In no particular order, the following are the list of questions I'd like to try to get answers and opinions to when I'm in China next week. Some, of course, will appear elementary (though I've found in the past on such trips that the on-the-ground opinion one forms is almost always different from the one gained from analyzing a question from afar). Others might seem a bit esoteric (though they won't be, for companies investing in China sourcing from a true total landed cost and supply risk perspective). So here goes. Please feel free to post a comment or drop a line if you'd like me to investigate any other points which I'm overlooking here.
In the industrial, automotive and A&D manufacturing worlds, how have the VAT rebate changes impacted new orders and existing business?
What is the on-the-ground perception -- among sourcing experts -- of the recent Chinese quality and supplier performance scandals? Do they really extend past the food and toy sectors of the export market?
Is the Chinese supply base ready to move into higher value-added production areas that the government has said it wants it to? In other words, will the Chinese manufacturing economy look more like Japan and Korea in 2015 or 2030?
What is the government doing -- if anything -- to reduce the environmental and air quality impact of its production and electricity production? Last time I was in China and went on a sight-seeing jaunt outside of Beijing, I could not believe the poor levels of air quality. In fact, as many others will attest to, the pollution has turned the landscape grey in many areas, including the trees.
What can we expect about future US and China policy regarding currency and tariffs? What are sourcing experts planning for?
Is any progress being made on the IP protection front from a legal perspective?
Are any services, software or content providers emerging in China to monitor supplier: credit, performance, risk, credentials/qualifications, etc.?
Where are the Chinese investing in from a low-cost labor perspective? New parts of China? Vietnam?
Should we fear an economic recession in China after the Olympics as some economists are predicting? And if so, what impact will this have on Chinese suppliers?
Obviously, this list is just a start. If you'd like to add to it, please post a comment or drop me a line, and I'll be sure to take your ideas into account.