Decoding China’s New “National Security Commission”
Joel Wuthnow, Ph.D.
November 27, 2013
In the wake of the meetings of the Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in November, the government announced the creation of a new body to unify and oversee China’s national security apparatus.
At first blush, the body looks a lot like the US National Security Council. Even though details are scant, dissection of the announcement by CNA’s China specialists suggest that there are subtle yet important differences, and some real bureaucratic challenges. CNA’s Joel Wuthnow pulls together those opinions to begin to add some clarity to the enigma that is China’s NSC.
This is a great read, if for no other reason than to get a glimpse at the birth of a body that will become an important force in global politics going forward.
The Future of the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force | RAND. The nice folks at RAND lay out the best alternative for extending the cost-effective relevance of American ICBMs. Why is this important? Because it addresses upgrades currently underway in China’s Second Artillery Corps; and it invites additional expenditures in those upgrades. Let the escalation begin.
bcg.perspectives – Pharma’s Next-Billion Patients
BCG offers a fascinating look at what is at stake for big pharma in China. For that reason alone it is worth reading if you have even the least interest in healthcare in the PRC.
The report’s omissions are glaring, however. Perhaps because it would be impolitic to mention, the report avoids the really tricky questions around pharma in China today. One glaring example: it fails to mention the industry’s long-standing dependence on unsavory practices to get drugs prescribed, and how such behavior places the entire pharmaceuticals industry at risk of heavy-handed government intervention.
As the GSK case proved last summer, the growing focus on healthcare at the highest levels in China’s policy-making apparatus means that the pharma business needs to clean up its act, lest it become a victim of China’s healthcare boom rather than a beneficiary.
BCG’s researchers and consultants almost certainly knew this was a danger long before the GSK case came to light. That they did not bring this out in the report – that they pulled their punches – reduces what deserves to be an industry primer to the level of little more than marketing collateral.
BCG’s report is an essential piece in understanding the pharmaceutical business in China today. It should be read with an ample dip into the news that has come out since its publication.
Winning the Next Billion Asian Travelers—Starting with China
Frank Budde, et al.
December 5, 2013
We are not shy to criticize the conclusions of the major consulting houses when they get it wrong on China, so it is only fair that when we catch them doing something right, we say as much. Such is the case with the Boston Consulting Group’s report on China’s outbound travelers.
The report gets it right in some important areas, most notably on the importance of segmenting the market. Not all Chinese tourists are created equal, and those segments will evolve as more tourists spend more time overseas. Mr. Budde and his fellows then go one better: they offer nine strategies for companies to follow when chasing the Chinese consumer.
As with all general prescriptions, it is easy to quibble on particulars, but in our experience the BCG report provides a great starting point for building 1-3 year strategies for addresing this evolving – and lucrative – market.
bcg.perspectives – Marketing Excellence in a Globalizing World. BCG’s take on how to market in developing economies vs. developed economies. An interesting take, but here is ours: the more we try to generalize about marketing across cultures and nations, the more obvious the limitations of those generalizations become.
While we all make merry at the antics of Chinese scrap metal merchant Chen Guangbiao, who has come to America to buy a major national newspaper, we would do well to remember that of such characters history is made. Georges Danton, the great French revolutionary, once said, “il nous faut de l’audace, et encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace” (“we need audacity, and yet more audacity, and always audacity.”) Or, as my grandmother said, “you gotta have chutzpah.” He is the harbinger of more such Chinese personalities who will seek to own the great media outlets of the west, and many of them are likely to be better funded and more subtle in approach.
Imperialism with Chinese Characteristics? Reading and Re-Reading China’s 2006 Defense White Paper
Flag ~ China – People’s Liberation Army (Photo credit: e r j k p r u n c z y k)
Mike Metcalf, a member of the faculty at the National Intelligence University in the US, has spent a lot of time parsing China’s seminal 2006 Defense White Paper. China has issued such signalling documents in the past. What distinguishes this one, according to Metcalf, is that it points Beijing toward a national security posture that goes beyond territorial defense.
In the publication, Metcalf provides his own overview of the white paper, then offers two translations of the analysis of the paper by the man considered its pricipal drafter, Dr. Chen Zhou of the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, as well as Metcalf’s own analyses of Dr. Chen’s point of view.
It is a rare treat to have an informed and scholarly discussion on Chinese source material made available in a format the rest of us can digest. All the more so given that the import of this book is to prove that China’s assertive nationalism is not a product of Xi Jinping’s making, but something that has been in the works for nearly a decade. As such, it is hard to expect this direction to be fleeting: we are looking at what is likely to be a lasting trend in Chinese international relations.