
It’s no surprise then that African Americans have begun to head East in search of entrepreneurial and employment opportunities. After all, the unemployment rate for blacks in the U.S. is 15.8 percent, nearly twice the rate of whites at 8.6 percent. China may have billions of people, but its unemployment rate is only 4 percent, and the demands of modernization can equate to employment if you’ve got the talent needed and the courage to make the move.
“In 2005, [my husband and I] had an opportunity to come to China via a family friend who lived here for many years, and [our friend] asked if we’d like to open a new restaurant,” said Antoinette Martin, a former food writer and New York City restaurant manager. “I thought it would be a great opportunity.”
Martin is among a growing number of African Americans seeking a new beginning in the bustling cities of Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen, where American brands such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks and KFC are popular and many Chinese want to practice their English on newcomers.
Martin and her husband, Taal, a former wine merchant from New York’s Upper West Side, arrived in Beijing five years ago this month. Today, they are partners in a well-known restaurant chain featuring Western cuisine. Their company, Global Cuisine Beijing, owns and operates three popular restaurants: the American Cafe, the Mexican Kitchen and Little Italy.
The restaurants, frequented by both Chinese and foreign diners, are relatively unique, even in one of the world’s largest cities. The American Cafe is located in the heart of Beijing, an area known as Central Business District. The other two are in a leafy suburb called Shunyi. Together, the restaurants serve nearly 300 dinners at a time and have gotten good reviews.
One thing the littlest Obama is not, is shy. Nine year old, Sasha Obama, who has been studying Chinese in school, realized she had the perfect opportunity to practice her skills… with Chinese president Hu Jintao.
Sasha spoke with Jintao during his welcoming ceremony on the White House lawn Wednesday when he and her father went over to greet Sasha and her friends.
(New York Magazine) — Aside from the potentially imminent NBA salary chaos, he’s attracted, like many basketball hustlers, to China’s estimated 300 million basketball fans, hoping to infiltrate its $6 billion dollar athletic-shoe market with his sneaker/apparel line, Starbury. Launched five years ago in a joint venture with retail clothing chain Steve & Barry’s, the Starbury brand was meant to offer affordable apparel for those who couldn’t afford to pay $150 for a pair of Nikes. Since Steve & Barry’s filed for bankruptcy two years ago, Starbury has been dormant.
by R. Asmerom
Much has been made about China’s involvement in sub-Saharan Africa. Some call it a new phase of colonialism for the continent and others cite it as a much needed economic injection into territories starving for opportunities.
Whatever the case, China wants the world to know that its “massive grab” for African resources is not totally selfish. Recently, according to Fast Company, the Information Office of the State Council issued a white paper to tout the mutually beneficial relationship between China, the country, and Africa, the continent. Amidst worldwide criticism of China’s intensive efforts to exploit the continents resources, including oil in Nigeria, it seems apparent that the country is looking to calm accusations of an inequitable relationship. As it stands today, the second largest world economy has a lot invested in Africa. Whether the involvement is a plus for Africans, or a negative presence, depends on the standards by which the investments are measured.
“The positive side of the China-Africa relationship is that China offers another source of investment and is an important purchaser of African raw materials, especially oil and minerals, that Africa needs to sell to someone, said David Shinn, an adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs of George Washington University. “These arrangements are, in my view, win-win-win arrangements. The Africans get needed infrastructure but Chinese companies build the projects with money provided by Chinese banks that is paid back by the African country usually in the form of oil or minerals.”
Is it fair to say that some business is better than no business? The Africa we see today, mired in conflict and poverty, is a manifestation of the centuries of colonialism, exploitation and faulty aid relationships with the IMF and World Bank.
The former beacon of socialist revolution and rebellion is now facing one of the most complex moments in its history. Raul Castro, who inherited the presidency from his brother Fidel, told legislators that as a result of the country’s economy woes, there would be some major changes next year, including a move toward more capitalist ventures that will help to bolster the socialist nation. Part of this plan includes laying off half a million government employees by March 2011. Laid off government employees will be encouraged to start businesses for themselves in hopes of boosting the country’s productivity.
No doubt that the most important issue for Cuba right now is the future of its economy, but in what direction should it go and more importantly, after being the lone wolf of communism, will capitalism be Cuba’s saving grace?
The Cuban population is nearly one-third larger than it was at the time of the 1959 revolution; however, its economy—which has been devastated by U.S. trade embargoes, economic blockades,and the fall of the Soviet Union and other former socialist countries—has failed to exceed the prosperity it achieved in 1960. Since then, wages have been inadequate, housing and transportation have deteriorated, and high unemployment has destabilized the country both economically and politically.
Cuba has instituted many reforms to create material and wage incentives for workers, who have long been conditioned to solely rely on the government. Increased tourism—thanks to the recent decision of the U.S. to to lift some travel restrictions for students and artists—hasn’t hurt either, but to what extent will these reforms impact the country’s long-standing history of providing free public services and subsidies, as well as impact Cuba’s fundamental principles of social equality?
It may seem contradictory to promote both socialism and capitalism, but countries throughout Europe have done just that—promoted the virtues of making money and building wealth, while providing universal services such as free healthcare and education. Then there is of course China, which once stood as the powerhouse of communism, but now has did a complete 180 and is enjoying a rather fruitful capitalist economy. It should come as no surprise that both Castro brothers have referenced China’s progress and has even renewed trade agreements and deals with the country.
However, Cuba is not in the same political and economic position as China was after the Cold War. As all indicators suggest, a China-style reform may be ill suited for an island nation of 11 million with a relatively small agricultural sector, a heavy reliance on service industry jobs, and the misfortune of being too close in proximity to one of the world’s largest economies.
Truthfully, it’s hard to say for certain which direction Cuba will go in. But it will certainly be interesting to see how Cuba evolves and if it will fully embrace America’s system or try to model itself after other European nations.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
Black musicians and artists are popular all over the world, even in notably racist countries, but who would’ve thunk Black folks would be associated with one of the best selling toothpastes in China? According to Newsweek.com, a toothpaste which used to be called “Darkie” in English (renamed Darlie) and referred to as Black People Toothpaste in China is being critized for the racial insensitivy of its logo, which features a minstrel singer in a top hat, flashing a white smile.
Much of the scrutiny comes from the fact that China is not necessarily known for its racial tolerance. A few Blacks who reside in China told Newsweek that they’ve experience racism overtly. Although it is arguable that the Chinese are not aware of their racial insensitivity in regards to the logo, many believe that Colgate, which owns 50 percent of the company who produces the product, should take action and overhaul the product.
(New York Times) — After three decades of spectacular growth, China passed Japan in the second quarter to become the world’s second-largest economy behind the United States, according to government figures released early Monday. The milestone, though anticipated for some time, is the most striking evidence yet that China’s ascendance is for real and that the rest of the world will have to reckon with a new economic superpower.
(Forbes) — Dan is a founding member of Harris & Moure, a boutique international law firm with attorneys in the United States and in China. I once gave a talk on what Chinese companies look at in determining whether to expand their business to the United States. This talk was to mostly American businesspeople seeking Chinese investment.
(Wall Street Journal) — Google Inc. said it would make a small change to how Chinese users access its Internet search service after the Chinese government threatened to revoke the company’s license to provide online content in that country. It’s unclear whether the government will approve the change and renew Google’s license. The company on Tuesday said it had submitted an application to approve the license as part of an annual renewal process.