THREE KEY ELEMENTS FOR SUSTAINED GLOBALIZATION
Brief comments presented by Mr Paul S. H. Lau
The Fifth APCEO International Cooperation Summit, Changchun, Jilin, China
1 September 2009
(This presentation is entirely the personal opinion of Mr. Lau and it does not represent the views or policy of any government or organizations with which he is associated.
In the current circumstances of grand adjustments in global economics and commerce, threats and fear of protectionism is getting rampant. International cooperation in terms of globalization and outsourcing seems to have been retreating from the front line of our business considerations. There are a lot of talks about possible protectionism but globalization is not dead.
Far from being in remission, globalization is becoming a fact of life. Globalization is going to be stronger, higher and riche. Globalization will be stronger in links, higher in efficiency; and richer in benefits. There are, however, certain conditions we have to shape up ourselves to win-win-win in the new order of globalization.One key element of sustained globalization is a more coordinated trinity of PDQ.
After the current grand adjustment is said and done, even now - on the journey to that goal, everybody is seeking value for money more than ever. Every business will be more focused on the basic trinity of Price-Delivery-Quality.
In order to benefit from the new order of globalization, one must sharpen and enhance the trinity of PDQ. Capitalizing on the still turbulent state of adjustment in the financial markets and in the industrial bases of some countries, we should definitely use this opportunity to reinforce ourselves, to prepare ourselves to be a stronger player in the new globalization game.We must be part of the process, in order to be part of the future.
Another key element of sustained globalization is proper perspective of BRIC.
Brazil Russia India and China -- the Golden BRIC as everybody likes to bunch these huge markets together in reminiscence of the 4 Little Dragons, and the 5 Tigers etc.This time however, is a very different era. The volume of business opportunities, in terms of trade, investment and technology transfer, is absolutely in a very different dimension.
A healthy and progressive BRIC will not only sustain globalization, it could be counted on in giving us confidence in formulating a new economic order emanating from the recent global financial tsunami.
As many of us mahjong players, or poker players, we don’t just look at the hand in front of us. We have to be alert of our surroundings, of our competitors. While BRIC is not an economic bloc as such, we should not lose sight of opportunities beyond where we are today. Neither should we be complacent of competitions amongst the BRIC members internally nor competition between ourselves who are not member of the BRIC.
Equipped with a competitive PDQ trinity, we continue our journey in globalization with zeal. Widening our horizon to encompass the other elements of BRIC, we advance into the future with more confidence. Our future is what we make it to be. You are the very ingredient, very constituent of a sustained globalization.
The most important element of sustained globalization is perhaps, the all familiar Guanxi.Guānxi as we all know it, describes the basic dynamic in the complex nature of personalized networks of influence and social relationships, and is a central concept in Chinese society. This relationship is not just for the purpose of business, even though we hear the word Guanxi at the tip of the tongue of China-traders and China-hands every time they speak.
Guanxi is the fundamental tenet of Confucianism which has been the basis for the social order for most part of the Orient, and not just China, since some 300 years Before Christ, in the same span of time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
Confucianism views individual as a social creature obligated to each other through relationships. These include the relations between sovereign and subject, parent and child, husband and wife, elder and younger, between friend and friend.
These five elements of relationship (Guanxi) in the dogma of Confucianism for good citizenship have been the cardinal references for the society in China, not only for business and commerce, but for filial piety, mutual respect between spouses, allegiance to the state, and trust & faithfulness to one’s friends.
Absolutely by coincidence, Socrates, Plato et al, the western contemporaries of Confucius and Mengfuciu circa 400 bc., developed comparable philosophies for good citizenship for the Greek states at that time. There were no telecommunications at that time and it would have taken ages to travel from Athens to Qufu. We can only call it coincidence, or say it is another proof of “Great minds think alike”.
Our western great minds even went further than Confucius and Mengfucius. The Politics of Plato and Aristotle view citizenship as consisting, not of political right, but rather of political duties. Citizens are expected to put their private lives and interests aside and serve the state in accordance with duties defined by law.
We are here today with a common purpose. We are here to talk about globalization. We are here to network and to solidify our guanxi with old friends and to establish guanxi with new friends. We are here to renew or begin our global citizenship. There is no law governing this citizenship, everybody has the right to become a global citizen. There are duties, however. We have the duties to make our world more harmonized and more prosperous, for ourselves and for our future generations. Through a stronger, higher and richer globalization we can do it. We do it together.
In closing, please allow me to quote the president of a major Japanese automaker who was at the podium of Detroit Motor Show, some 25 years ago. He was promoting competitive coordination and coordinated competition. What was he talking about? “Competitive coordination makes us go through the process of self-enhancement in order to be part of making the pie bigger” – he retorted. “Coordinated competition is in accordance with the rules of trade (the GATT- at that time WTO was not born yet)”.
At the same forum, during Q&A time, the Japanese auto CEO was asked about the productivity of his corporation. He replied “in our mind, productivity means we need to make tomorrow better than today”.