The Relevance of Business Blogs, of All Roads. In China. Now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 22:52

Dan over at China Law Blog put up a post Blogging On China Law And Business In Difficult Times a few days ago where he asks some important questions about what his role should be on issues that are: (1) politically hot, (2) possibly not in his field, (3) are important to cover, but maybe not in line with the goal of his medium, and (4) may get his site shut down.

All very important issues/ questions for us as we see things occur on the news, but I am not just saying that because recent events have stoked the fires of many… but because, there have been many topics that fall into 1 or more of those categories that are important, but difficult to write about for fear of getting out of ones league, for fear of the hammer coming down on the site, or for fear of angering a group of readers.

After giving this a few days of thought, where I believe All Roads is relevant and where I believe I hold the most value is that I am writing as a business consultant about events, trends, and issues that business leaders need to think about when considering China.

I began this blog because I saw a real gap between what was being reported in the mass media and what was happening on the ground, and more importantly I saw a HUGE gap between what people needed to know about China… and what they did know about China.

Over the course of the last 18 months, I think have done just that, and where I feel I have offered the most relevance is not by looking at the politics behind the scenes, but looking at the impact that certain events will have on business.

VAT rebate reductions, Wuxi water contamination, product recalls, and so on.

These were all topics that had a head of steam on them that I may have burned myself on in all four of the categories about, but felt I needed to warn readers, analyze a topic, or bring in external articles to show what the impacts could be, would be, and more than likely would end up being.

The fact is that China is going to have problems and there are going to be growing pains. There are 1.4 billion people spread across 31 provinces who have different levels of access to nearly every constraint of economic development and prosperity you can imagine (water, education, coal, food, clean air, etc).. and there are going to be growing pains.

Taking this a step further, it is why I started the What if, What else, and What are the Odds series. We have had four now on various topics (2008, inflation, energy, and water) that brought senior leaders together to discuss these topics in a closed environment.. and it is why you will see I have spent equal amounts of time devoted to Crossroads – a blog about CSR and sustainability in China

The recent events reflect the past, the present, and the future, and while at times the images are compelling, the fact is that China has many more issues that it will need to work with before the administration can say “Mission Accomplished“.

So, if I go silent on an issue, or seem to skirt the political side, just know that it is not because I don’t want to address it, or afraid of addressing it, it is because for the purposes of All Roads I should be addressing it in the context of potential impact on those operating in China. It is a process that is less from perfect, and while there are times that I may chose to type out a few choice words about a hot topic, I find it is better to let the folks at Shanghaiist, Danwei, Global Voices, and ESWN, and others address the issues in much better forum than I can.

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