Mark Anderson: A New Strategy for China

Mark Anderson, CEO of Strategic News Services, spoke August 1, 2010, at the Summer Business Program 2011 Reception.  In attendance were some of China’s brightest future business people who were selected from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade to study at the University of Washington FIUTS program this summer.  Commentary by Michelle Ranken, WCTA Intern.

In his talk, Mark Anderson strongly emphasized the importance of intellectual property in the world of business.  He used Japan as an example of a nation that operates on and has largely perfected the mercantilist system.  By targeting particular industries, Japan has been able to essentially knock out the same industries in other countries, such as the US.

However, Japan has not been the only nation that has demonstrated success in a mercantilist strategy.  Other nations that have made an attempt have been South Korea, Taiwan, and finally, China.  Each of these nations improved the system from how their predecessor interpreted it.

Although the mercantilist system, as Mr. Anderson described, is perhaps the most successful economic model ever made, it was not built to be successful over the long-term.  He described the Japanese as masterful in the arts of manufacturing and in improving the products of other nations, but they have yet to master the invention of new products.  Inventing products—and intellectual property–is what gains wealth in the long term. 

If China continues along the path of the Japanese and the mercantilist system, its economy will falter.  If it does not focus on invention, the Chinese economy may emulate Japan, which has faltered after strong success in the 1980s.  Interestingly, Mr. Anderson suggested that Microsoft is another example of the mercantilist model—an organization that has been expert in acquiring technology over creating it and now is in the doldrums.

Anderson suggested as a solution to the Chinese students was to team up with Europe and the United States to build a clean energy program.  This would entail mitigating the effects of climate change using one set of standards and shared intellectual property between the three actors.  China should actively initiate this partnership because of its expertise in the area of environmental sciences.