China faces huge uncertainty, not least how to cope with an America less able to consume its goods, but the country, and its principal commercial city, are hugely ambitious. Shanghai wants to become a leading services centre, with high quality research and tourist facilities. China’s state council has set Shanghai the goal of being an international financial centre by 2020.
Is China’s authoritarian capitalist model in a position to supplant the west’s democratic one? Can China’s one-party system shift its economy from low-cost manufacturing to sophisticated services?
Most people I spoke to said no – not without China becoming a very different society. For China to move to the next stage requires two things, they said: the free flow of information and the rule of law.