Calvin Chin is an American entrepreneur who lives in Shanghai. He founded Qifang, a P2P lending site for Chinese student loans. You can read more about Qifang here. He attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this last week, where China was the center of attention. We asked him to write this guest post and share his unique perspective as an American building a startup in the heart of China.
Here at Davos it seems China keeps coming up in two ways - neither of them positive. One, with the worst of the crisis behind us, people are turning from last year's hopes of China as economic savior to China as free-rider keeping its currency cheap, bullying its minorities and shirking its responsibilities in Copenhagen. Two, in the tech community, seems everyone is talking about Google, Chinese government hackers and censorship.
My view, and I think it's one that many in China would probably share, is that while free access to information and the rest of the world is inherently a good thing, so is political stability. The Chinese government has earned a lot of slack for raising hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and if things did go out of control a heck of a lot of people would get hurt. So even if they want China to be plugged in to the rest of the world to encourage innovation and Chinese tech entrepreneurship (which I think they do), they'd put that priority after getting most Chinese people better lives.