Local-Global: China investments in the States. Where are the U.S. media?

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Why is it that it takes the BBC to do a story about how Chinese investments in the United States create jobs?

China President Hu Jintao set to visit Barack Obama in US

We have President Hu coming to the United States to visit President Obama and the U.S. Congress but on the day before Hu’s arrival, there are no scene setters or even a look at the political or economic relationship between the two countries. (Maybe those stories will be run on the day Hu arrives. One can only hope.)

But the China-US story is not just an aggressive Chinese military or massive violations of human rights or of U.S. jobs lost to Chinese factories. As the BBC report points out, it is also about Chinese investment in U.S. jobs.

I like the fact that the BBC reporter went to Indiana to profile a factory that went from 15 people to more than 400 employees. That is job creation thanks to free trade and open borders.

If the anti-trade, pro-isolationists get their way, all those U.S. dollars that are being sent to China for goods or for debt will go to some other country. Whenever a country makes itself unfriendly to foreign investment or foreign products, it always hurts itself much more than it hurts it erstwhile trading partners.

It would be nice if we could see more reporting in the U.S. about the complex nature of trade instead of the too often one-sided “they are taking jobs from us” reports.

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  • https://sites.google.com/site/journalismandtraining888/home Carole Ann Goldsmith

    Interesting comment about the BBC journalist visit to the Indiana factory that went from 15 to 400 employees. I was in Guanzhou China in September for a small business expo. The Chinese people I travelled with told me about a factory in Guanzhou that has 400,000 employees. This factory produces computers for al the big USA names – Dell, Apple etc. Many of the employees live at quarters near the factory.

  • Dan Kubiske

    Carole: Factories and compounds that size are not unusual in China. The rarity is the plant with only 400 employees.

    Small and mid-sized businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. In China the backbone are the massive plants to produce the toys for the rest of the world.

    That is slowly changing.

    And as for people living on the plant compound. Again, this is nothing new. A lot of it started when people flooded in from the country side and needed a place to stay. Then the housing got arranged to ensure there were no “trouble-makers” in the group. (There is a formula for how many people should be placed in each room to make sure malcontents are quickly reported to the state security offices.)

    Because small and mid-sized companies are rare in China and common in the USA, it is significant when a Chinese investor shows up to back the U.S. firm.


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