E-commerce has taken a stronger hold in China than in most major economies. Walt Disney Co.’s $5.5 billion (U.S.) investment in doubling the size of a Disneyland Shanghai, which will re-open in June, is a bet that China’s current tourism decline is an aberration, and that the enlarged park will be profitable as early as 2019.
China is more of a magnet for Taiwanese immigrants than ever, prompting fears in Taipei of a brain drain. More than 600,000 of Taiwan’s 23 million people live at least half the year abroad, about three-quarters of them in China.
And development continues on the world’s biggest megalopolis, Jing-Jin-Ji, connecting Beijing, Tainjin and the Hebei Province, with a population about the size of Japan’s 130 million.
“JJJ,” with its vastly improved parks and other recreational amenities, along with 21st-century public-transit systems that will cut commuting times from 3 hours to 30 minutes.
It seems useful to mention a few of these Chinese realities since, in the West, there has been a conviction for the past year that the Chinese economy is cratering. And indeed, China’s rate of GDP growth last year was the lowest in a quarter-century, a “miserable” 6.6 per cent that is about three times higher than that of Canada or the U.S.
Of course, that humble growth rate (by Chinese standards) does contrast sharply with a Chinese Industrial Revolution that has caused China to eclipse Japan as the world’s second-largest economy; has lifted more than 400 million Chinese from peasantry to the middle class; and has greatly softened the blow in Canada of the Great Recession, given China’s voracious appetite for Canadian natural resource exports.
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