The burgeoning US-China trade war promises to dominate headlines this year for a good time to come. But the larger story of China’s economy is just as intriguing. A structural transition from a manufacturing-led economy to a services- and consumer-based one is proceeding apace. This economic shift will intersect with large-scale demographic changes as the population ages. Though that may have its own impact on the labor force, it will also create the largest middle class the country has ever seen. Together, these concomitant transitions have serious implications for international investors and multinationals seeking to do business in China. What industries have successful multinationals tapped into? What should they know as the new consumer class rises—and flashes its wealth?
Background reading and multimedia:
- China's Debt Threat: Time to Rein in the Lending Boom
Martin Wolf, Financial Times, July 24, 2018
- Future of Consumption in Fast-growth Consumer Markets: China
System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Consumption, World Economic Forum, March 5, 2018
- Aiming at China's Armpits: When Foreign Brands Misfire
Owen Guo, New York Times, February 2, 2018