Dive into the archives.
- Trader Talk I: Dragan Ivanov
During the past couple of days at the Canton Fair, I’ve been running around interviewing visitors about doing business in China.
I’ve been amazed at how succinct and emotionally cool most of their analysis is. For instance Dragan Ivanov, a computer hardware agent from Macedonia, basically broke down the whole of China’s world beating competitiveness in a single sentence: “They have good facilities, low labor rate, they don’t have the same ecological limitations, the people work 18 hours a day.” Here’s the rest of what he had to say.
“They have one billion people; we have only two million – that’s the difference.”
“If you buy one kilo of metal, they sell you a refrigerator for the same price.”
“Even the big companies like iPods have factories here.”
“The cheaper countries, like India or Africa, can only benefit. They can buy good quality stuff for low money. Like now, you can buy a DVD [player] for $18. You cannot buy a hamburger in United States for $18.”
“In China they’ll make the software in our own language. If you go to Panasonic and tell them to make a Macedonian menu, they’ll never make it. They make anything here.”
- La vida China: Canton Fear
This week Charlie and i have been spending time in and around the Canton Fair (also referred to by its much sexier title The China Import & Export Fair)
The Canton Fair is the biggest in the world. It happens twice a year. The current one is the 100th ever, and draws in people from literally ever imaginable part of the world. Being in Guangzhou, the heart of Chinese manufacturing, the fair is the main showcase for the incredible range of products currently being made in China. The things available for purchase range from gas masks to ice cream cone making machines to garden gnomes to erotic air fresheners to whatever you call that weird contraption that causes children’s shoes to light up on impact with the ground.
The think overwhelming is how I would describe it.
The scale and rigorousness of the hustling and haggling going on gives me a strange, ominous feeling like Moses was gonna suddenly appear from on high and punish us all for the greed and gluttony on display.
That hasn’t happened though, and so Charlie and I are going around interviewing the visitors, possibly for a special issue of UNIT. I’ll post up a sample interview in a couple days….