Monday, December 21, 2009

Back from trip to China and observations

I just got back from a 3 city tour and will be off again to Bangkok tomorrow. It has been an very interesting trip where we viewed several potential sites for business and property collaboration. It is amazing how much China has accomplished in the last 20 years of development. The connectivity that they have achieved took many other countries 2 or even 3 times the amount of time they took.

I worry for Singapore’s ability to stay ahead of the economic development game as Singapore is still playing a middleman’s role of sorts and when the Chinese really understand how Western economies function, our role can easily be replaced. Staying relevant will be a key for our next generation. But alas, I see how many parents are pampering their kids during my recent trip to Hokkaido and Tokyo where there were more Singaporeans than Japanese.(Yes, you read right).

I worry about their ability to tough it out. I really worry when kids are boasting that their parents are putting them on business class and even comparing where their parents took them on vacations during school holidays. Maybe I am old school but I did not take my first commercial plane until I graduated from university. These ‘soft kids’ will be steam rolled by the hungry talent from developing countries.
Anyway, property prices in China are on a roll and I do not see any relief as there is massive migration resulting in greater urbanization. Prices briefly softened for a while but they are back on a roll and many Chinese citizens are complaining that they cannot afford decent housing. I am evaluating a couple of projects and will keep you updated.

I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance on behalf of all my colleagues and myself at ERC.

Your Friend,
Andy Ong