Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

eigners are, if possible, more patriotic in China than at home, and it is too frequently the case the American agencies secured by them are used to advance the sale of competing lines from their own countries. Instances are not lacking where samples of American goods have been sent by these agents, with prices and full particulars, to their home countries to be reproduced there and introduced into China at the expense of the American manufacturer. Nor is this the only unfortunate feature of the practice. It is distinctly detrimental to American prestige in China. In a country where the American flag is almost never seen on the ships of commerce and where American manufacturers are so largely represented by foreign concerns, it is not difficult to understand why our country and its products suffer by comparison with those of some other nations.

There are some representative American houses in China handling American goods, but there is room for more, and American manufacturers should see that their goods are handled by Americans. Too often the eastern branches of American financial and industrial concerns are managed by foreigners or largely manned by them. This is looked upon by the Chinese as a confession of weakness and inferiority on the part of Americans and an acknowledgment of the superior business ability of the foreigner.

From patriotic, no less than business motives, Americans should speedily bring about a change in these conditions and employ Americans only in the exploitation of their goods. It will be a fortunate day for American trade with China when our manufacturers are represented by American houses employing none but Americans in their service, for it is a well-known fact that foreigners seek employment with such concerns for the sole purpose of acquiring inside knowledge of their goods, methods, etc., to be later used to the advantage of their foreign competitors.

Coöperation on the part of American manufacturers of goods in similar lines, but which do not compete, in the establishment of a house for the sale of their respective products would doubtless prove profitable if carried out on a broad scale, with able management and a complete corps of

[ocr errors]

a

competent salesmen. In the great interior districts nearly all the trade is in the hands of the native merchants who purchase their goods in the markets of the great ports, and are largely guided in their selections by their correspondents in these distributing centres. Here is another argument for the establishment of distinctly American houses on a scale to create and uphold American prestige. In some of the inland districts there are British, German and French firms engaged in the importation of foreign goods, but no Americans.

We must learn one thing if we are to secure our rightful share of the Chinese business, and that is that we must not be too impatient for immediate profits. Our foreign competitors are willing to plant the seed and carefully nurture the young and growing trade until it is ripe for the harvest, while too many American firms are like the amateur farmer who digs up his seed every day or two to see if they are sprouting.

Again, in order to create and maintain intimate and permanent commercial relations with China, we must acquire the eastern point of view and seek to meet their ideas of their requirements rather than to seek to foist our own upon them.

China purchases each year from foreign countries more than 250 varieties of goods. The United States participates in less than half of these, and ranks third or higher in only 27. This can hardly be said to represent our fair proportion of the trade. It may not be practicable for us to compete with other countries in all these lines, but there are doubtless some in which we do not now participate in which we could secure a portion of the trade, and in the lines in which we are already represented, increased sales would doubtless follow the adoption of vigorous selling methods.

Among the articles which are enjoying an increased demand, with every promise of a rapid and continued increase for many years, may be mentioned the following: Clothing, boots and shoes, cotton and woolen goods, bicycles, clocks and watches, hats, caps, gloves, hosiery, haberdashery and underwear, phonographs, photographic and optical

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

supplies, lamps, machinery, railway and electrical appliances, automobiles, hardware and building material.

The importance of adequate American banking facilities in China cannot be overestimated. The coöperation of leading financial interests with large business concerns, with branches in Peking, Shanghai, and other large business centres, for the purpose of financing great industrial undertakings, as well as furnishing all material, engineering and construction, is one of the great needs of the day, and one in which Americans are sadly behind their British and German competitors, who have far superior organizations in China, and make a more careful study of the requirements of the market. In Germany, in particular, the banks and manufacturers combine their interests and are thus prepared to secure profitable business by granting longer credits than it is possible for American concerns, to give under existing conditions.

This question of credits enters very vitally into our trade relations with China. It is of the utmost importance that we develop as speedily as possible this coöperation between our financial and industrial concerns, if we are to maintain our rightful position in connection with China's foreign trade.

In connection with railway construction and equipment, electrical and mechanical installations and general construction work, it is of the utmost importance that the representatives on the spot be competent to give intelligent information, specifications and quotations without delay. Many a good contract has been lost to a foreign competitor because of the absence of these requirements on the part of the American representative.

Illustrated catalogues printed in the Chinese language are a necessity in the introduction of many lines of goods, and where prices are quoted, they should always be c.i.f. Shanghai or some other Chinese port, as the people there have no way of ascertaining the cost of transportation from interior cities of the United States.

There should be established at Shanghai and possibly other important trade centres, permanent exhibitions of

American goods, in order to acquaint the people with our products.

I have only been able to touch briefly on a few of the most salient features bearing on successful commercial relations with China, and now to sum up:

1. China has a population of upwards of 400,000,000 people who are rapidly developing along western lines of living, with all the increasing demand for our goods conse quent thereon.

2. The country has enormous natural resources which are being opened up to the markets of the world by rapid progress of railway construction, thus greatly increasing the purchasing power of the people.

3. Having this great population with ever-increasing requirements for foreign goods, it must be recognized that China will in the future furnish a great outlet for our surplus products. Now, therefore, is the time to secure a firm foothold and establish commercial relations that will gain for us the confidence and respect of the Chinese against the time of their great commercial activity.

4. We must make a careful study of conditions and requirements and acquire an intimate knowledge of the demands of the native trade.

5. We must not expect immediately profitable results, but by acquiring a better understanding of good export methods gradually lay, the foundations of the great business that is sure to follow.

6. Establish adequate banking facilities, and put none but American representatives in the field, backed by sincere and genuinely interested producers.

7. Above all let us remember that American prestige is at stake. Not merely for the sake of financial gain, although this is sure to follow, but as patriotic Americans let us strive to attain and maintain our rightful position in China's commercial relations with the world, a position which shall not only prove financially profitable to all concerned, but shall, by bringing these two great nations into close and harmonious commercial relations, materially assist in hastening the day of universal and permanent peace amongst the nations of the earth.

[ocr errors]

THE INDUSTRIAL FUTURE OF SHANSI PROVINCE

By Rev. Paul L. Corbin of Shansi Province The province of Shansi is in the northern tier of the original eighteen provinces of China, and lies between Latitude 35° and 41° North and Longitude 111° to 114° East. The province is bounded on the north by Mongolia, on the east by Chihli, the metropolitan province, on the south and west by the Yellow River, separating it from Honan and Shensi provinces respectively. The area of the province, not including the districts lying to the north of the Great Wall, is about 56,000 square miles. Its population has been variously estimated from 9,500,000 to 12,000,000.

The importance of the province from an industrial viewpoint lies in two facts: first, it has vast deposits of mineral wealth; second, it is, in a sense, the gateway to the northwest of China and the heart of Asia. Certain lines of travel across the province have long indicated that one of its problems when the awakening to the touch of western civilization comes will be the problem of transportation. The chief problem in its industrial development, however, concerns its mineral wealth.

Before discussing either of these problems it may be well to describe the general topography of the province. Rising from the low plain which covers the greater portion of Chihli Province are ranges of hills extending from north to south. Shansi lies amid these hills. It is made up of successive ranges, bisected by water-courses, and with three elevated plains, or basins. The greater number of streams in the mountains are, naturally, tributary to the Yellow River: the river of chief importance among these is the Fên, which drains the central, largest, and most important of the three plateaus. The lower ranges of hills are of the wonderful loess formation, and are tillable. The higher ranges approach to the dignity of mountains, and are, for the most part,

« ForrigeFortsæt »