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End of the American Century, Resurgence of China

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For robust business growth, gutsy entrepreneurial vigor, and future leadership, look towards China.

The recent shocking events in the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the sale of the world’s largest brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, both on the same day (September 15), the unprecedented US$85 billion-dollar emergency loan of the US government’s Federal Reserve on September 17 to the ailing American International Group (AIG), those and other past similar events irrefutably point to the decline of the United States as the world’s greatest economic superpower. Gone is the fabled American Century of the 20th century.

In this century, I urge the private sector and government to go beyond our Philippine borders and to think global. Borders are now obsolete. But more than just going global, I urge the Philippines to also look beyond our obsession with America.

Since the Philippines is Asia’s only former American colony, our society and our economy have for the past century been traditionally over-dependent on US investments and the huge American export market. For technologies, management ideas and other business necessities, we in the Philippines have almost always looked up to America. However, the world today is fast changing.

Beyond the once dominant US, there is now the economic miracle of China. Beyond America, there are now other rising economic dynamos, such as South Korea, Russia, Brazil, India, (the even now recession-hit) Japan, Singapore, and many others.

We in the Philippines need to totally and radically reorient our frame of mind—and our age-old fixation with the US.

Yes, we still need American business; but we should do more business with other countries, especially the world’s fastest-growing major economy and the world’s largest nation with 1.3 billion people.

For the sake of our long-term business or professional success, I urge Philippine society to start learning more about Chinese civilization, past and present. In this new century, Chinese culture, traditions, and traditional Confucian values are becoming increasingly more important globally due to the phenomenon of China’s economic renaissance.

From the elite Eton school of England to American public and private schools, South Korean universities to European and South American schools, there are so many students now studying Mandarin.

When shall our Philippine universities and colleges promote Mandarin as a foreign language? When shall the leaders of the ethnic Chinese minority enhance the quality and add time spent daily for Chinese-language classes in ethnic Chinese schools?

From the spectacular Beijing Olympic Games to stunning economic competitiveness in massive exports, the land of our ancestors is regaining its ancient glory and past global leadership.

I view this development as an exciting challenge to ChinaBusiness magazine. We need to help not only the young entrepreneurs of our local ethnic Chinese minority, not just the business sector, but the whole of Philippine society, so that all can benefit from this new global trend and the reality of a resurgent China.

Culturally, there is so much in art, culture, moral values, and history we in the Philippines can learn from the world’s oldest continuous 5,000-year-old civilization. Economically, there is so much that we as entrepreneurs or professionals—and the Philippines as trading partner and tourism or investment destination—can benefit from a rising China.

Once again, congratulations to the publisher and editorial team behind ChinaBusiness magazine. I admire the bold vision of making a publication the bridge between Philippine business and the awakening economic dragon of China; between our business dreams and an exciting future of boundless possibilities.


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