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Old 07-09-2015, 10:14 PM   #41
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Wow! I knew that our mass transportation system trails that of other countries, but some of that is because Americans love their car too much to give it up. For long range travel, they like to fly more than taking the train, even if it is available.

But our highways and roads suck? I do not see that out here in the West. I have done a lot of RV'ing, and do not have too many complaints. I have not been to China to compare but would be very surprised if their electric grid and water supply are better than ours.

After you have been to china, ping me with your impressions on their road and rail infrastructure and observations. Also the traffic is eye opening. Until then, it's unwise to assume what does or does not exist there.

I said nothing of electric or water initially. But, China is a developing country - everywhere that there has been investment the infrastructure including electric and water it is highly developed and quite mature- on par with USA.

Of course, There are still emerging places in China where infrastructure is lacking and there are also people in those rural and remote places who poop in an outhouse still.

But when it comes to "emerged" locations, china is on par or better infrastructure wise.

As for roads across the USA, it is very much state dependent. Compare any of the top 10 cities in the USA to the top 10 cities in China. The china roads are newer and paved better. Chinese love their cars as much or more than Americans. China is and has been , after all, the largest car market in the world for the last several years !.

I think Excuses + Denial is stage 1. ha ha

Some don't like to believe the USA is being caught/ lapped what ever you call it , we are being passed up in terms of transport infrastructure. New airports. New high speed rail. New highways and bridges and ports. All across china they are brand new.

One Can not deny the difference once you see it for yourself. Anyone who has visited China can attest to this and most Americans are in utter amazement and has "no idea" because our western news reporters don't report on it.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:40 PM   #42
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I have seen photos of skyscrapers and boulevards in modern cities like Shanghai. But what is the condition outside of the cities?

Here in the US, the standard of living is more uniform. In fact, I would say that life in less crowded areas is better and more comfortable than the US inner cities. Perhaps in China it's the reverse.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:11 PM   #43
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Some don't like to believe the USA is being caught/ lapped what ever you call it , we are being passed up in terms of transport infrastructure. New airports. New high speed rail. New highways and bridges and ports. All across china they are brand new.

One Can not deny the difference once you see it for yourself. Anyone who has visited China can attest to this and most Americans are in utter amazement and has "no idea" because our western news reporters don't report on it.

I started researching a tentative trip to China next year and was surprised at how much high speed rail has been developed. I was looking at the logistics of traveling between Shanghai, Beijing, Xian and Hong Kong and learned that I could travel all of these routes using high speed rail. The distances involved are quite massive. Beijing to Guangzhou (outside of Hong Kong) is 1,428 miles. Traveling at 184mph it takes about 8 hours. Here's a description of the line: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/chin...ing-guangzhou/

If we went, we'd break the trip up into smaller segments, but honestly, even doing the full stretch at once would be a lot of fun.

And for a comparison, Seattle to LA is about 1,150 miles. It looks like it takes Amtrak about 35 hours for that route.

I'm sure that there are gaps in China's infrastructure, but from what I researched, I think the gaps are less than you'd think.
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:33 AM   #44
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That may be, clifp, but our stuff doesn't fall down as often as theirs does.

I have noticed in both the US and Canada that immigrants believe they can't lose money in real estate. Yeah, you can. Usually at the same time they lose their job. I do know that immigrants own a LOT of rental properties and motels.

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I am not so sure, between bridges collapsing and 63,000 other bridges being structurally deficient, commuter trains derailing killing dozen, and trains carrying oil derailing on pretty routine basis. Air traffic control computer from the 1970s etc. I really can't hold up most of our infrastructure as model for anything.

I only spent a few weeks in China in 2007, but I was really impressed with speed of which they build stuff over there. Before the Olympics they built a light rail system extension very comparable to what we are building in Honolulu. China built it in on under a year. We started the project in 2005 and we will be very lucky to have done by 2020. China has been building remarkable public works projects, when most of our ancestor were still living in tents.

Sure they cut corners in China on a lot of stuff probably including their infrastructure projects. However given my choice between using something with some corner cutting that was built this century, or continuing to rely on project built by the WPA back in the 1930 or even the interstate highway system built mostly in the 1960s, I'll take this century stuff any day.

I think Pappadad is probably in a much better position to judge than most of us.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:36 AM   #45
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I have seen photos of skyscrapers and boulevards in modern cities like Shanghai. But what is the condition outside of the cities?

Here in the US, the standard of living is more uniform. In fact, I would say that life in less crowded areas is better and more comfortable than the US inner cities. Perhaps in China it's the reverse.

Hi NW-B !

The conditions outside the cities are also very rapidly improving. 30000 Kms of new high speed rail in the last 4 years linking the top 50 cities is excellent and brand new. Same for highway infrastructure and it's the largest car market in the world - 22 million units per year.

New rail lines and bridges to the farest reaches of china that border the Himalayas to Nepal and the -Stan countries to the northwest, through the gobi desert to Mongolia and on . That's pretty darn rural. Interstate highway system that would make Eisenhower envious ... a parallel could be post war japan or Europe and the new infrastructure that essentially propelled them forward for the past 65 years.

Of course the western media sensationalize the rare train or boat accident ... And building collapses because that drama is what sells.

"New" China remains a 40 year old emerging economy with the opening reforms beginning in 1976. Not perfect by any stretch and definitely NOT multi party. It's a unique political and economic system that is not at all democratic and moves far faster as a result. However all parties are not represented and there in is in part the difficulty for the west to understand. It's easy to move forward once directional consensus is achieved ...

Yes in USA the standard of living is far more uniform. Sounds kinda like socialism in fact. The rich pay big taxes in the USA and the poor benefit from those taxes ... Wait that's more like communism from an economic standpoint .. Wait. I was talking about the USA. Wait ... Ha ha.

Bentleys park aside migrant street sweepers in many cities in China. The hard worker becomes wealthy. In some cases the corrupt official too. That's how state sponsored capitalism works. Not saying one system is better than the other. Both systems have advantages ..

There are more than 200 cities in China that are more than 1 million population. The cities of China are safer. Crime is lower. There are more conveniences living in the cities. There is major rural to urban migration as a result. Suburbia as we know it doesn't exist. We do live better /safer rural lives than in china.

Traveling by high speed rail is excellent. I usually do it for and flight less than 2 hours... By the time u figure airport traffic, security, possible delays etc, usually a 2 hour flight becomes a 5 hour trip making it about neutral to the high speed train. Longer hauls are usually better by air ..example Beijing to Shenzhen. But if you have time and are doing stops along the way as a tourist train is a great way to go. Economics drive this usage too. It's about half the cost of an air ticket. So emerging middle class prefer to save money at the cost of a bit of time. My MIL came for a visit last May and the Beijing to Xian trip was fun via train. 120 bucks each way as I recall. Ping me offline if I can answer any travel questions.

Cheers !
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:39 AM   #46
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China has made tremendous progress in the last two or three decades. I attribute that to the Chinese work ethics more than to its government, other than for the Chinese Politburo finally cutting the Chinese people some slack. It is amazing how hard the Chinese people will work if they are allowed to keep what they make, instead of throwing it all into the commune pot to "share".

In 1990, billionaire Jim Rogers visited China as part of his world-tour motorcycle trip, and chronicled it in his book Investment Biker. He was so impressed with the hard-working Chinese that he later decided to relocate to the Orient to be closer to the action (he finally chose to live in Singapore).

China's single party is Communist in name only, as it is now anything but. And the Politburo has learned that as it allows the citizenry to make money, it gets to "share" in the fruit of labor too. I recently read an article described how the riches of the Politburo members would put US Congress members to shame, Mitt Romney included. Surely, that amount of money does not come from their salary.

I think the money put into the crowded cities of China is to appease the population. It keeps the people working and making money, and not stirring up trouble. They have neglected the rural areas, and even now, the only way for the rural inhabitants to get to enjoy the modern amenities is to migrate into the cities. But they get locked out by a system called "hukou". Basically, if your birthplace is a rural location, you are doomed to a life of second-class citizen. It is possible to get your hukou "upgraded" to a city, but it is not easy. Until then, the migrant worker is treated like an illegal immigrant, and in his own country.

I still do not know a whole lot about China, but from what I have read, I prefer life in the US, thank you. I do not care to live in a crowded city anyway no matter how modern, even here in the US. I prefer to have more space, while still be able to enjoy electricity and running water.

But the world should learn a thing or two from the Chinese work ethics and thrift. If there is anything indisputable, it is that.
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:11 AM   #47
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Your understanding is quite correct. Hukou (household registry) reform is a major topic of discussion and has been cause for social unrest at times.

However this is not a communist invention. Hukou has existed for thousands of years through major dynasties. It is a way to control population and migration a tool ensuring those in power remain in power.

It's an amazing place. Not amazing as in greatest place on earth but amazing in the historic perspectives and dynamic nature of modern china today. Truly Fascinating.
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:16 AM   #48
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I also read that the hukou system was used by Mao Tse Tung to control migration of Chinese population. It's almost a caste system. Wonder how that jibes with the idea that people are born equal. Or perhaps that equality is never part of Communism?
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Old 07-10-2015, 09:31 AM   #49
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Like animal farm. All are created equal but some are more equal than others.

There are just 100M members of the communist party in china.. Ask any member of the party whether or not there is "benefit"....

Good article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/china/arc...ooster/276347/
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:21 AM   #50
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Don't we all want to be more "equal" than our neighbors? It's all about the reasons cited. I think I would like to be more equal because I work harder or am smarter, not because I belong to the Mafia or to the sole political party of the land.

Anyway, back on Chinese stocks, should we remember when the 6-month lockout on selling by major shareholders expires, in order to short Chinese market then? Chances are that I will not remember. Would anyone here with a true "superior memory" be kind enough to bump this thread to remind us all?
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:38 AM   #51
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Very interesting discussion. I spent a bit of time in China in the past year on business and made some observations. Papadad, feel free to correct any that you think I got wrong:

I was incredibly impressed by the work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit among the business owners and managers I met. It was energizing. Free enterprise? Yes, for those with the right connections and with gov't approval. Not really for those without. Communism? Maybe, but not equality. The owners I deal with are driving BMW's and Porsche's, their workers are driving bikes.

Business ethics? Relationships are really important and, on the surface, so is trust. There is a very different standard though. Cheapen a product a bit and slip it by? That can be OK. When we catch it they don't see it as a negative; rather they are impressed by our QA.

In general, it appeared that workers are being treated better than in the past, with higher pay and better working/living conditions. Yes, there are still some medieval working conditions in some areas, but that is no longer the rule.

The rail system is awesome. I grew upon the east coast where the systems are pretty good, but they don't compare to the Chinese system. Air travel can be spotty, but overall it isn't any worse than here. I agree that roads and bridges are pretty good. The strange thing for an American to understand is the sense of the size of individual cities. I had someone "run me across town" to see a factory. 90 minutes later we were there (with no traffic).

Some of the stories we hear are true; the pollution in many cities is still horrendous and the water marginally drinkable for a foreigner.

Overall, I love their business spirit. I also don't think their businesses can be judged by American standards. They are just to different and our normal rules often don't apply. I'm guessing more than a few of the well connected feast on insider trading info.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:04 AM   #52
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After both of our cats died because of melamine poisoning in their Chinese supplied IAMS cat food (Added to fool sensors into thinking it had more protein), I am suspect of Chinese business practices and perhaps would be cautious riding their high speed rail.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:26 AM   #53
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...Cheapen a product a bit and slip it by? That can be OK. When we catch it they don't see it as a negative; rather they are impressed by our QA...
As most, I often see shoddy Chinese products. It's not because they are not capable of doing better. I think it's because they compete fiercely on price, and need to cut every corner. A lot of cheap Chinese consumer products are sold as no-name brands, or as OEMs.

Once a Chinese firm has built a recognizable brand name for it to protect and to enable it to charge a higher price over competitors, it will turn out more reliable products I hope. Until then, caveat emptor for the buyers.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:39 AM   #54
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As most, I often see shoddy Chinese products. It's not because they are not capable of doing better. I think it's because they compete fiercely on price, and need to cut every corner. A lot of cheap Chinese consumer products are sold as no-name brands, or as OEMs.

Once a Chinese firm has built a recognizable brand name for it to protect and to enable it to charge a higher price over competitors, it will turn out more reliable products I hope. Until then, caveat emptor for the buyers.
Agreed. In my experience, they are capable of very high quality manufacturing when the incentives are right. Due diligence is everything. We visit the office, the factory, the warehouse...everything. We QA every shipment on the way in. They know that so we have few problems.

Meet a vendor at a trade show and trust that you are getting to get what you ordered? No thanks.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:43 AM   #55
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After both of our cats died because of melamine poisoning in their Chinese supplied IAMS cat food (Added to fool sensors into thinking it had more protein), I am suspect of Chinese business practices and perhaps would be cautious riding their high speed rail.
I'm very sorry to hear about your cats. IAMS should never have let that happen and the manufacturer should be cut off forever.

I haven't seen the product manufacturing shortcuts carry over to public projects. My speculation is that they view business with foreigners differently than internal projects. I guess we'll see if, over time, they have the kinds of accidents that occur at Amtrak.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:53 PM   #56
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Your understanding is quite correct. Hukou (household registry) reform is a major topic of discussion and has been cause for social unrest at times.

However this is not a communist invention. Hukou has existed for thousands of years through major dynasties. It is a way to control population and migration a tool ensuring those in power remain in power.

It's an amazing place. Not amazing as in greatest place on earth but amazing in the historic perspectives and dynamic nature of modern china today. Truly Fascinating.
You are wrong Hukou started with communist regime. From Soviet to Vietnam. Only after the communist taking over. It was the only way for people to get their rations, a brutal way for the gov to control people. I was there. No communist in any form for me. Thanks.
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:23 PM   #57
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I'm very sorry to hear about your cats. IAMS should never have let that happen and the manufacturer should be cut off forever...
Food safety issues in China do not stop at pet foods. The government penalties appear strict, and several offenders have been executed (one would hope that the real culprits and not some scapegoats faced the firing squad). Still, the doubt persists. Recently, I read about Chinese tourists bringing back as much baby formula cans from abroad as they could, because they did not trust locally produced baby food.

In the early 1900s when Upton Sinclair published The Jungle, the meat packing industry here in the US also had unsanitary and callous practices that showed total disregard for the consumers. It was after this exposé by Sinclair that food safety regulations and the USDA were created.

Some unscrupulous people will not stop at anything in order to make illicit profits. It takes a system in place to monitor, deter, stop, and penalize the malefactors.
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:42 PM   #58
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You are wrong Hukou started with communist regime. From Soviet to Vietnam. Only after the communist taking over. It was the only way for people to get their rations, a brutal way for the gov to control people. I was there. No communist in any form for me. Thanks.
I do not believe that any communist country ever implemented the ideal and impossible system like Karl Marx envisioned. Instead, from Stalin, Mao, to their pupils like Ho and Castro, it is really about promising the peasants a heaven on earth to get their support, while consolidating their grip for a dictatorship. By the time people figure out, it's too late. Oh, people will never learn. They will always fall for one hollow promise or another. Animal Farm by George Orwell should be a required reading in schools. Of course it is banned in some countries.
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:54 PM   #59
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I do not believe that any communist country ever implemented the ideal and impossible system like Karl Marx envisioned. Instead, from Stalin, Mao, to their pupils like Ho and Castro, it is really about promising the peasants a heaven on earth to get their support, while consolidating their grip for a dictatorship. By the time people figure out, it's too late. Oh, people will never learn. They will always fall for one hollow promise or another. Animal Farm by George Orwell should be a required reading in schools. Of course it is banned in some countries.
NW-Bound - you are 100% correct. And yes, people don't learn. Me included, I was so naive to think Vietnam was opened up back in 2004 (they was trying to join WTO) and planned to go back and help. But after they got what they want (WTO member) they started to tighten up their grip, arresting dissents, human right activists. There is no other country in the world that has so many human right lawyers in jail as in Vietnam or China for that matter.

I do learn now, no communist of any form for me. Period.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:00 PM   #60
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Why don't we try to get back on topic - the recent stock market volatility in China.
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