Being a product manager is a high stress, diverse job. Every day will certainly be different. However, it also affords some cool moments. Doing strategic planning, I need to read and study what is happening at a macro scale in the world’s economy (I am by no means an economist, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night), and this means that I get to read a lot of different things.
Friday, my task was to learn about China’s 12th 5-year plan, how that could affect spending on scientific instruments, and what that means to us. One of the stated goals of the plan was to begin the transition from an economy of makers (manufacturing for export), into a center of design excellence (the innovators). That is well and truly on the way, and has been reflected in the activity we see in the market.
But, beyond reading the text published, I got a chance to read some analyses of the plan by the American think tanks, and investment banks. Some interesting facts come to light in their analyses.
FOr instance, one of the goals is to shift to a more consumption led economy (where their population buys more of what is produced, instead of sending that overseas via export.) FOr this to happen, wages for laborers must rise, and more migration from the rural to the urban centers is required. But wage inflation also brings price inflation. Furthermore, since there isn’t a very robust security net (the average set aside for a worker in their version of Social Security is < $500USD), these wage increases are being pumped into savings (the average Chinese worker saves more than 30% of their earnings), thus hampering the desire to get the economy headed towards a consumption based model.
And I work at making microscopes. Cool day.