I'm Barry Petersen, and this Letter From Asia comes from Beijing.
I was reading The China Daily the other day… that's an English-language paper run by the government, when I happened upon a column of short items… you know, a couple of grafs each. No big deal. Except it was all about the big deals.
Like PetroChem China…announcing that it's going to build a new ethylene plant. Ethylene is used to produce things like rubber or plastic. It's quite a deal…a $2.6 billion investment.
Right below…Volkswagen. Big name in China because it manufactures here, so it's been popular for a while. But Volkswagen also buys parts made in China for cars it manufactures in other countries. Last year, it spent 100 million on made in China parts. This year…ten times that. A cool one billion dollars.
Next item…Royal Dutch Shell…it will expand its China business with a 500-million dollar investment…on top of the $3.5 billion already spent here.
Down we go to a Luxembourg-based steel company. Steel is big business in a country that seems to be rebuilding it cities from the inside out…and the Luxembourg based company is buying a share of a Chinese company...for $249 million.
And if ever there was a market for cell phones, this is the place. Buying a cell phone is cheap and easy and instantly you are connected. Which is why Korea's Samsung is upping its investment in cell phone manufacturing to about $200 million.
And so it goes…a Canadian fertilizer company is investing $126 million.
A brewing company – this one Chinese – is building a new $100 million factory.
And with help from Hong Kong bankers, the Chinese wine maker Dynasty is raising $46 million to boost production.
Were you taking notes? That's OK, I've done the math for you. It's just shy of $5 billion in new investment. Just think – around here, it was nothing special. Just one day of big deals.
Now you see what they mean when they talk about, not just the new China, but the new getting-rich-quick China.
By Barry Petersen
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.