The news that China is looking to buy up Italian debt – thus, temporarily at least, keeping the Eurozone crisis in its box – is more evidence of the growing power of the country. We now look to China for economic sanctuary in the same way we once did to the US; a nation drowning in its economic mire, aided by a raft of political goons hell-bent, it seems, on self-destruction.
Another factoid adds weight to the Superpower-in-waiting moniker. According to this neat little graphic , Internet penetration in the Asia Pacific region far outweighs (in terms of total numbers) those in other regions.
Being an ex-expat resident of Thailand, this is no big surprise. It wasn’t only the well-healed who enjoyed the early boom of the Internet as you might expect in a developing country. Thais connected themselves rapidly to the emerging Worldwide Web and also embraced mobile phone technology – thanks, in part, to the now fugitive ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who made his billions by recognising its potential. I remember the joy, way back in 2000 while out hiking in the remote hills of Khao Yai national park, of getting a mobile phone signal against what I thought was impossible odds. Today, I struggle to get a signal in The Trafford Centre in Manchester – go figure!
We in the West cannot ignore this power-shift towards the Asia Pacific. It’s not exactly news, of course, that China’s emerging economy – coupled with that of India – is tilting the financial axis of the planet eastward. But it will certainly be interesting to see how all this pans out. With Hong Kong and Singapore somehow sailing through the global tsunami unscathed, nations in trouble will no doubt be looking to calmer shores for inspiration.
As a copywriter, I’m certainly interested in this. Luckily, for people like me, the lingua franca of the Internet and global commerce remains dominated by English, so there should always be a market. Can we afford to rest on our laurels, then? Probably not. With economic power shifting, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a cultural and, therefore, linguistic dominance will shift with it.
Only time will tell.