Get Ready for an Innovative China and India!

I’m always staggered by the figures on the the development of China and India. Sometimes numbers are almost too big to comprehend but a McKinsey report from 2008 gave a nice summary of the projected transformations that will occur in China before 2025. This urbanization is the biggest migration of people in world history. Approximately 350 million people (the population of the US) will be added to China and about 1 billion Chinese will live in cities. To accommodate these people China will need:
* 221 cities with more than 1 million people (Europe currently has 35).
* 8 mega cities with more than 10 million people.

These cities will need:
*5 billion square meters of road.
*170 mass-transit systems.
*40 billion square meters of floor-space in over 5 million new buildings.
*50,000 of these buildings could be skyscrapers, the equivalent of building 10 New York cities.

China still has the reputation for being the world’s factory, manufacturing products at low cost. China’s car and truck manufacturing alone stands at about 20 million units per annum. However, the next phase of Chinese and Indian growth will be the shift to a knowledge based economy. When that happens, the world will be a fundamentally different place, both economically and politically.

This transformation may happen faster than we expect. Tim and I teach the innovation course in the MBA program at the University of Queensland and this semester we have been joined by visiting academics from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. They like the innovation course and tell us that it is very different from what they have seen in other business schools. As far as I can tell, they are visiting several business schools around the world to put together a “best of breed” MBA program. These Chinese academics are smart, articulate and very capable with research and it won’t be long until we see many Chinese and Indian business schools in the top 100 in the world.

Is a world that is dominated economically by China and India a new thing? Have a look at the very confronting chart below. A world dominated by the “west” is a relatively new phenomenon. The rise of the “east” may just be a reversion to the mean.

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