Americans doing Business in China – Part 6/16

February 26, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Molly McMillan of McClatchy newspapers, reported, “In the past year, China has been ‘snapping up’ U.S. general aviation companies, including a recent deal to buy cash-strapped Cirrus Aircraft… In buying up established companies, China gets the management know-how, brand, distribution, technology in days, not decades,” said Brian Foley, with Brian Foley Associates.


Guest Post by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine.

About any time, day or night, in major Chinese cities you can see any type of vehicle transporting all imaginable products on the roads. There are trucks carrying ocean containers and Mercedes carrying people. I have traveled to England, Ireland, Holland, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, and China. I would not call myself a “world traveler” but, of all the countries in which I have traveled, I found China to be the most diverse in terms of the types of vehicles that transported goods on their roads.

Regardless of where my travels took me in China—rural or city—there were always a lot of people transporting goods in any type of vehicle that could move on its own, by animal, or under human power. The fact that people were busy working was not of particular note. It was the diversity of their means of transportation within a single view that was of interest to me. Also, they all seemed to move with purpose—whether carrying large or small items. I suppose that is really not so different than any other parts of the world—for some reason it just struck me as another admirable quality of the Chinese people.

Most of the smaller commercial trucks are blue—I have no idea why? I asked a couple of times but really did not receive an answer. Maybe there was a sale on blue paint? I am certain there is a reason, but since I don’t know it, I can’t share it with you—rather just make reference to it.

I will say that with all those vehicles on the road it did add to the air pollution. In most states in the U.S., vehicles have to pass safety inspections before they can be licensed. I am not certain this is a rule in China—if it can move it is road ready.

In my travels inside China for business, I found the Chinese to be very capitalistic in nature—certainly contrary to how I viewed the Chinese people prior to me actually visiting the country. The diversity in the means of transporting their goods is just one example of this fact at least in my mind.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued February 27, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 7 (a guest post) or return to Part 5


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This guest post first appeared on February 22, 2010

Jobless in America and Angry at China

May 17, 2010

When the economy tanks and Americans lose jobs, I often read or hear that it’s China’s fault.  Timothy V, a typical China basher that I’ve been debating on Gather, is an example. Using China as a scapegoat for lost jobs in America appears to be a popular pastime.  After all, many in America need someone to blame for the hard times.

The truth is that more jobs have been lost to Mexico and Canada than to China. says that because of NAFTA, Americans lost 3 million manufacturing jobs to Mexico and Canada…

The Economic Policy Institute says that between 1997 and 2006, the trade deficit between the U.S. and China could have supported 2,166,000 jobs. This report doesn’t say that manufacturing jobs were lost in America to China. It means that when China joined the WTO (World Trade Organization), jobs were created for Chinese workers that might have gone to the United States. 

What happened after America’s economic bubble popped in 2008? CNN reported that 2009 was the worst year for jobs lost in the United States since 1945.  A sobering U.S. Labor Department jobs report showed the economy lost 1.9 million jobs in the year’s final four months.

Do not forget who caused the current global economic crises and those job losses. “Global” describes the crisis that was caused by greed in America.

If you believe someone like Timothy V, those job losses should be blamed on China, but he is wrong. The BBC reported that Chinese migrant factory job losses mount. A Chinese government official, Ma Jian Tang, told reporters in January (2009) he thought roughly 5% of the country’s 130 million migrant workers had returned to their villages after losing jobs. (Note: I wonder why I couldn’t easily find this from an American news source.)

Out of work in China

In fact, a Chinese government survey revealed that 20 million migrant (factory) workers lost jobs, posing a risk for social instability. Some 15.3 percent of China’s 130 million migrant factory workers became jobless. Since the American induced global economic crisis in 2008, Beijing says about 70,000 factories nationwide have closed.

How can anyone in China be stealing jobs from Americans? Do I need to mention the millions of jobs lost to illegals that cross America’s Southern border and take hard, low-paying jobs that Americans don’t want? According to this report from NPR, that number is about 12 million.

When I was fifteen, I started my first job washing dishes in a department store coffee shop that served lunch and dinner and I worked nights and weekends there for three years while attending high school. There were several of us doing that job, and we were all American born teens. Before I joined the US Marines, I worked in a car wash, a McDonald’s and other jobs that most Americans won’t touch today. In Steinbeck’s novels, the farm workers he writes about were mostly poor Americans who went into the fields to plant and pick—not illegals from south of the border.

In fact, the jobs are there but too many Americans won’t consider them because they won’t pay for an American middle-class credit card driven, consumer lifestyle where people eat out more than they eat in and everyone “has” to have the American dream.  Can’t buy that with low wages.

This has happened before. After World War II, American jobs were lost to Japan and Germany.  Then after the Korean War, more jobs were lost to South Korea and Taiwan as they built factories.  In the 1950s, GM, Ford and Chrysler were building and selling about 90% of the cars and trucks globally.  Then Toyota and VW arrived in the United States. Who was stealing US jobs then?  It wasn’t China.

In reality, it’s all about finding a scapegoat to slaughter while the guilty quietly slip away.

Read about American Hypocrisy


Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Spoiled and Confused — China’s new urban generation (Viewed as Single Page)

January 28, 2010

This guest post by Chris “Foreign Monkey” Bewley first appeared as a four-part series, which started on May 25, 2011 as Spoiled and Confused — China’s new urban generation – Part 1

Chris Bewley has taught English as a foreign language for the past 10 years all over the world, including Japan, Korea, Mexico and Brazil.


When I first arrived in China as an English teacher, I had lofty scholastic goals: I wanted to try a creative variety of class activities and apply a broad spectrum of teaching methods that my students could benefit from to make them competitive in academia and, later, the international job market.

Almost 1 year later, my primary responsibility as a “Foreign Expert English Instructor” has been distilled down to little more than babysitting a bunch of spoiled, undisciplined children who for the most part want nothing to do with English.

At my crowded primary school in a small, semi-urban city in East China, there exists what I have coined the “20/20/20” split in each of my classes (60 kids per class): 20 eager/20 indifferent/20 bad. Basically, I’m teaching 20 while trying to control 40.

To make it fair for everyone, I have to dumb-it-down/ fun-it-up every class. Instead of actually teaching, I find myself playing games with them and jumping around for them like a monkey, which is the only way to retain their attention.

On the positive side, of the eager 20, there are several extremely smart students who I expect one day to be quite successful in what ever they do. Unfortunately, whenever those eager 20 are trying to learn, the other naughty 40 will try just as hard to spoil it for them.

In the past year, I’ve had only a handful of students ever raise their hand and ask ME a question about the English language. That’s 1,200 students/week x 30 weeks, which equals 36,000 (thirty-six thousand) chances for a student to raise a question, but only five ever have. On the rare occasion that my students do ask me questions, it’s usually regarding the price of my clothes or how much I get paid.

Criticism about my lessons that I have received from students, parents and Chinese teachers alike includes “it’s too difficult”, “it’s not fun enough”, “there’s not enough participation/activity,” but never have I ever heard that my classes are too easy, which in my opinion they most certainly are.

By now, I have figured out that English lessons in (urban) China are just a show; a clown show; a monkey show – starring myself as the foreign monkey.

For parents’ week last month, whilst dozens of “concerned” parents and school administrators observed my classes for 5 days in a row, rather than actually teach their children, I just played a bunch of silly games and sang some songs with them, and, guess what? That made all the parents really, really happy!

Most recently, I found myself having to literally, physically, throw out my Chinese teaching assistant (a recent college graduate with no classroom experience hired right off the street for a minimal salary) to avoid a mutiny from within.

You see, she absolutely refused to discipline the rowdiest students, and did nothing to help control their deafening volume when I was trying to teach.

A quarter of China’s rural youth overweight!

When I approached her about this, her response was: “you are not a real teacher!” I imagine that this assistant was once (11 years ago, to be precise) a spoiled, indifferent primary school student herself; how sadly ironic that at age 21 she still indentified with the students rather than with me, the teacher.

China’s universities are being touted with utilitarian promise, a promise that trickles down all the way to the elementary school level. The Chinese’s fear of poverty has undermined intellectual diversity; plagiarism and cheating are rampant and go unpunished, reading books is not encouraged, greater importance has been placed on math than any other subject starting in the earliest years of child development, and there are no other languages other than English offered until university.

English “industry” in China is what I call “C.O.O.C”: completely out of control! There is literally a new, privately run children’s English “school” popping up on every other corner every other week. Nor is it an industry that has grown in a healthy, steady way from its infantile beginning; it is a product for infants in hyper-drive.

A perfect parallel to this is the car situation in China, which is also out of control.

I hate to say it because it has become an international cliché, but, truly, nobody in China knows how to drive or even park properly. Automobile ownership in China has, along with its economy, bloomed at an alarming rate in the past 5 years, resulting in massive congestion everywhere from the smallest towns to the largest cities.

It’s obvious that the people who own these cars use them primarily as status symbols rather than for necessity; it rarely rains in my city and there are no hills, yet every single day, 6 times a day, hundreds of parents dropping off/picking up their children in new, black Audis will cause an hour-long gridlock directly
in front of my school rather than be seen walking or riding a bicycle.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not a “China-hater.”

Colorful street life, extremely friendly people, great food, affordable massage parlors, a handful of good friends both Chinese and foreign, and a decent income have been sufficient to keep me reasonably comfortable.

But in the end, I have to ask myself: what am I here for? Because it’s obvious that China doesn’t want me to actually teach anybody anything.


Chris Bewley has taught English as a foreign language for the past 10 years all over the world, including Japan, Korea, Mexico and Brazil.

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