Chinese international trade students in 1992 told me that China would buy what they do not have from the West for that time. Then, when they had those things, they would not buy anymore. I told them that they would buy more as their ability to buy what America makes grows. They felt I was foolish and walked away.
Chinese people in the 80”s bought every Japanese appliance they could because they knew it was better than those in China. Chinese people were naturally pragmatic and smart in buying. (Well, they also buy for show and then always buy foreign, so even when they are not pragmatic, they buy foreign. They still are pragmatic and they have learned that Chinese made products are not as safe or reliable. Take a look at this quote from the China Law Blog and see the whole post here.
The composition of U.S. sales to China also seems to be changing. Until recently, sales to China were dominated by large-ticket sales made by major multinationals. Think Boeing aircraft and GE power plants, with occasional big equipment sales by mid-sized companies thrown in. In the past three years, however, we have seen more SMEs move into the market in areas such as software, tooling and specialty manufactured products and consumer products. We also have seen a rapid growth in services sales in industries like architecture, education, energy consulting, and marketing. We anticipate that this trend will increase at an accelerated rate as China works to move its manufacturing base and its other industries up the value scale.
China needs the help of American companies and it finally seems to be willing to pay for it.
Trade links with China will improve as our economies grow more similar. Have no doubt about it. I mentioned in a recent post that China has 80 Million people who are middle class by U.S. standards and 240 Million by Chinese standards. The days of just sourcing from China should end quickly as sales become too big an opportunity to be missed.