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The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that Will Disrupt the World

ISBN: 978-1-118-23994-0
240 pages
February 2012
The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that Will Disrupt the World (1118239946) cover image
An exposé on how the rise of China will affect the American way of life

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 the Chinese people 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. He draws 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 End of Cheap China shows:

  • How rising labor and real estate costs are forcing manufacturers of cheap Chinese products to close, relocate, or move up the value stream
  • How a restructuring economy moving away from exports to domestic consumption, and rising incomes will create opportunities for foreign brands to sell products in China rather than just producing there
  • How Chinese consumption will build pressure on the global commodities markets, causing both inflation and friction with other nations
  • How China's economic transformation spells the end of cheap consumption for Americans

China's days as a low cost production center are numbered. The End of Cheap China exposes the end of America's consumerist way of life and gives clear advice on how companies can succeed in the new world order.

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Prologue ix

Chapter 1 Chinese Billionaires Outnumber American Ones 1

Chapter 2 Cheap Chinese Labor? Not Anymore: China’s Workers Are Demanding Better Pay and Better Conditions—And They Are Earning Them 19

Chapter 3 Stability Is the Key to Happiness: How China’s Government Thinks and Why It Acts the Way It Does 39

Chapter 4 The Modern Chinese Woman 63

Chapter 5 Why Chinese Consider Kentucky Fried Chicken Healthful: China’s Iffy Food Supply Chain Is Putting a Premium on Safe Food 85

Chapter 6 Understanding Corruption in China: What China’s Underground Sex Trade Shows About Its Government 103

Chapter 7 China’s Real Estate Sector: Boom or Bust or Something Else? 125

Chapter 8 Chinese Neo-Colonialism in Africa and the End of American Hegemony? 147

Chapter 9 China’s Educational Sector: Preventing China From Cementing Its Superpower Status 171

Chapter 10 What the End of Cheap China Means for the Rest of the World 191

Epilogue 205

Acknowledgments 207

Index 209

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SHAUN REIN is the founder and Managing Director of the China Market Research Group, a leading strategic market intelligence firm that advises Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms, and hedge funds about profiting in China. Millions read his weekly CNBC column on business in China. He regularly appears on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CBS News, CNN, and NPR, and is often featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Financial Times, Bloomberg.com, and the New York Times.

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“…brilliantly written, colourful, witty and well signposted, so that readers know the lessons they are meant to draw from each chapter before moving on to the next one. These writers will not be the last to offer an answer to the question of what makes China tick. But they could be among the best of them.”-from “A Slice of the China Market” in The Financial Times

“Rein combines elegant writing and methodical research. Years of working in China have given him access to important players. Incisive interviews with billionaires, business executives, government officials, and migrant workers guide the pulse of the narrative.... essential reading.”-USA Today

 “Must Read.”-Consulting Magazine

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