On 6-7 March, the University of Virginia celebrated the opening of its China Office in Shanghai. The purpose of the new office is to facilitate connections, strengthen academic programs, engage alumni and prospective students, and provide UVA outreach to China.
The top-level delegation from UVA included Dean Robert F. Bruner, Marc Johnson, Executive Director of the Center for Global Initiatives, and Dennis Yang, the Dale S. Coenen Free Enterprise Professor of Business Administration.
The “China’s Urbanization: The Next Challenge” showcased Darden and UVA thought leadership in economics and development, as well as architecture. Dennis Yang led a panel discussion with Lin Zhou, Dean of the Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong Univeristy, Ming Lu, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for China Development Studies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Haiming Tu, Chairman of Hodoor Real Estate Development. Some of the key takeaways of the discussion included:
- The unprecedented rate of urbanization in China over the past 20 years has driven significant economic growth and transition, but now poses some real risks for continued sustainable growth and development.
- One significant potential risk is the possibility of a real estate bubble driven by this urbanization and overvaluation of real assets that could cause serious problems in the financial system if not properly managed.
- There are also serious challenges to environmental sustainability related to urbanization, including the energy demands related to urban centers, urban planning and transportation needs, etc. that need to be considered as urbanization continues.
- There are opportunities to address some of these challenges through further liberalization of the market economy in these areas that could help to correct some potential misallocation of resources. These challenges do not necessarily represent market failures but rather a need for further liberalization.
The Darden Global Business Experience to China, a group of 19 students led by Professor Marc Lipson, attended the evening Gala reception at the UVA China Office Opening as a kick-off for their week-long intensive business exploration of Shanghai. The China Global Business Experience explores how the unique characteristics of China influence business conduct both by Chinese and non-Chinese enterprises within and outside of China.