Tuesday, January 12, 2010

China Has Awakened. Are You Ready?

Christine B. Whittemore

Why China Should Matter To You - In Flooring Or Beyond.

Whether you're involved in doing business [flooring or other] in China - as Jim Gould is - or not, you've surely been affected by China. I have, twice. In both cases with businesses firmly established domestically [perhaps you remember the Brooklyn based sweater industry? or what about the residential upholstery fabric market?] that disappeared almost overnight to reappear in China.

This isn't a post about gripes, but rather about change and opportunity inherent to living in a global environment, given curiosity and knowledge.

In 1973, I was a kid living in French-speaking West Africa. My French grandmother came to visit bringing with her a book titled Quand la Chine s'eveillera... le monde tremblera [when China awakens..., the world will tremble]. I was mesmerized.

What's wrong with China, I asked? Why will the world tremble? Should I be afraid? The image of a slumbering giant awakening and shaking the world stuck.

The image was with me when I visited China in 1991. And, yes, I experienced a giant, but a vibrant one where single-minded focus seemingly made massive hand-built public works projects [i.e., multi-mile highways, transforming a mountainside into farmland...] look like child's play.

Quand la Chine s'eveillera..., the monde trembleraI've not been back since, but I'm more aware than ever because of conversations relating to the Floor Covering Institute about our global marketplace. Although global often means intense change, it can also signify immense opportunity given knowledge, an open mind and a willingness to consider possibilities.

Global possibilities may relate directly to China, or not. They may relate to other countries and they may simply offer a different perspective on an opportunity you face in your immediate marketplace.

To that end, I plan on sharing with you here digital resources to help with understanding global opportunities, starting with China. I'll add links to these resources in the Floor Covering Institute Blog sidebar.

That way, you'll be ready for an awakened society wherever it happens.

First Resource Focuses on China Consumers

Here is a first resource that looks at consumers in Asia Pacific:

I discovered in via this article titled The Power Of The 50+ Market in Asia Pacific by Kim Walker from SILVER "a marketing consultancy that helps companies leverage the opportunities presented by the rapidly expanding 50+ market across Asia Pacific."

The article mentions that, as in Western Society, the 50+ population is large [in China, "50+ is already greater than the entire population of the U.S. and will grow dramatically in the coming years, while at the same time, the under-50's will shrink by 117 million"], and wealthy. Be sure, though, to note differences in attitudes between obligations to family vs. to self. SILVER offers a research report dated January 2009 on the subject.

Kim Walker writes the SILVER blog which is filled with insights about consumers in Asia Pacific. You can specifically sift through his posts about China and other Asia Pacific countries, or simply follow his fascinating observations that are just as relevant for our 50+ consumer marketplace.

Let me know what you think; and think about which country I should explore when I get done with China!

~ Christine


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