US expert sees new business opportunities in China

Updated: 2011-03-30 11:07

By George Bao (Xinhua)

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LOS ANGELES - The rising of a new middle class in China is a trend which will continue and that has brought new opportunities for American business, says a US expert on China Tuesday.

Stanley Rosen, director of East Asian Studies Center at the University of Southern California (USC), said at the annual Asia and Pacific Business Outlook conference that China's growth has already led to the rise of a new middle class, as well as a stratum of the rich and even super-rich.

He said that current trends and surveys "strongly suggest that this phenomenon will continue, and Chinese citizens are optimistic about their future entry to middle class status."

These developments in turn have created new role models and new patterns of consumption, stressed Rosen.

For example, he added, whereas price and Chinese brand name had always been the key factors in purchases, more recent surveys have shown that, depending on the consumer item, such things as quality, style and foreign brand name have become far more important.

However, Rosen noted that despite these clear changes, the attitudes and behavior of China's younger generation have been contradictory, ranging from conspicuous consumption of American products such as Hollywood movies to anger at the perceived lack of respect China has received in the US media and from certain US government policies.

He said it is also very clear that image has become extremely important to China's rising middle class, particularly the youth, with obvious new patterns of social stratification. These changes and the ensuing contradictions have important implications for those doing business with China.

Rosen elaborated his points in an interview with Xinhua that through his studies, he knew that while many Chinese, with the young people in particular, like American products, including Hollywood films, hamburgers, culture, education and others, they do not like the American media to report China negatively, and many of them do not like the efforts by some Americans trying to keep China from rising.

He said many Chinese do not like the US foreign policy to contain China, and in his opinion, China is both a partner and a competitor, and the rise of a strong China with a big market is good for American business too.

To contain China will make the young Chinese angry and suspicious of Americans, he added.

On China's transition from reliance heavily on export to domestic consumption, he said that is a good trend, and when Chinese turn to more domestic consumption, US businesses will have more opportunities to get into the Chinese market.

He said Walmart and other American chain stores are doing well in China. The rise of a middle class in China will certainly consume more American products. The middle class like brand named products.

Rosen said China has been labeled as the world manufacturing factory, but in the long run China will change from the labor intensive manufacturing business into more high tech and less labor intensive industries.

He said auto manufacturing and high ending electronic products have already been developed and will continue to be developed fast in China. However, he said the transition will take years. Other countries like Japan and South Korea have gone through similar processes.

The Asia and Pacific Business Outlook conference was co-sponsored by the US Department of Commerce. This year's focus is on sustainability and green business opportunities in Asia, including energy and water conservation, renewable energy and clean coal technologies as well as the wider green technology industry.


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