When I was a child, China was regarded in the West as a deeply threatening place – the home of Mao Tse-Tung and his particularly hard line form of communism.
For the latest generation, China is a very different place – it’s where they make stuff really cheap.
For years now, Europe and the US have been closing factories and sourcing goods in China where they are produced far more cheaply. And, it has caused some dismay – particularly in the US where a growing chorus is calling for a revaluation of the Chinese currency to help stem America’s massive trade deficit.
But perhaps it is time to start re-evaluating our view of China again – not simply as a producer but also as a consumer. The thought is sparked by the news that sporting goods brand Nike has just opened a distribution centre at Taicang near Shanghai.
Not just any distribution centre – a two million square foot distribution centre that will handle all in-bound and out-bound products including apparel, footwear, equipment and Nike Golf for mainland China.
“I am delighted to add the China Logistics Centre into our global distribution networks with the opportunity and commitment to stay closer to our Chinese consumers,” said Nike’s general manager for China Craig Cheek.
Nike, the company, famously took its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, and it clearly thinks the time is right to develop the market for its products among the 1.3 billion people in the China.
So, perhaps it is time to look at your own supply chain and ask if it is ready to exploit the opportunities that are arising as the people of China start to enjoy the wealth that their industry has created.