Monday, June 11, 2012

China: Taking Over the Global Economy Comes with its Country Clubs

By Adam Maher

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It's been said that in comparing sports to politics or economics there is reputable danger, but the money is growing, the games have been won and the correlation is obvious.

In just two summers, two women from China secured their homeland's first major titles in both golf and tennis - two sports notoriously associated with having big money country club memberships.

Li Na won the French Open Tennis Championship last summer, becoming the first person from China to win a major tennis tournament, and yesterday, Shanshan Feng won the LPGA Championship, becoming the first person from China to win a major golf tournament.

"It is amazing. I think I'm just lucky," Feng said after the win this Sunday. "There are good players from China, young players, right now. I became the first one, but I'm sure there will be a second, third, more people winning in the States and winning majors."

And there will be.

China has been drawing projections that in less than 30 years it will takeover the United States' title as the world's largest and most prominent global economy. Reports have flown across the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis that China is spending twice as much as the U.S. and other Western countries on nationwide infrastructure, working twice as fast.

"Large projects, like a sixteen-lane bridge, are completed in the time it takes just to acquire the building permits in the U.S. Just last week, 200 workers built a 15-story hotel in six days, using prefabricated pieces that snapped together like Lego building blocks," ABC News reported in 2010.

The report goes on to say, "Chinese engineering is speeding ahead in other areas, outdoing American efforts. By the end of next year, a train from Beijing to Shanghai will take just four hours. It will cover a distance equivalent to that between New York and Atlanta, a trip that takes Americans 18 hours.

"These latest displays of engineering ingenuity have prompted responses from U.S. officials, including President Obama.

"It makes no sense for China to have better rail systems than us," Obama said at a press conference after the midterm elections. "And we just learned that China now has the fastest supercomputer on Earth. That used to be us."

The Chinese are "making investments," the president said, "because they know those investments will pay off over the long term."

China has been making for the past decade numbers that equate 8% economic growth. This year actually is projected at 7.5% to accomodate several reforms, and if those policy changes work in their favor, three years from now we can expect to see those annual numbers jump back into double digit growth per year.

Basically, China is rich, and in a time that America can't even control its own country clubs, the Chinese are swooping in and taking over. The country club sports of tennis and golf have for centuries been the epitome symbols of wealth and power. To become a golf or tennis champion, having access to these sports as a child requires lots of money and time - growing up rich or having a greenskeeper for a daddy are pretty much the only avenues to success in the two sports. After all, how many players from South Africa do you see on tour that look like Tiger Woods?

For years, China did not have the time or money at a productive value to produce the sort of golfers or tennis players that could actually win a world major championship, but as their bank accounts have grown, their children have begun to wear white, and it's all just another reminder that China's economic growth is for real.

Congrats to 22-year-old Shanshan Feng on her title (on a bogey-free 67 on Sunday for the LPGA's first Chinese woman I might add). I do not mean to take anything away from her success, which is incredible. I actually have no idea of Shanshan or Li Na's personal upbringings. They could have brought themselves up from the gutter for all I know. With this piece, I am just merely drawing the correlation between money and country clubs in America and applying it to what's happening on the global scale.


  1. Don't count us Yankees out

  2. Two words for you, Anonymous: Andy Zhang.