A Partial SWOT Analysis of China for 2011 - Strengths
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A Partial SWOT Analysis of China for 2011 - Strengths

This is a brief overview of an analysis of China's primary strengths as a country entering 2011. The overview will include three primary areas: Population, Confucianism, and Political Homogeneity.

Professor of Strategic Management at Jimei University, PRC

China is the fastest developing country in Asia, but like all other countries and companies in the world, it has strengths and it has weaknesses. It also has a number of unique opportunities and like all other countries, a number of threats. Let us examine each of these variables as the new decade unfolds. This is, by no means an exhaustive examination of the issues, but merely some personal observations.

Strength: 1. Population

The population of China, while also being one its major weaknesses, is also one of its major strengths. With a population in excess of 1.2 billion, it has the largest workforce in the world and one of the best educated. This enormous population is a potential economic weapon of considerable proportions. It is far more powerful than any nuclear weapon. Logically speaking, the country with the most people who can contribute to the economy is the country that charge the lowest prices for every product made in that country. In the realm of pure economic competition, with all other variables being equal (and that is a very unlikely situation, currently), the country with the largest population should have an economic advantage over countries with smaller populations. But history has shown us that is seldom the case. Countries such as Greece and Italy were not initially very big, and the island of England was even smaller, yet all three of them dominated the world economically for over a thousand years. In Asia, a small country like Japan has dominated the Pacific Rim for over 100 years. So size of population is no guarantee of success. It is only a potential advantage which requires a number of variables to be working in conjunction with that advantage.

Strength: 2 . Tradition of Confucianism

The tradition of Confucianism is a vastly underrated economic advantage for China. The sense of order and understanding of one’s place in society is no greater in any country. This ordering of society allows the relatively smooth operation of government, the universal education of virtually the entire population of its children to extremely high levels, and the maintenance of its millions of family units in a form of cooperative guanxi, a practice of social networking that is only minimally practiced in the West. This spirit of cooperation allows for enormous economic development and combined with the Western model of pure aggressive capitalism, then becomes a potent economic force.

Strength 3. Political Homogeneity

While some in the West consider this a weakness in Chinese society; many observers find that a one-party system has numerous advantages. The key, of course, is whether or not the one party system is responsive to the needs of the majority of its population. A case can certainly be made that the one-party system has benefited the majority of Chinese people over the course of the last three decades since the end of the Cultural Revolution. Cities have grown and modernized. Farmland has been redistributed to many millions rather than to few rich landowners, which has enhanced competition rather than stagnate the agricultural economy. Prices have been kept lower in China than any other country in the world for almost all basic foods and necessities of life. There are still poor migrants who need special attention, but the one party government is responding to those needs. There are a number of two-party governments in the West that could learn a thing or two from the behavior of China’s one party government. Things get done here, and they get done in a hurry without destructive filibustering or negative partisan politics, which we have seen numerous countries driven into the economic ground from the negative effects of that behavior. There are still political-economic problems in China, such as per capita distribution, housing, intellectual property protection, country-city redistribution of resources, and other issues, but the government has constructed numerous state of the art bullet trains superior to any Western country, and is developing a responsible infrastructure with environmental considerations such as the three gorges project and highway and secondary road construction. All in all, if I were grading the government from 1976 onwards, I would have given it an A-. I can say with complete honesty that the grades for Western countries during this similar period would be quite a bit lower.

Next time we will consider some of the Weaknesses of China in 2011.

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