The unofficial capital of Asia is the place to be to witness an exciting future unfolding
By AYESHA and PARAG KHANNA, FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
IT IS a cliche that the Pacific Ocean is displacing the Atlantic, China will replace America at the top of the world’s hierarchy of power, and the East will surpass the West. We do not believe any of that for a minute. The multipolar world we are entering will have no single winner, and the three-pillared West of the European Union, North America and Latin America remains a triangular zone of peace and the foundation of global stability.
But a world of continued Western power is not a world of Western dominance. Areas once considered the West’s eminent domain such as the Middle East and Africa are now looking East for investment and exports, and new models of growth, development and governance. It would not hurt for the West to do the same.
We can all start by looking at Singapore, to which we are relocating shortly.
For the past generation, Eastern talent has been educated in the West and stayed, rising to the top of professions from medicine to academia, and founding over 40 per cent of Silicon Valley start-ups. But Asia’s wave of economic growth, infrastructure spending, and improved governance have been luring back Chinese ‘sea turtles’ and non-resident Indians, among others, to shiny new corporate parks and research labs. You do not even have to be Asian: China is launching a new scheme to recruit the best and brightest talent from all races and nations on permanent visas – call it a ‘red card’.
Migration is about opportunity, not loyalty. Americans too have become economic migrants. Since 2008, tens of thousands of Americans have sought employment in fast-growing emerging markets, their CVs pouring into financial capitals such as Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and Singapore.
During a recent lecture to an Indian firm in Mumbai, we noticed that a third of the audience were young American MBAs. At the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, hundreds of Americans and Europeans are enrolled in the English language master’s programme in international relations, where they get not only the professional training for global careers, but also Mandarin language classes and guaranteed summer internships in China as well. Continue reading