Forget about that slow boat to China. Take a plane. Charter one if you must.
But get to China quickly. It is where you need to be.
While everyone in the U.S. is complaining about rotten business, China is out of control … in a good way. I’m here at the Intertextile show in Shanghai and some 40,000 people are expected to be attending before things wrap up. Not too many shows in America get that kind of attendance.
Even more importantly, this is a show all about the Chinese domestic market. And even though American companies don’t much like exporting — most in fact haven’t a clue how to do it even if they did — that is exactly what they should be doing.
A headline in the China Daily newspaper this morning said it best: “Urban women catch shopping fever: Survey.” Translated: Chinese women are shopping more. Said Lei Ying, a 26-year-old woman from Beijing: “I have decided to spend more to ensure my living quality.”
Remember when American women used to say that? It wasn’t that long ago, but these days they seem to be more concerned with mundane things…like paying the mortgage and making sure the utility check doesn’t bounce.
For years American home furnishings companies have come to China and Asia to buy products. It was very much a one-way street. A lot of those containers returned home empty, save for a few cartons of Marlboros and some Kentucky Fried Chicken.
At least symbolically, it’s time for that to change. American companies—wherever they make their products—need to be selling into the Chinese market. And India and Korea and Southeast Asia.
There’s lots of Lei Yings here who would absolutely love Calphalon frying pans, La-Z-Boy recliners and Martex towels.
Get over here fast. The world has gone upside down and you need to be in Asia before you fall off.