If money talked, these days it would likely speak Mandarin.
China has grown to become the second-largest economy in the world (and by some measurements it is the largest). And this trend will only continue.
The Chinese have spent decades producing and saving, so they can now enjoy increasing levels of wealth and upward mobility. In contrast, the West has spent decades spending and borrowing, so they have the opposite of wealth – rampant debt and a plummeting quality of life.
China is on its way to becoming the world’s next dominant economy and superpower. And they are getting there at the same speed as one of their brand-new bullet trains.
But that ride is not going to be smooth. There are serious systemic problems in China.
The country’s government has managed to rack up a lot of debt, especially at a provincial level. Misallocation of capital is also notorious – everyone has heard about Chinese ghost cities built by the government from scratch. These are places where no one wants to live.
They have a shadow financial system that is epically over-leveraged.
Yet as a place to live, China offers various benefits – a very reasonable cost of living, the opportunity to get a great education in Mandarin, and the ability to access China’s business environment with ease.
But there are also some serious and infamous drawbacks.
Human rights is definitely an issue.
And they also have their notorious Social Credit System in place.
Their government wants to control every aspect of your life. They don't have a qualm about locking down their megapolices in 2022, when pretty much the entire planet has gotten over the Covid hysteria already.
If you do something the government doesn't like, as a punishment, you can be banned from traveling. Or you might be forced to use a slow internet connection. Or you might be excluded from using hotels, be forced to pay higher taxes, or even get shamed publicly.
If you want to succeed in China, you better keep your social score high.
Pollution is also a significant issue. It’s not just air pollution that can cause major health problems, but also the pollution of the country’s soil, water and food. (Of course, you could go to Hainan Island. It is a resort island with a tropical climate and far less pollution – but that would also be less practical for a range of reasons.)
The other drawback is low English proficiency. And Mandarin – both spoken and written – is a notoriously difficult language to master as an English speaker.