Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What will Obama mean for China?

US Senator Barack Obama campaigning in New Ham...via WikipediaThe election of Barack Obama as the new president for the United States has already triggered off some concern that he will follow a more protectionist track. Incoming US presidents typically use their first six months to discover scolding China is not bringing them any further, like Bill Clinton discovered the hard way.
But unlike Bill Clinton, Obama has hardly mentioned China in his campaign and I agree with Paul Woodward that a similar protectionist line is now highly unlikely. But for other reasons, Woodward suggests that Chinese companies might focus more on China itself:
Interesting to see Joe Tsai of Alibaba then predicting to Reutersthat he expects 50% of their B2B revenues to be coming from within China in the future. That would be up from 36% today. At the same time, the article reports that Alibaba is cutting prices for many of its manufacturing customers whose businesses are really hurting right now.
Update: Thomas Crampton caught some comments by former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, who seemed to be - slightly - worried by Obama's take on trade.

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