Jul 24, 2018


Host: SFU, Beedie School of Business

Date: 19 July 2018

Description: Dr. Ilan Alon, a Professor of Strategy and International Marketing at the University of Agder, Norway, and a visiting scholar at the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, explored the opportunities and threats of the Chinese economy and the prospects for its future development.

Background: China has led one of the most successful development experiments in history, elevating a reported 800 million people out of poverty within the last 40 years. With a population of about 1.3 billion, China is projected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy within a decade. However, China lacks institutional capacity in key governance sectors which poses a considerable risk for investors and trade partners.

VSIR Thinking Points:

  • China is evolving into a global hub of research, manufacturing, and technical innovation. Annual investments in research and development (R&D) have climbed to 2.1% of GDP or about $220 billion. Between 2006 and 2017, China negotiated free trade agreements with 11 countries and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), a consortium of 10 nations. Moreover, China is an indispensable economic partner for more than 100 countries around the world. Extremely adept at economic statecraft, the Chinese leadership is leveraging the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to reconfigure the Eurasian economic and political geography.
  • China’s greatest strengths are also its biggest vulnerabilities. Decades of intensive industrial activity coupled with lax enforcement of environmental laws and systemic corruption have also damaged entire ecosystems, leaving minority population groups and marginalized communities exposed to protracted human security threats. Transitioning to a knowledge-intensive economy in the next 20 years will present a herculean challenge to Chinese policy planners in the absence of adequate regulatory, governance, and open innovation platforms.
  • Cities are the algorithm that China needs to advance to the next stage of its economic development. China’s economic vitality is led by eight high-performing metropolitan centres – Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Suzhou, and Chongqing – which generate 18% of the country’s GDP with just 9.5% of its population. To the same extent that Shanghai’s urban transformation represents China’s recent past, the border city of Khorgos (Xinjiang) may symbolize China’s near-term future.

Agenda and Speaker: https://www.sfu.ca/sfu-community/events.html#!view/event/event_id/2500

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