China's economic record over the past
18 years is legendary - an average annual growth rate of 9% and a doubling of per capita
income between 1978 and 1988. China's swift transition from planned to market economy
means that a nation of 1.2 billion people who previously had barely enough to live on, now
have large quantities of disposable income, and high quality Western products are at the
top of their shopping list.
But not only consumers make the market so promising. In order to maintain the momentum of
its rapid modernisation, the Chinese government and private companies need urgently to
import Western products and technology, to build an infrastructure that can support
potentially the world's most powerful economy. Nevertheless, maximum advantage cannot be
taken of the opportunities China offers, without expert knowledge of the market, political
and economic systems, the language, culture and business practices.