June 25, 2010
This is first in series of comparisons that could be done between the two countries. For all the non-inspiring traits I mentioned about us Indians, there is one that surely is commendable; as Swami tried to point out – and that is freedom of speech; which is how I am able to write this so freely and you are able to comment so freely (Thanks for your comments). It’s true that I always took this freedom of speech for granted and never realized its value till I got to China – which is at the other extreme.
When we are outside our country we become even more strongly aware of our nationality as we are representatives of our country outside. Let me further explain what it means to me today in an international setting, with people from different nationalities. When a westerner asks about some problems in India, we normally tell them it’s because of the population and they wouldn’t understand as they don’t come from a populated country. But this answer cannot be given to a Chinese person, as after all this is the only country with a population that matches ours (although the population density is lower). Of late, on my trips to India, I have ended up accompanying Chinese on their first trip to India (including a senior Chinese delegation once) and I can tell you they are appalled; mostly by the infrastructure, rather the lack of it. This is compounded by the fact that Chinese government’s answer to all woes is the infrastructure stimulus package. The rate at which the infrastructure is being developed here needs to be seen to be believed. So when the Chinese person comes to India and sees lack of good wide roads, highways, metro system and so on, they can’t believe that this country (which lacks basic infrastructure) will compete with China. Of course, Prof Gupta and his Chinese wife put it very aptly when they say though China is clearly ahead of India, the former looks stronger than it is while the latter is stronger than it looks.
An incident that comes to mind is when I accompanied the delegation to the Taj Mahal from Delhi and the highway was blocked by the villagers who were protesting against a murder – so we ended up taking a kuccha road which increased travel time substantially. The woes didn’t end there. In spite of being put up at the best luxury hotel within 500 metres of the Taj, the golf cart ride to the Taj proved to be a pain for them with urchins trying to climb onto the cart and ask for money – a scene straight out of slumdog millionaire! And then we have the likes of Amitabh Bachchan saying Slumdog is ruining the image of India – but that is the real India! If we/ the Indian government are so concerned about the “image” of India, then the road leading to the Taj Mahal should be cleared of illegal hawkers, urchins, and the likes. In fact given that the Taj Mahal is among the wonders of the world and one of top tourist destinations in India this is the least we can do.
Last night while posting the comments in response to Swami I talked about how we in India have the freedom to move to any city and if I don’t have place to live there, I can live on the road creating a slum. While slums are clearly not an Indian phenomenon alone, mention must be made here of China’s ‘hukou’ system (system of residence permits, which makes it difficult to move across cities, thereby limiting mass movement of people from rural areas to cities). India, being a democracy doesn’t impose any restrictions on movement of people within the country and as an Indian I am free to go to any part of India. But they think it’s better to restrict movement than to have slums. Now, China’s hukou system has been criticized a lot as explained in this article which is blocked here (an example of the internet restrictions here). But to the Chinese, India’s problem are the slums and also the fact that our government does nothing to control the population growth – again an issue of democratic right of deciding how many children one wants to have. Now an important point as far as beautification of cities is concerned is that in China; the face is Shanghai and it’s very well decorated/ prepped up…but West China (which is the rural China) is the ugly underbelly that China doesn’t want to show. Whereas in India, it is what it is – all out in the open (we really don’t try to showcase only some places which make us feel good about our country). Which I would think is truly commendable and something to feel proud of as an Indian.
Also, lest I be accused of only drawing attention to annoying habits of Indians, I must say the Chinese have their own idiosyncrasies, what with the government in Shanghai trying its best to convince people not to spit, not to wear pyjamas during the expo. And for Deepesh’s comments, would say that the mainland Chinese will surely not read this due to their aversion towards reading English (manifested by the education system). Also, important to note here is that when we Indians feel superior because we know English, we tend to forget that it’s in a way thanks to the British colonization legacy! As for Arvind’s comments; most Indians would become more concerned about country’s image when outside as that’s when you are truly a representative/ ambassador of your country! So if and when I don’t conform to the stereotype image foreigners have of India (after seeing movies like slumdog millionaire); I do tell the story of the elephant and seven blind men and try to explain what being Indian means (which is how the previos post came about). I try to explain how our country is a melting pot of so many different cultures, languages, religions, customs, rituals, and so on.
In the coming weeks, I shall attempt to compare the two countries on food, language, outlook towards progress, outlook towards the west, internet freedom, and so on.
3 Comments | Uncategorized | Tagged: china, freedom of speech, India, Infrastructure, Taj Mahal | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
May 16, 2010
Yesterday the Japanese retailer Uniqlo opened its flagship store (39,000 sq. ft.) on West Nanjing Road in Shanghai which will be its largest store in the world – the tagline thus appropriately; From Shanghai to the world. The opening was to coincide with the world expo that kicked off in Shanghai this month.
Shanghai has been undergoing a facelift in the last few months – for the green expo. From new metro lines (which have now made the Shanghai Metro the longest in the world) to a new airport terminal to trees replete with lights that have sprouted overnight to viewing galleries in shanghai’s business district to the newly done up bund on the pudong side to new expo taxis with English speaking drivers; shanghai has had more than a lift and a tuck to look like a glittering diamond. Imagine driving to work on a Monday morning to find the road you take everyday suddenly looking completely different with trees on both sides (literally overnight) or taking a taxi one day and not having to explain the address/ give directions in Chinese! It’s almost surreal – but if anyone can do it; it’s the Chinese! In fact; even in normal taxis (the expo taxis are bigger and better); a sticker has been put with a number to call on in case of problems communicating with the driver – Shanghai has gone all out to make it convenient for the visitor; though how many will visit only because of the expo remains to be seen. But one has to see it to believe it! Most Indians who visit Shanghai for the first time are completely in awe of what the city has to offer in terms of infrastructure and then admit rather sheepishly that they never thought China would be like this!
Let’s take a look at some of the statistics:
- Size of expo site – 5.28 sq. km. (20 times bigger than the last world expo in Spain)
- No of visitors expected over 6 months of expo – 70 million (most of them Chinese)
- Participating countries and organizations – >240
- Expense to host the event – USD 4.2 billion
- Amount spent on infrastructure overhaul – USD 45 billion
- Number of new taxis – 4,000 (in addition to 50,000 existing ones)
The government has spent more on the shanghai expo than they did on Beijing Olympics. A look at the fantastic pavilions put up by various countries today and one is convinced that no country wants to say no to China today! In fact; they want to go all out to use this opportunity to strengthen their ties with China. World leaders were present for the opening ceremony. This is China’s way of asserting its place in the world today by showcasing how no one can do it bigger and better than them. This is also a way for China to tell its own people about its position in the world today. Most importantly, this is the first time the world expo is being hosted by a developing country! If the Beijing Olympics made the world sit up and notice China, then there is no doubt that the Shanghai expo will go all out to make a big statement about China’s position in the world today!
Of course, all this has not been without its share of controversies; people have been relocated to make space for the expo site and the new metro lines; there have been protests which have been curtailed. The PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has been brought in to beef up security.
Everyone who has been living in Shanghai for last 6 months; has been given a free ticket to the expo; 33 million tickets have already been sold and along with the free tickets 40 million visitors are confirmed – and the expo has just begun. Keeping aside the issue of relocating the locals or causing inconvenience to some of them; one has to agree that what Shanghai has been able to do is spectacular – I have not seen so much infrastructure development in last 15 years in Bombay as I have seen in Shanghai in last 2 years. In that sense; it does live up to the “better city, better life” theme. All this infrastructure development is very futuristic and will benefit Shanghai for a long time to come. The critics say that there will be the problem of overcapacity but with the kind of growth China is seeing; most don’t see that as a big issue. Convenience and ease is top priority as Shanghai has managed to now link both the airports by metro (old airport in Hongqiao and the new one at Pudong). They have also connected Shanghai to cities like Nanjing by high speed trains and plan to do the same for Shanghai and Beijing. In addition; a 165 metre expo thermometer has been put up in the expo park in Puxi along the Huang Pu river to give real time weather information – this is the highest meteorological signal tower in the world! From low carbon consumption to odorless toilets, the expo has it all.
Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh – you said in 2005 that you want to make Mumbai like Shanghai; its 2010 and Shanghai seems to have gone ahead by light years whereas Mumbai is nowhere close to where Shanghai was in 2005 – in fact the only infrastructure development that Mumbai is proud of; the Bandra-Worli sea link (which took ten years to complete; the same time it took Shanghai to turn whole of Pudong from grasslands to a world class business district complete with a new airport and metro lines) also needed Chinese help (one of the contractors for the sea link was a Chinese infrastructure company)! So while we Indians pride ourselves on our software; when it comes to hardware we really need to keep our egos aside and take some serious help from China as they really know their stuff as showcased by the expo! Being a realist; though I am a proud Indian I would say that Mumbai cannot dream of hosting such an event at a similar scale for the next 100 years! Sigh!
Leave a Comment » | Uncategorized | Tagged: china, developing countries, Expo, Infrastructure, Shanghai | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
April 26, 2010
This is pretty interesting. The state of New York is practically broke, but the city of New York is merely deeply indebted. To ease its fiscal crisis, the state of New York is transferring an island from joint administration to the sole administration of New York City:
After more than a year of negotiations, New York City has reached a deal to take control of Governors Island from the state, moving a prime 172-acre piece of waterfront real estate into the hands of a land-starved city and closer to an ambitious redevelopment, city and state officials announced on Sunday.
These agreements represent a reversal from 35 years ago, when a city on the verge of bankruptcy parted with a number of its assets and relied on the state to shore up its finances.
Raymond Horton, a professor at Columbia Business School who ran a commission that studied New York City’s finances during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, said that by taking over properties like Governors Island, Mr. Bloomberg achieved a milestone that had eluded many of his predecessors.
“What tips the balance here is the state’s fiscal crisis,” Mr. Horton said. “The state is in a dire situation. The city is much better managed at this moment. That makes possible something that was not when the two governments’ finances were in similar condition.”
(New York Times)
This is not something very novel though. Throughout the nineteenth century countries that were broke or defeated in war would sell their territories, or give them up against war reparations, or sign long or perpetual leases. Some notable examples are:
- New York City itself! After the Dutch lost the Anglo-Dutch war, they allowed the British to keep New York in return for the island of Run in the East Indies, which at the time was the only place in the world where nutmeg used to grow. Talk about excessive discount rates.
- The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which Cuba handed over to America as a perpetual lease back in 1903.
- Hong Kong, which the Chinese empire leased to Great Britain for 99 years in 1900.
- Alaska, which the Russians sold to America for 7.2 million dollars.
- Almost a third of the continental United States, when the Thomas Jefferson administration paid Napoleon 15 million dollars in the Louisiana Purchase. They had offered him 10 million dollars just for New Orleans, but Napoleon had wars to fight and was desperate for cash, so he threw in pretty much the middle third of the United States. The extra 5 million dollars kept Napoleon’s armies going successfully until the Russian front in 1812, when famine decimated his army. On the other hand, Napoleon thought that by giving all that land to the US, he would make life even more difficult for Great Britain, which was hostile to America at that point of time. While Napoleon’s forces were being thulped at Moscow, America and Britain were actually fighting the War of 1812 which ended in a stalemate, so maybe this worked. Incidentally, the financing for the Louisiana Purchase was a fascinating piece of structuring.
Sadly Purchase, New York does not seem to fit this category.
Anyhow, it looks like the twenty-first century is going to see the return of grossly broke countries selling off their territory to keep up with the payments. The first inkling that it’s making a comeback came when two German MPs demanded that Greece sell off its islands (oh, and the Acropolis) if they wanted a bailout. It didn’t happen, but considering that Greece will probably default on its debt again soon, we may see this idea being taken up again. Portugal, Italy and Spain are also headed towards default, so we may soon witness the spectacle of Mediterranean beaches and slopes of Alpine mountains up for auction. It will be awesome.
The fiscal situation of the PIGS countries now is of course tiny compared to the fiscal situation of the United States a few years down the line. With the demographic bulge of the Baby Boom coming into Medicare and Social Security payout ages, the chances of the United States defaulting on its debt are beginning to look likely. The USA too may have to start selling its territory. Fortunately, it has a lot of empty territory to sell. Especially Michigan, which is rapidly depopulating.
The only thing is that selling something only works if there’s a buyer. That would involve either handing the territory over to whoever was holding the US debt and furious about the default, or someone with a shitload of cash.
The major holder of US debt is… the US government. Right, the major holder of US debt that is in a position to demand payments pronto is Japan, followed by China. Out of these, China is in a better position to throw its weight around.
Naturally, the prospect of China occupying Idaho or Nevada may not thrill the Americans, and they would be under pressure to sell to someone with a shitload of cash instead. Extrapolating from current trends, that would be… Apple. Steve Jobs has always been megalomaniac enough to want to own a country, but until now, it never looked like he actually would.
iDaho, iOwa, and iLlinois are on their way. We’re doomed.
2 Comments | Finance, Public Policy and Politics, Yellow Peril | Tagged: acropolis, alaska purchase, apple, baby boom, baby boomer, bailout, china, default, fiscal crisis, fiscal deficit, governor's island, greece, guantanamo bay, hong kong, land for cash, louisiana purchase, medicare, pigs, seward, social security, steve jobs, structuring, thomas jeffferson | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
November 8, 2009
China’s biggest import is not commodities from Africa or India but human resource, especially in the big cities. From executives in MNCs to teachers, waiters, chefs, bartenders, musicians, artists, yoga teachers to businessmen, restaurateurs – foreigners can be seen working everywhere in China. Most MNCs have highest number of expats working in China among all geographies they are present in. This is because of two main reasons – China’s booming market (while there is a slowdown in most other parts of the world) and lack of local managerial talent in the middle kingdom. A few articles here illustrate the point:
It’s almost like China opening its doors to foreigners and saying “come and partake in the growth story”.
In most cases, foreigners who come to China either love it or hate it – it’s very rare that one would be indifferent towards this country! Generally, once one overcomes the basic culture shock, it actually translates to a better life with lower cost of living (the best part is that alcohol can be procured very cheaply), services of ayis (maids) and chauffeurs available for a reasonable amount, cheap takeaways (specially if one likes Chinese food) and good basic infrastructure; specially for a westerner.
The number of foreigners learning Chinese around the world is estimated to be around 40 million.
Why, even IIMA has students learning Chinese now, eager to explore job opportunities in the fastest growing country in the world. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Chinese-incursion-at-IIM-A-too/articleshow/5088306.cms). Jim Rogers has a Chinese nanny for his kids as he wants them to learn Chinese. In fact according to Jim Rogers, the 19th century was the era of the British Empire and the 20th century was the U.S.’ heyday. But the 21st century is China’s. So while we Indians pride ourselves on our knowledge of the queen’s language; mandarin seems to be the language of the future. (I will write separately on the language bit in detail).
Now contrast this with India, which has always been very good with exporting people but not so good at importing them. Indians travel well, adapt well, and the Indian Diaspora is well spread across the world. But is India open to foreigners – Bangalore has come known to be as the most expat friendly city in India. The local Bangaloreans have a problem with the IT culture; wonder what they have to say about their city being most preferred city of foreigners in India. Take the commercial capital of India, Mumbai or Bombay as I like to call it – as per 2008 data there were 4000 expats (including returning NRIs/ PIOs) living and working in Bombay (number of foreigners living and working in Shanghai was estimated to be more than 68,000 in end of 2008). Of course, the normal response to this as a proud Indian would be that India has a vast talent pool; we have Indians heading global businesses; so why would we need foreigners working in India. But the other way to look at this is having foreigners working in the country helps add to diversity and internationalize the work place. But alas, for the living and working conditions in India are not conducive to most foreigners – as there is no life in the work-life balance in India; especially in cities like Mumbai. The lack of basic infrastructure – housing, comfortable public transport, good roads (especially in Bombay) makes life quite difficult for someone used to good infrastructure as a given. Not surprisingly, the foreigners don’t exactly feel at home working in India as much as they do working in China.
3 Comments | Uncategorized | Tagged: china, expats, human resource, India, Indian talent pool, working conditions | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
September 3, 2009
Every other day I happen to speak to a colleague, acquaintance, long lost friend and when I tell them that I work in China the reaction invariably is “China; are you vegetarian? – it must be terrible for you there” or worse still “Are you eating cockroaches and lizards every day?” And this comment is invariably from people who have never visited China. For one to think that everyone in China eats lizards and cockroaches is akin to someone who would watch Slumdog Millionaire and think every Indian lives in a slum and has to beg for a living! I am writing this merely to highlight the reality in China today in terms of food. For most of the world and more so for India (in spite of being a neighbour), China remains an unravelled mystery.
When I visited China for the first time on a short trip, I came here with an open mind, not expecting anything but not carrying the notions that some of my friends/ acquaintances in India have about China. Born to a Brahmin mother and Jain father, I am vegetarian by birth and now by choice – and not because of religious reasons. I don’t mind sharing my table with people eating meat or having my food made in same utensils used for cooking meat and I don’t eat meat simply because I don’t like the taste. And it’s not that I have to eat only Indian vegetarian – I like all cuisines, as long as its non meat dishes.
When I came to live in Shanghai, It took me all of 2 weeks, speaking to some Indian acquaintances and some googling to figure out the following about Shanghai:
• There are more than 30 Indian restaurants in Shanghai and growing by the day (the Indian consulate website also provides details of Indian restaurants in China)
• There are hazaar American, Italian, Mexican restaurants with some good vegetarian options on their menu
• Most Chinese restaurants make vegetable fried rice, stir fried broccoli, Chinese cabbage, stir fried vegetable with mushroom, braised eggplant, spinach etc (In fact the Chinese also make spring onion chapatti and call it “congyoubing”)
• In Shanghai, there are more than 3 (that I know of) independent Indian chefs – who provide a dabbawala kind of service depending on which area one lives/ works in (Jain food also available)
• There are Indian grocery stores wherein one gets everything from basmati rice to all kinds of pulses, spices to desi daru
• There are Buddhist vegetarian restaurants where people who don’t eat meat but like the taste get mushroom/ soybean dishes cooked to taste like meat
Other cities like Beijing, Hangzhou, Suzhou have Indian restaurants; in fact Yiwu (frequented by lot of Indian businessmen) has a pure vegetarian Indian restaurant.
So one may think what about all those emails floating around showing pictures of lizards, cockroaches, and various insects sold as street food in China. Well, yes, those do exist but very rarely have I seen any of my Chinese friends or colleagues eating that and it surely is not available everywhere – I can’t find a single such place anywhere near my office or house in Shanghai. I know of the food stalls near Wanfujing walking street in Beijing and that is the only place in China where I have seen the insects being sold. Also, I am told that in interiors of China, rural China, especially in the south, people eat more “exotic” stuff including monkey, cat and dog. But in Shanghai; KFC, McDonald’s are surely more frequented than the roadside food stalls.
Let us understand why some people in China eat this “exotic” or “weird” or “unusual” stuff in the first place. It is said that because of food shortage in the past, the people ate anything and everything to fill their stomach – it was a question of survival! Also when it comes to normal food like chicken, it’s the Chinese style of preparation which is very different. For example, Chicken feet are eaten and the chicken is normally not skinned – which may not be acceptable to most Indian meat eaters. However, this still does not warrant the 5 kg basmati rice and other food stuff most Indians carry along with them when they arrive in China – almost as if there is no food available here!
So if you are an Indian vegetarian or meat eater looking to visit China, please do so just as you would visit any other country in the world – without having notions about the food – as global cuisine is available in most of the big cities here.
1 Comment | Uncategorized | Tagged: chicken feet, china, cochroaches, exotic food, Food, indian food in china, jain, lizards, vegetarians | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
August 20, 2009
Wanted to post this for a long time now; but travel, viral infection and lack of photographic evidence delayed the same. Since the travel is not going to slowdown, I decided to go ahead and post this and add photographs later.
Let me start with the Chinese love for all cute things – before which I may add that the Chinese people themselves are very cute and endearing for their Barbie doll personalities; specially the women. There is something about the Chinese and their love for soft toys, baby doll dresses, cute clips, hair bands, bling bags, cartoon character car seat covers – the list is endless. While this by itself is not surprising, what stands out is the fact that it’s not just the teenagers who are hooked onto the cute stuff but even their moms. So it’s normal to see a 40 something Chinese lady with a cute pink teddy bear hanging from her mobile phone (which may also be pink) and driving a car which has tweety car seat cushions and her office cubicle will be full of cute little soft toys. Also she would be wearing a baby doll dress with purple mascara or in some cases purple highlights to the hair. Her laptop bag may again be a very girly bag with some cartoon character and she may wear pink or violet sandals. Now, before you get me wrong, I must highlight the point I am trying to make here – The 40 something Chinese woman can carry all this off! Can you ever imagine the average 40 something Indian woman in a baby doll dress with stuff she would buy for her kids? (While our 40 something heroes are in some cases able to carry off a college boy look complete with pink tees, actresses at that age are only offered “maa/ bhabhi” roles). And then you hear people saying how it’s not easy to determine the age of the Chinese – that because they really don’t age; mentally at least.
Now having spoken about the women let me dwell on the average Shanghainese man. He is the perfect husband/ boyfriend every woman dreams of having – It is said that the average Shanghainese man treats his woman like royalty bringing her breakfast in bed, to carrying all her bags (yes including her most feminine handbags) to taking care of the kid. In fact, it is said that the men in rest of China make fun of the Shanghainese men for being so effeminate. But, nothing seems to faze the Shanghainese guy and all over the city, one can see the guy following the girl obediently or walking next to her carrying her LV/ D & G/ Prada handbag (fake one in most cases). I have been told that in some cases this royal treatment is also meted out to the girlfriend/ wife’s parents and the Shanghainese man excels at not just cooking but other household chores too. Now if only Indian men were to take some inspiration from the Shanghainese men (ok, except the handbag carrying part as that can be really effeminate).
And this brings me to the most intriguing thing about China – the aversion to use nappies for babies! The first time I saw a Chinese kid moving around I thought that this kid must belong to such a poor family that he has to wear torn clothes. But it’s only when I saw almost every kid roams around with no nappy and a slit in his trousers/ pants to facilitate parents to help them pee/ poo that I realized that this is the norm here. Unfortunately I don’t have a photograph right now, but will soon be posting one as in this case the adage “A picture is a thousand words” does hold true. I would say one of the most difficult jobs in China would be that of the marketing head of these diaper manufacturing companies. I have also heard expat friends with babies receiving “torn” clothes as gifts as the baby clothes in most local places here come with a slit! Can you imagine how lazy must be the person who invented this slit in the first place!
(Disclaimer – the writer is NOT looking to have a Shanghainese boyfriend/ husband)
Leave a Comment » | Uncategorized | Tagged: baby doll dresses, china, cute stuff, kids, nappies, Shanghai, Shanghainese men | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
August 8, 2008
An edited version of the article below appeared in the New Indian Express today. They cut a few lines, and I prefer my own paragraph breaks, but I have to give them credit for coming up with an awesome headline. Anyhow, here’s the article in its unedited form:
Read the rest of this entry »
25 Comments | MSM | Tagged: africa, china, colonialism, dalai lama, frontline, hongwu, Human Rights, India, kasturi, kasturi ranga iyengar, middle kingdom, n ram, new indian express, olympics, press freedom, reader's editor, the hindu, tibet, treasure fleet | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
April 4, 2008
CNN-IBN is carrying a PTI report which is quoting a Xinhua report:
For the second time in less than a week, China has briefed India on the Tibet issue and said New Delhi has assured it that it would not tolerate any political anti-Beijing activities by Tibetans on the Indian territory.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi spoke over phone to his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and exchanged views on bilateral relations, explaining Beijing’s “principled stand” on the Dalai Lama issue, the state media said on Thursday.
“Mukherjee said the Tibet Autonomous Region is part of China’s territory and India will never tolerate any political anti-China activities by Tibetans on the Indian territory,” official Xinhua news agency reported.
The best thing that can be said about this is that Xinhua is cooking up fundaes or exaggerating wildly. But if it’s true, it shows the craven nature of the UPA administration.
Since when is anti-anything politics a crime, leave alone anti-Beijing politics? Not tolerating military insurrections is understandable. Not tolerating anti-India politics also, though a free-speech libertarian like me would be cool with that too, as long as actual acts of treason weren’t being carried out. Hell, given the response so far to Naxalism, it seems as if the government doesn’t even care about anti-India civil war.
But where does the Indian government get off carrying out Chinese repression of free speech on Indian soil?
I hope somebody makes a stink about this. It should be interesting.
Leave a Comment » | Public Policy and Politics, That L Word | Tagged: beijing, china, dalai lama, free speech, politics, pranab mukherjee, tibet, xinhua | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
February 29, 2008
Two years ago, when wondering why there are so few small cars in China, I hypothesized:
Chinese banks are not particularly customer focused, and are reluctant to give car loans to anybody whose income level is not high enough to make a midsize car affordable. Chinese banks would have little or no experience with consumer finance, and without competition from foreign banks, they would have no incentive to create consumer finance products either. That makes life difficult for anybody who wants to upgrade from a motorcycle to a small car.
And this year, Andy Mukherjee writes:
The problem of financial underdevelopment isn’t restricted to home loans. Since credit checks are perfunctory, cards come with low spending limits and have lukewarm acceptance. Auto finance is still in its infancy. A survey conducted in April last year by consulting firm KPMG LLP and Taylor Nelson Sofres Plc, a market researcher, showed that while 25 percent of car buyers in China had access to finance, few actually opted for it.
A warm fuzzy feeling pervades. This still doesn’t prove that the lack of small cars in Qingdao is because there are no auto finance companies there, but it strengthens my hypothesis. Such joy. Such joy.
3 Comments | Finance | Tagged: andy mukherjee, auto finance, bloomberg, car loan, china, consumer credit, consumer finance, consumer lending, retail lending, secured lending, small car | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht