Kogod School of Business executive in residence Robert Sicina recently returned from his fourth trip to China in as many years. The international business professor has studied the Chinese business boom, and took a few minutes to discuss the impact of the Beijing Olympics on the world’s most populous country with American Today.
Q: Why did China want to host the Olympics so badly?
A: For 15, 20 years China has been moving toward free market, and I think the Olympics was viewed by them strategically as another important step in that process. It was a major commitment, but it also involved some risks, and their willingness to run those risks is demonstrative of their commitment to stay the path of opening up. That’s major.
Q: China shut down many of its manufacturing plants during the games. Will this harm its exports, or the countries who import its goods?
A: Interesting question, not such an interesting answer. The fact that they were going to do this was announced well in advance; companies had the ability to work overtime; most of the companies that were closed were smaller and very efficient. There probably will be no substantive impact on imports to the U.S. American children will not have empty stockings at Christmas.
Q: When we look at China 15, 20, 30 years from now, what level of importance do you think we’ll place on the Beijing Olympics?
A: So much is happening in China, so fast, that 15 or 20 years from now it will be all but forgotten.