A WAN Business Briefing was held at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London on November the 12th. Architects and construction professionals gathered for the event which focussed on the current volatile market conditions in China and the impact they will have on the architecture industry.
A busy event was chaired by Malcolm Reading of Malcolm Reading Associates with three main speakers;
William Algaard, Associate Director – ARUP
Anthony McCarter, Vice President Middle East – AECOM
Mark Lacey, Partner – Alinea
Three concise and informative presentations were then followed by a lively Q and A session.
Representatives from firms including; Awkett Swanke, Cundall, China- Britain Business Fusion Ltd, Paulo Cossu Architects, PDP London, and Wilkinson Eyre Architects were present to listen to the presentations and join in the debate. For a full list of companies taking part please Click Here.
Some of the issues covered ranged from the global price of oil and how it is affecting the world’s economy to China’s high use of concrete, sustainability and contract negotiations with China.
Environmental issues are a major consideration as China’s power generation is still heavily dependent on coal. Indeed the panel noted during the Q and A that retrofitting was still not fully understood in China. Also, as the west embraces pedal power, China, a country which was once known for its love of the bicycle has come to view them as unfashionable and an outmoded form of transport. Clearly a change in attitude is required before China fully embraces sustainability and areas such as the high use of concrete, which far outstrips the USA will also need to be addressed.
Difficulties with contract negotiations, which can often be protracted in China, were also touched on during the Q and A. Cultural and language issues were cited as major stumbling blocks in this area.
A key question under debate was ‘Is the bubble about to burst?’ The panel noted that while China’s growth is slowing its contribution to global trade will continue to be huge. Indeed, the panel agreed that we could be at the beginning of an important new wave of Chinese investment in the UK with money and skills flowing in from China. The debate about China’s continued role on the global economic stage will continue and WAN may return with a second Business Briefing on the topic in the next few months.
This event was supported by WAN Business Information - The most up-to date market intelligence for international architects.