China: The Great Transition

As China's economy grows and opens further, the opportunity it presents to multinationals is changing. Foreign companies are moving to country development and new strategic choices. Now, foreign firms can actually go after the Chinese domestic market, and it's worth going after. Improvements in China's infrastructure, workforce, and regulatory environment are making it possible for companies to lower their costs to reap new competitive advantages. However, the reforms required for admission into the World Trade Organization will be politically difficult for China to implement, and its progress will be slowed by the scarcity of resources for the country's shaky banking system, the inadequacy of the social safety net, environmental problems, and local governments' cash shortage, among other things. But for at least the next ten years, multinationals should be the biggest winners in China. To reap the benefits, a multinational must properly nest its effort into its overall organization, show "one face to China" at the national level but also tailor local strategies, be wary of joint ventures, and mitigate risk, in particular the theft of intellectual property.

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