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The end of cheap China

The End of Cheap China - Shaun Rein Although the book is not out yet, I already look forward to reading Shaun Rein‘s upcoming publication The End of Cheap China. Shaun is a fellow Shanghai entrepreneur as founder and MD of the China Market Research Group. Next to that he is also a well-know columnist for among others CNBC, Forbes, and BusinessWeek. Although I don’t always agree with his opinion, I enjoy reading his columns and I think this book will also be a very interested read.

In “The End of Cheap China” Shaun argues that China’s days as a low cost production center are numbered, something I believe in as well. China is changing quickly into an economy with a huge middle class that wants (and can afford) to buy foreign goods, instead of only producing them for export.

A more detailed description on the Amazon site for this book:

The End of Cheap China is a fun, riveting, must-read book not only for people doing business in China but for anyone interested in understanding the forces that are changing the world.

Many Americans know China for manufacturing cheap products, thanks largely to the country’s vast supply of low-cost workers. But China is changing, and the glut of cheap labor that has made everyday low prices possible is drying up as Chinese seek not to make iPhones, but to buy them. Shaun Rein, Founder of the China Market Research Group, puts China’s continuing transformation from producer to large-scale consumer – a process that is farther along than most economists think – under the microscope, examining eight megatrends that are catalyzing change in China and posing threats to Americans’ consumption-driven way of life.

Rein takes an engaging and informative approach to examining the extraordinary changes taking place across all levels of Chinese society, talking to everyone from Chinese billionaires and senior government officials to poor migrant workers and even prostitutes and drawing on personal stories and experiences from living in China since the 1990s as well as hard economic data. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of China’s transformation, from fast-improving Chinese companies to confident, optimistic Chinese women to the role of China’s government, and at the end breaks down key lessons for readers to take away.

The book will come out on March 27, 2012 but is now already available for pre-order at USD 12.86, an almost 50% discount on the original price. There is no ebook version (yet), I hope the publisher will make that available as well before the publication date.

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  1. won’t be too long until usa is the low-cost labor of the world .. after africa rises up 🙂

    can see it now, websites saying “will code for food”

  2. I say already for several years that it will be (or already is) more interesting to start looking at exporting goods to China for it’s affluent middle class instead of trying to focus on importing cheap products what everybody else already does. It won’t be easy, but I believe in this. The big multinationals and big companies may already have settled in China but now is the time for the SME companies to start seriously looking into this.

  3. Fine sentiments Marc and I’m also looking forward to it. The ripples of China’s growth have certainly fanned out, and I’m interested in reading about Shauns views on how far these have reached. – Chris

  4. In the meantime pre ordered the book. Now have to wait until April 2012.

  5. This is already old news and by the time the book comes out in March this news will have been repeated so often that I cannot imagine many people will buy the book. Books like this about China just don’t make sense because things move so fast here.

  6. In general I don´t like articles written by Shaun Rein. His online articles are usually very one-sided pro-China and make observations that others made long before him. Perhaps this book is better, but the title already sounds very obvious to me.

  7. Having read the abstract: I don’t like the subliminal competitive message to readers (U.S. citizens?) facing “eight megatrends in China that are posing threats to Americans’ consumption-driven way of life” and “China’s economic transformation spelling the end of cheap consumption for Americans”. Also, a book due in Q2 2012 with such a topic is a few years behind in my opinion: the facts that labour costs are increasing and “[…] rising incomes are creating opportunities for foreign brands to sell in China” are included in textbooks since many years. Other foci with a viewpoint originating from China would be closer to recent issues (collaborative consumption/sharing models beyond hyperconsumption, articulation of prosperity for the middle class, private entrepreneurship with a global vision etc.) and could enable readers to educate themselves on what is cheap and what is expensive in China – including some lines of thought beyond this unilinear path of reasoning.