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Breaking Out the Good China, Part 1

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The author takes us on a guided tour of an economic miracle.

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I've just returned from a 2-week trip to China arranged by my longtime travel agent, wife, and traveling companion, Nicole. We visited Hong Kong, Beijng, and the Xi'an and Chungching "resettlement cities" during a cruise along the Yangtze River.

We traveled through the indescribably beautiful Three Georges area, the locks on the new Three Gorges Dam (the largest concrete structure in the world), and Shanghai. This was partially a vacation, and we hit many of the extraordinary tourist spots, as well as many rural districts that tourists rarely see, including the home of a traditional farmer and the "replacement" home of a family whose village was covered by the rising waters of the Yangtze above the great dam.

This trip was also an opportunity for me to observe what's happening in China from a business and economic perspective and to report back to my fellow Minyans on what I saw, heard, and read in the Chinese and American press on those subjects. This is the first in a series of articles in which I'll attempt to communicate my observations and conclusions.

Seeing firsthand what's happening in China from a business and economic view point is a jaw-dropping experience. Although I'm an avid reader of the financial press and viewer of financial news, I was totally unprepared for what I saw on this trip. My preconceptions were totally wrong, and what I saw has caused me to change my perspective on China to a very considerable degree.

To cut to the chase, on the basis of my personal on-the-ground observations, it's my belief that China will, in the not-too-distant future, achieve parity with and then exceed the US in terms of the gross production of manufactured goods. I also believe it will decouple itself from dependence on the foreign-export and capital markets, and will eventually not only address its internal pollution problems, but become a leader in the development of alternative sources of energy and pollution-control technology. It will do this while insuring itself a steady supply of petroleum and iron ore through its ongoing acquisition of interests in foreign-energy companies, and it will resolve its regulatory and quality-control issues with respect to consumer products.

I also believe that together with the US dollar, the Yuan will eventually serve as an accepted medium of international exchange. I say these things even while being aware that China is currently adversely impacted by the current world recession and that it has serious quality-control issues with certain of its consumer products. Nonetheless, I anticipate that the force of China's current economic dynamism will lead it to come roaring out ahead of the pack -- and soon.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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