China has been the major source of cheap manufacturing labor for companies in first-world countries, but cheap Chinese labor is disappearing. Rising labor and real estate costs are causing production to shift elsewhere. Chinese people have become consumers, which is creating opportunities for savvy foreign marketers. In The End of Cheap China, Shaun Rein-born and educated in the United States, but now living and working in China-shares anecdotes from his personal and professional experience to illustrate the current cultural, political, and economic conditions in China. Rein stresses the importance of understanding Chinese consumers and provides marketing advice for businesspeople who are interested in profiting from China’s new and growing consumer classes. He also discusses political and social changes and their international implications, and speculates about the future.
• The era of China as a source for cheap labor is coming to an end. Blue-collar wages are soaring, as is the cost for space. Manufacturing is shifting to other countries.
• China is progressively becoming a nation of consumers. Western companies can sell to Chinese people in a variety of ways, but must understand how marketing to them is different from marketing to Westerners. Companies must learn how to cater to Chinese tastes. Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for safe products.
• China now has a large class of super-rich people. They crave Western luxury products and status symbols. They represent an exceptional market for certain American companies. Wealthy young Chinese women are an especially desirable target market.
• China’s rise is creating global shifts in brand dominance and survival. While America now supplies most of China’s agricultural products, Chinese brands, such as Lenovo, are becoming popular in America.
• The Chinese government is most concerned with stability and the economy, as opposed to spreading its ideology or imperialism. To preserve stability, it must address major domestic issues, such as food safety; unaffordable healthcare; political corruption; inhuman housing conditions and lack of affordable housing; and a misguided educational system.
In The End of Cheap China, Shaun Rein offers a unique perspective as a businessman who has lived and worked in China. The main section of each chapter is a lengthy anecdote or a collection of anecdotes that describe China’s past and present and where it might be headed; the end of each chapter provides marketing advice in sidebars. The Chinese market and how it differs from Western markets is a central theme. The book would be of interest to businesspeople who want to know how to do business in China and how to market to the Chinese. It would also be of general interest to readers who want to learn about the evolution of China. The content is divided into topics, which could be read in any order.