A Swiss Village in China; A Chinese village in Switzerland?


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This week, a representative of the the Libyan government is in China to talk about the crisis in Libya and seek some help.  China has been very clear in its policy in Africa and the Middle East; it provides investment and financial assistance, but does not meddle in or try to influence internal politics.  China has also been very vocal in demanding a cease fire in Libya and some kind of negotiated peace – that is a negotiation between Libyans, not Europeans.  China has over 60 billion dollars in investments in Libya, so it is not surprising to think that Gaddafi he could find a sympathetic ear and some friends in China.  That has been the core of Chinese policy, invest to build long-term friendships.

Sometimes I think that I spend too much time thinking and writing about China; but most days I think the opposite.   China is too important to ignore or misunderstand; before it is too late, I believe we have to start to pay attention to China; not in the way we have in the past and just wait for some big event or news story about China before we look to the east to see what is cooking.

There is one very compelling thing about China, that once you start to think about become mind-numbing its scope; the size of China’ population.   The numbers take some time to digest; like the example from a week or so ago about China graduating 1.3 million scientist a year.  That means in 10, 15 or 20 years more or less over 90 percent of the scientist in the world will be Chinese; Chinese scientists working in China on Chinese projects.  The rest of world will still have scientists, no less than they have today and those scientist will still be doing good and important work – but certainly the leading edge of all science – at least those fields that interest China – will be in China and Chinese.  Between India and China currently have 37 percent of the world’s population, Asia has 60 percent; eventually that will mean the region will also have the same percentage of everything; wealth, production, science and potential.  Here is today’s Chinese number: China is building a new airport in Beijing, the existing one is nearly at capacity, 76 million passengers a year; the new one will eventually handle 60 million – that would be a total capacity of 130 million people a year going to one city. Is Boeing building planes for China? Not this week, but I would guess the capacity and range of the next generation of jet airplanes will be determined by cities with over 100 million passengers a year – what do you think?

There is an interesting trend in China that has not made the news, one that represents the past rather than the future.  Companies have been formed just to build towns that look like towns in other parts of the world.  One company specializes in building American towns, there are apparently a series of places that look like places in England; and from the Chinese Global Times a story of the Swiss village imitators.  The story tells of a team of Chinese architects that traveled to Switzerland to photograph, diagram and copy a village; then they returned to China to build a perfect replica.  The reporter thought it was an act of plagiarism and should offend the Chinese, but found that it did not offend anyone, except the author himself.   It is difficult to tell from the story, but it would seem the towns are built not as theme parks they way we have done for generations here – or for World’s Fairs – but rather places for ordinary Chinese to live, work and raise their families.

That trend is one of those things I beleive will change as China gains dominance on the world’s stage.  The Chinese will go from eager consumers of western products to trendsetters and sellers of Chinese products to the west (not the cheap versions of our products they currently sell to us).  I think everything in the future – how far away I have no idea, but sooner than we would like to beleive – everything will be designed and built for the Chinese (and Indian) market.  Today, international automakers send their cars to China – cars conceived in the context of our culture, built to suit our society and our needs – in that future time, cars will be designed and built for the Chinese and sent to us.  I think it will happened in medicine, in food, in fashion, in banking and maybe even houses; someday we may live in houses and towns built to imitate the Chinese.  It is simply a matter of numbers, those millions of Chinese scientists will someday will be doing research for those billions of people in Asia, not those people living in Europe or the United States.

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2 Responses to “A Swiss Village in China; A Chinese village in Switzerland?”


  1. 1 Silk Road Tour October 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Chinese Village was designed an authority on Chinese architecture. He designed several structures in China. These residential villages stand in contrast to the Spanish influence seen almost everywhere else in affluent 14-square-mile Coral Gables. Thanks a lot.


  1. 1 How to make money online Trackback on October 30, 2015 at 2:36 pm

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