Last update 1/10/2011 5:00:00 PM (GMT+7)

The rise of China is challenge or opportunity? It could be both

VietNamNet Bridge – If Vietnam considers the rise of China a challenge, then it would be the challenge, but if it considers the rise of China as an opportunity, then it could be the opportunity, said Professor Regina Abrami at the roundtable talk with VietNamNet on December 31, 2010.


In the first part of the roundtable talk which was introduced to VietNamNet’s readers several days ago, the US professor said that she arrived in Vietnam this time with a group of MBA students on their internship, and that young successful Vietnamese entrepreneurs would be the examples for her students to follow.

Now VietNamNet would like to introduce the second part of the roundtable talk.

Journalist Lan Huong: The Vietnam Economic Forum (VEF) has opened a debate on what Vietnam should do in order to prosper next to the rising China. Could you please tell us what the US thinks about the rise of China?

Professor Regina Abrami: In the US, the outlook on the development and the rise of China is different. On one hand, the US and American people need China. It is undoubtable that the two economies have been more deeply integrating and have become more dependent on each other. On the other hand, there still exist differentiations and contradictions in the viewpoints of the two countries about political values and confidence, for example, the viewpoints on the human rights and freedom for speech. Chinese people have a saying: “same bed but different dreams”. I think the saying is very true.

I think that the US people are very interested in the strong development of China. In long term, the success of Chinese economy is also the economic success of the US, if we have belief in the economy and the open market.

Therefore, arguments still continue about if the world’s economy and the market have really opened. The openness should come from both sides, and if not, none of the two economies will get benefits.

Journalist Lan Huong: Do you think that the world is now overvaluing Chinese strong development?

Professor Regina Abrami: I don’t think that “overvalue” is the right word to be used in this case. It is undeniable that over the last 30 years, China has obtained very salient achievements. Let’s look into the number of Chinese people who have escaped from poverty, the number of people leaving rural areas for urban areas and the impressive improvement in infrastructure, the changes in education and social development.

I came to Guang Zhou City 22 years ago, where I saw it as a rustic city. However, the city has changed so much over the last years and all streets, roads have become modern.

Journalist Lan Huong: Yes, it is undeniable that China has obtained a mysterious development in the last many years. What do you think the rise of China will bring to Vietnam, challenges or opportunities? How should Vietnam live together with the rising China?

Professor Regina Abrami: This is not a new question at all. In fact, Vietnamese people have been thinking about that for many centuries. In the new circumstances, the answer to the question can be found not in China, but in Vietnam. If Vietnam considers the rise of China a challenge, then it would be the challenge, but if it considers the rise of China as an opportunity, then it could be the opportunity.

This depends on how Vietnam will deal with the investment capital flow from China and how Vietnamese businessmen think about the opportunities to do business with Chinese people. I personally think that the rise of China would be the opportunity, not a threat to Vietnam.

Journalist Lan Huong: I know that you have studied  Asian economies and the entrepreneurship of Vietnamese people. We all can see the clear role of the entrepreneurship. Indians say it is the entrepreneurship that serves as the fulcrum for the Indian economy to develop. As for China, the entrepreneurship has been transferred from generations to generations. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, in the period before the August Revolution, we only had a few big businessmen. In the renovation period, some people believe that Vietnamese businessmen have been succeeding by trading land and stocks. Therefore, they do not have the entrepreneur’s spirit. What do you think ?

Professor Regina Abrami: The entrepreneurship is important everywhere, and not only big businesses can play a big role in the national economy, but small businesses also can. In the US, most of businesses are small and medium-sized.

As for China, India or Vietnam, the entrepreneurship is also very important. Is there any difference in the entrepreneur in these countries? The answer is “yes”. As for Chinese, we can feel Chinese entrepreneurship in any places in the world. Therefore, Chinese can seek the support from their community all over the world.

But I won’t agree with someone saying that this cannot be seen among Vietnamese. Look at the volume of overseas which has helped create more and more jobs and bring opportunities to study to young people.

I also do not agree with the opinion that Vietnam had not had private  enterprises before the August Revolution and the resistance against the French colonialist. The evidence is that right in the 1950s, President Ho Chi Minh advised national industrialists that in order to save the nation, it was necessary to build up a powerful economy. So, I can say for sure that the business tradition has existedin Vietnam for a very long time.

Vietnam Economic Forum