A Year of Ws: China

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(Artist: Ingram Pinn; via Financial Times)

The United States of America is suffering through the 45th president’s disastrous year of Ls. This has given the People’s Republic of China a chance to tilt the global spotlight significantly more toward their superpower nation.

Y’all know I rock with China heavy these days. Below is just a small list of the gains China made as a nation in 2017.

World Economic Forum

The 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF), held every January in Davos, Switzerland, was the first Forum attended by a Chinese head of state ever. There are plenty of criticisms about President Xi Jinping’s crack down on civil liberties in China, but his shrewdness in stepping into the role as the world’s most powerful economic globalization advocate must be admired.

With powerful Western nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States in disarray due to new leaders setting firm isolationist, our-people-first stances, the position America usually held in the global economic community was left vacated. And as real estate and infrastructure investors continue to spur China’s quick outward economic growth, the strength of President Jinping’s show at the WEF laid the foundation for China’s legitimization as the, not a, world economic leader.

Despite several electoral defeats in 2017, populism in Western Europe is growing at a frightening pace. And with the U.S. too busy with its own internal drama, WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab admitted that, “the international community its responsive and responsible leadership in providing all of us with confidence and stability.”

Entrance into hip-hop

Look, I’m not saying Kendrick, Chance, and other American hip-hop heavy-hitters should be worried. But I have said and I’m currently saying that East Asian musical acts have the best chance of any foreigners not from Canada to make serious waves in the United States’ music scene in years to come.

Honestly, I think South Korean and Japanese artists have better chances at crossing over in the American market. The cultural relationships between those two nations and the States are much more fluid and share more of a musical foundation. But in the same way Chinese consumption of American content like NBA games and Hollywood films has upped their own engagement with basketball and film production, the success of acts like the Higher Brothers give China hope in finding the pulse of American hip-hop.

The Higher Brothers in the music video for their single ‘Franklin’

More of the good Western shit

For as much as China is hanging on to its nation’s traditions, the consumption of American culture has greatly increased among young Chinese adults.

As discussed in my year-end W article for the NBA, China is by far and away the largest source of tv viewership the NBA will have for the foreseeable future. Along with their healthy level of basketball obsession, the federal government increased the Hollywood-imported film quota from the previous number of 34, and has since seen unbelievable box office growth for American and domestically-produced films.

With a month and a half to spare in late November, the Chinese box office surpassed 50 billion renminbi (RMB, equivalent to $7.53 billion) for the first time ever this year. 2017 also saw a 15 percent increase in moviegoers.

Going Global

Then there’s all the traveling Chinese folks have been doing. The Chinese have been traveling abroad at quickly increasing rates over the last several years. In 2017, Chinese tourists led the world in international departures (>130 million) and were called, “the most powerful single source of change in the tourism industry,” by the secretary general of the World Tourism Organization.

Chinese tourists aren’t the most pleasant, but that’s pretty much any population of tourists from large-economy nations (via Dose)

For as heavy as the flood of Chinese people has been to other countries, even more impressive is the amount of Chinese money being thrown around abroad. A UN report on foreign direct investment (FDI) in July of this year stated 183 billion dollars flowed out of China in the form of FDI in 2016, a 44 percent increase from 2015 propelling them from fifth to second on the global investor list behind the United States.

State-sanctioned business endeavors such as telecommunications and infrastructure projects in India and East Africa have gotten so massive, the Chinese federal government has started to put political restrictions on an otherwise encouraged trend. And a brief Google search with the phrase “Chinese investors” gives you 2017 stories of all the “big opportunities” and “promised lands” ambitious individual financiers have been pouncing on all over the world.

Silicon Valley, Israel, Brazil, it’s all prime for foreign investment, and Chinese businessmen were the ones most poised to take advantage of it all this year and for the foreseeable future.


Ever since announcing my newfound fascination with China, the nation’s importance in the world has not stopped its rapid growth. I still maintain that a curious and critical eye needs to be kept on the moves of a society that large, powerful, and hungry for change. Ultimately, I hope I encourage a healthy global awareness that might one day help future Americans learn how to work with the Chinese instead of disregard or misunderstand them.

2017 saw Western powers stumble. China’s stability and surge into supremacy makes for a prime history book-worthy contrast. China, hold this W.

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