China Access 2008 Business Forum Reflections

Hangin' in the Boys RoomI’m here at the China Access 2008 Business Forum with Scales and MC of Raincity Studios and Richard Eriksson of Bryght. We’re getting a whirlwind business tour of China including an overview of the economy, political climate, growth trends, geography and communications challenges. There are about 40 or so people here at the SFU Centre for Dialogue from Vancouver companies who are either already doing business in China or plan to, as well as a bunch of masters students from UBC Business School who are focusing on economic development in Asia and China.

So far it’s been a great session led by Alan and Andrew of China Access 2008 and supported by lots of influential Vancouver business people currently doing business successful in China including Business Objects, CanFor, and Optima Health Solutions (hey Rashid… I’ll trade ya a China strategy for Bryght for a web strategy for Optima!).

This is the perfect way to spend the day before my first ever business trip to Beijing… I’m learning a lot and it’s calming my nervousness about the trip. There sure does seem to be a lot of opportunities to companies looking to grow into new markets, but I’m looking forward to hearing people talk more about the social and environmental impacts of China’s explosive growth and rise to power.

Can the massive amount of wealth being generated by this boom be used to promote positive change in China and around the world? How will China keep the gap between rich and poor from widening? Will the ultimate cost of the environmental degradation that is taking place as part of this growth ultimately be its downfall?

Lots of people seem to have incentives to look to China as a place to make money and grow their business but whose responsibility will it be to make sure that it’s done in a sustainable way that reflects modern progressive values? Bueller? Bueller?

I’m looking forward to forthcoming posts by Richard, as I’m sure he’ll touch on some of these issues.

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