By Donna Evans, President and CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce
The last day before we fly home started with a business meeting with an Australian business man doing business in China. He talked a lot about the opportunities in China and some of the challenges. One of the biggest challenges, the one that has been at the top of the list for 7 years, is the lack of a large talented workforce. 30 years of the one child rule has contributed to the problem. Because of the labor shortage, wages are increasing and are becoming more competitive with other developing nations. Many of the young people in the large Chinese cities are choosing not to have children because of expense and it will only exasperate the problem. It is truly an aging society. Overall costs are rising quickly too, which is also a challenge for business. On the bright side, there are many opportunities in China and the government welcomes outside investment. In that respect, the timing may be right to consider doing business in China.
After the meeting we visited the Yu Garden, a maze of marvelous pavilions, ponds, rocky works and over arching trees. The flowers were beginning to bloom and it was wonderful to wander the grounds. Then we visited the Shanghai Silk Rug Factory. It is astounding the time and talent needed to produce a rug or a tapestry. They are true works of art. Next it was on to the Bund, a famous waterfront park. It was a foggy day but the area was still impressive. After the Bund it was on to more shopping at a very large market. Many of us bought large duffle bags to take home our treasures. That evening we went to the Era Show. From acrobatics, to dance and racing motorcycles, there was something for everyone.
Tomorrow we are up at 5 a.m. to fly to Beijing, then New York and finally home to Denver. It has been a truly amazing adventure. If you get the chance, be sure to visit China. It will surprise and awe you at the same time.