Riding the Rich, Grey, Chinese Wave

The Economist June 21st 2014

Riding the rich, grey Chinese wave


China’s largest private sector conglomerate has been a skillful surfer of changing business trends:

“Retirement homes can be depressing places, but Starcastle comes as a pleasant surprise.  This upmarket development for pensioners in Shanghai is a joint venture between Fosun Group, a Chinese conglomerate, and Fortress Investment Group, an American private-equity firm.  Visitors find a colourfully decorated apartment building filled with energetic oldies…

Since time immemorial, Chinese children have been expected to take care of their aged parents–but rising incomes and shifting norms are changing things.  The 93-year-old former boss of a hotel chain insists such stylish retirement homes previously unheard of in China are the future: ‘It’s very advanced; it’s convenient… and the children stop worrying.’

The Starcastle venture illustrates the long-standing strategy of Fusun’s transformation from an entrepreneurial startup into China’s largest private-sector conglomerate.  Put simply, the firm has been brilliant at trend-spotting, catching successive waves of economic growth in China at just the right moment…”

Skillful surfer and catching successive waves of economic growth are great surfing idioms/metaphors.  The “rich, grey Chinese wave” is just part of the Chinese conglomerate, Fosun’s strategy. They are “one of the largest steelmakers, in China as well as one of its largest miners of gold and iron.”  They are also “determined  to transform the firm from an industrial conglomerate into an insurance-oriented financial firm…”

The surfing metaphor is introduced in the title and the lead-in phrase and then developed with successive waves of information about different Fosun strategies.





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