The current present and future importance of China

At a time when the world is returning to a certain state of normality after the pandemic, it is more important than ever to take a closer look at China, its economy, culture and society. Already the world’s second largest economy, China is becoming an increasingly important economic, political, technological and environmental player. Economic relations with China can have a direct and indirect impact on the competitiveness of Western companies. For the management of European companies, an understanding of Chinese ‘characteristics’ is therefore essential in order to identify economic opportunities and challenges and respond accordingly.

Understanding China

To avoid misunderstandings and to foster relationships, a sense of the rich and diverse Chinese culture is essential. This includes an understanding of the rapid social changes taking place in China, from urbanisation to social and demographic trends affecting consumption patterns, workforce development and social structures.

With regard to the specifics of China’s political system, its growing geopolitical importance deserves particular attention, as China’s rise as a world power has significant geopolitical implications. The country is a major player in international organisations and has a growing influence in shaping global standard-setting structures. China’s assertiveness in territorial disputes, its ‘Belt-and-Road Initiative’ (BRI), and its growing military capabilities have implications for regional and global stability.

Finally, China has become a major center of innovation and is investing heavily in research and development. Understanding the latest developments in areas such as AI and 5G technology in China is of great value to companies that rely on these technologies.

In summary, dealing with China’s impact on the global economy is already a key business component of operating successfully on the global stage.

China’s own uncertain future

But what will the future look like now? A recent study by the prestigious Mercator Institute for China Studies describes five scenarios for China’s development during Xi Jinping’s third term. How will China develop over the next five years?

According to the study, dealing with China will remain a challenge for the European economy, especially as the country itself is in a period of increasing uncertainty. Based on 15 political, social, economic and technological factors, a basic scenario emerges according to which China will become latently unstable, crisis-prone, economically slower growing and domestically more centralised.

Against the backdrop of this “sweet and sour” outlook, the Swiss Course in Business Management (SKU) is traveling to Chongqing again this year to gain insights, make valuable contacts and identify future opportunities. As part of the SKU Certificate Course, we will spend a week with a group of experienced executives in a dense learning expedition, visiting international and national institutions, talking to Chinese executives and expats, and engaging in face-to-face dialogue. We are very excited!

The Swiss Course in Business Management (Schweizer Kurs für Unternehmensführung – SKU) was conceived in 1953 by professors from ETH Zurich and the Universities of St. Gallen and Zurich as a German-language alternative to the Harvard programme.

In 2019, the SKU Association transferred the programme to the University of St.Gallen and has since been called the “CAS-HSG SKU Executive Management Programme“. Topics include entrepreneurial leadership, effective change management, digitalisation and innovation, designing and optimising value creation, personal leadership impact, as well as participants’ own management project and coaching throughout the programme.

The programme includes comprehensive training and is characterised by a systemic orientation, structured exchanges between experienced managers and the strengthening of participants’ management skills.

Since 1953, more than 4,300 managers have successfully completed the programme. The result is a vibrant professional and personal network that spans all industries and sectors and continues to grow. Graduates continue to benefit from enriching professional development and networking events after graduation.
Degree: Certificate of Advanced Studies from the University of St.Gallen (20 ECTS).

About the author(s)

Thomas Schumacher 2 von 7

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schumacher Head of Programme HBM School of Entrepreneurship

Relevant executive education


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