Friday, June 23, 2006

Go East

Finally, I am heading to China. Of all the countries that I had recently been able to visit (thus crossing off my "to-do" list) - India, Korea, Russia - I had still not visited the country with the biggest myths of them all. Until now.

After meeting my girlfriend 1.5 years ago, I figured at some point that I would make it back to her homeland. Wendy was born in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China and lived there for the first 7 years of her life; now, we are going back to visit her family, the majority of whom stayed behind to witness firsthand the economic miracle that the country has experienced ever since the Open Door Policy of the 1970's turned the economy towards quasi-capitalism. It will be my first experience of this country whose breathless media reports shroud it in industry and mystery.

Studying last year at IMD, I was constantly reminded of the economic growth that the Asia Pacific region had been experiencing firsthand over the last decade - and in particular, China. With estimates of 5-8% annual growth into the forseeable future, the prosperity that was hauling millions of people into the middle class on a yearly basis was just beginning. The counsel our professors gave us, being a global business school, was to go east and join in the greatest prosperity of our time. I played with the notion for a quick moment before heading back to the US. Still, the idea lingered from last year...

So, with tourist bags in tow, I figured it was time to experience it firsthand. With all the wide-eyed wonder of a child's first experiences, I will go and discover Wendy's homeland through the eyes of the modern Chinese. From Wuhan to X'ian (the first imperial capital of China) to today's capital of Beijing, I hope to put those breathless media reports into context. Go east, I shall, for a couple weeks of myth-busting.
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