#48 China backing China
Following Google’s threat to leave China, the International Herald Tribune reports that many foreign companies confirm growing hurdles to doing business in China. Complaints range from intellectual property theft to pressures to source locally to blunt breeches of contracts by joint venture partners. There are allegationns that many of these practices are not just due to opportunistic behavior by individual companies, but tolerated and promoted by the government. After initial improvements in the business environment shortly before and after China joined the WTO in 2001, China seems to be back on a protectionist route. Foreign investment is still restricted in some sectors, patent and trademark infringements continue, and the Chinese government is even imposing export controls on certain minerals which will ultimately create shortages on global markets. Is China simply weary of foreign companies? What is more likely is that China is continuing on its path to create an environment in which Chinese companies can grow and ultimately will be ready to compete in global markets.