No time to take a summer vacation yet, unless a two-day trip to our office in Shenzhen towards the end of last week counts. I always enjoy the ferry ride from Hong Kong Airport to Shekou; perhaps a case of mixing business and pleasure.
With all the young people thronging its streets, subway stations, and shopping centers, I always feel like a geriatric whenever I’m in Shenzhen. Forget all the nonsense you read in the western media about China being behind in innovation. This city is well on its way to becoming a global technology powerhouse in markets such as IoT, and the country is making great steps forward in establishing leadership in AI.
It helps of course to have a huge population that is generating terabyte after terabyte of data thanks to the proliferation of mobile phones. But even more important than that is having a government with a clear vision for the future and the willingness and resources to invest in large-scale projects that will drive innovation and growth for many years to come.
Shenzhen is a shining example of the amazing results that thoughtful long-term planning and careful execution can achieve. So too are the gleaning towers of Pudong in Shanghai, not to mention the world’s largest high-speed train and highway networks. Yes, of course, China has encountered growth pains along the way, but no other country in the world comes anywhere close to its record in modernizing its infrastructure and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.
The next major initiative that the Chinese government is rolling out is its “One Belt One Road” plan aimed at rebuilding the ancient land and maritime trade routes that once comprised the legendary Silk Road. Naturally there are those who have their doubts about whether it will be successful, but I for one am not among them. For a country that has transformed itself in less than forty years, anything is possible.