Bring out the best China

We hope you all enjoyed the Olympics - even if the UAE team didn't bring anything home other than a few souvenirs from the airport.

COMMENT, PMV

We hope you all enjoyed the Olympics - even if the UAE team didn't bring anything home other than a few souvenirs from the airport.

Of course, knowing that all eyes were on them, the Chinese Olympians performed magnificently. With a huge budget, massive population base and steely determination to get the gongs, how could they fail?

Equally triumphant were the venues themselves. Buildings like the Birds Nest are triumphs of engineering, (though we wouldn't like to have been responsible for reading the blueprints). The controversies surrounding health and safety standards in the construction are but a distant memory and the Chinese authorities are to be applauded for the roller-smooth way the sports day was run.

Why are we talking about this in PMV? Well, the Games are something of a metaphor for what is happening widely in China, as we found out on a visit to that country this month. Ancient Soviet-style 'do as I say' management structures are out and modern modes of production, based on time and motion are in. There is also the recognition that one size doesn't fit all, and products need proper market research and back-up before people will buy them.

Of course there is still a long way to go, particularly in the fields of R&D and branding. However, just to extend the Olympic metaphor, most of the marathon has been run allready.

Greg Whitaker is the editor of Plant Machinery Vehicles Middle East.

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