Overcoming China’s socio-economic challenges

I recently retired as UK senior partner of BDO after 23 years as a partner with the firm. Last year, I took up a position as visiting professor at Xiamen University, China. My wife is Chinese and I decided to spend three months exploring business opportunities in the region and trying to learn some Mandarin.

I’m blogging about my experiences in China for Real Business – catch up on my journey so far (see “related articles” on the right-hand side).

Blog 47

Hard on the heels of the Sino-Forest CEO’s resignation comes predictable news of a shareholder class action filed in Canada. 

A report from Advisen notes that “cases against companies from China (listed in US, has) mushroomed…from five suits in 2009 to 23 in 2010…and this has continued with 44 in H1 2011.” 

Meanwhile, Paul Gillis’ China Accounting Blog highlights the NASDAQ delisting of Jiangbo Pharmaceuticals, following the mass resignation of the audit committee in June. 

As Paul notes, the 23-page letter written by the audit committee chair is worth reading if you’re interested in fraud investigation in China (or elsewhere, for that matter).

Blog 48

World Bank president Robert Zoellick highlights the need for structural reform in China to move to a full market economy, while tackling key challenges. 

He identifies these as: inflation driven by food prices; labour force shrinking, while population is ageing; resources already switched into industry from agriculture; productivity increases declining. 

Moreover, China has: huge resource consumption and carbon emissions; rising inequality; over-reliance on foreign markets; and an underdeveloped service sector.  

My first two months in China have offered confirmation of these challenges and future blogs will continue to comment on them.

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