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Upcoming event: What if business stopped pandering to China?

9 months ago
UNIBusiness Editor
united states, china and the stock market

The David W. Wilson Chair in Business Ethics at the University of Northern Iowa presents an ongoing series of public forums to explore different hypothetical scenarios by asking the question “What If…?”  Presenters review relevant research and invite the audience to examine potential intended and unintended consequences.  Aimed at a broad audience of community members, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff, the purpose of the series is to stimulate critical thinking and greater public understanding of crucial issues facing society.  The forums address a wide variety of topics that are likely to affect us in the near future.

“What If…Business stopped pandering to China?” presented by UNI Associate Professor John R. (Andy) Anderson

China has become increasingly assertive in forcing companies wishing to do business in China to conform to Chinese governmental demands. These demands include things like self censorship and forced technology transfer to Chinese companies. One tweet from an NBA team's general manager which was out of step with the Chinese government's view led to a torrent of negative effects for the NBA as a whole. Ironically, Twitter is blocked in China. What if U.S. companies stopped pandering to China?

Join the discussion!

Monday, December 9, 2019
7:00 PM
Curris Business Building #109 John Deere Auditorium

UNI business professor Andy Anderson


UNI Business

UNIBusiness Editor

UNIBusiness uses a team of writers to conceptualize, develop and share stories and updates with the public. If you have a story idea, an update on an alum or just want to say 'Hi', please email

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Submitted by Christian Jegen on
This was an interesting read for me. It is kinda scary how much influence china has on our country and others. It is also crazy to think about what would happen and how things could escalate 10 years from now.

Submitted by Joel Gan on
Recent images and videos have revealed that China is imprisoning its Uighur population in “re-education” camps. The Uighur are Chinese citizens, and the majority of them are Muslim. They are therefore both religiously and ethnically different from the (officially) atheist Han majority. One video, shows blindfolded and shackled prisoners in a largely Muslim region of China. A UN Human Rights Council was also told that China is harvesting organs from its ethnic minorities. This adds to the evidence that China is attempting to wipe out, one way or another, its Muslim population. China is using its economic power to bully the world. I think that it’s time the world stops allowing China to dictate other nations’ foreign policy by throwing around its economic weight. It’s time to stop doing business with China altogether.

Submitted by Sonny Onken on
Joel, Your entire comment was extremely intriguing as I was not aware the mistreatment went all the way to harvesting organs! That lead to an idea I had about where we are at with China and to look back at history for some understanding. What you just said was horrid, China commands technology sharing for them but not the other way around and they censor anything that does not support their governments "perfect complex". Yet, in America we just keep going on with out lives pandering to whatever they ask us to do despite having very strong convictions about what they do. I think this helps to explain how the North did business with the South for so long despite slavery running rampant. We didn't want them to do it, but money overrules most opinions. On top of this if businesses do start pulling out, then other less ethical businesses will see this as an easy opportunity for new markets they couldn't access. Under this threat of competition, I just don't think anyone(individual) will stop pandering to China. Although it is possible if we as a large entity(business or national) put our foot down and boycotted them till they better their practices.

Submitted by Nate Morgan on
This whole issue with China has really brought some heat for the multinational corporations that do business with them. Some people even praise Trump for sticking up against the Chinese gov't, but this isn't a Trump post. Recently a soccer player for Arsenal had tweeted about internment camps in China, and their response was to block the Premier league game viewing. This goes hand and hand with the Houston Rockets GM tweet over China. But many businesses in the U.S. do work with the Chinese, so if this were to stop we would see a sharp price increase in nearly aspect of our capitalist economy. We do THAT MUCH work with them. This would cause companies to purchase supplies from those of higher costs, which is where we see our pricier products. The effect would be negative for sure, and would take years to bounce back from.

Submitted by Phillip A Zimmerman on
This is a very interesting topic to discuss because it is so prevalent in business today. Business with China has changed our economic system. If we stopped pandering to China, we would see a lot of negative impacts, especially initially. The U.S. might even cease in economic growth. Although there would definitely be social benefits to stopping pandering in China, I would be nervous about what negative social impacts would also follow. The partnership between the U.S. and China is mutually beneficial, so they stakes are high regarding this "what if..."" question.

Submitted by Zach Vande Weerd on
While scrolling through an online news source I came across an article in the Washington Post entitled "Why Trump's China Tarrifs have not caused Americans to Pay $1,000 more a year," and was reminded of this What If blog. There has been a lot of question up in the air on how these tariffs would effect American people and American business, but this specific article focuses more on the individual. JPMorgan conducted a study after the tariffs saying that almost all the costs would be absorbed by the customer, especially on products like shoes, clothing, etc. The article states that the Chinese have actually taken a harder hit, and costs that did affect the US were absorbed by large companies. With President Trump urging companies to come back and operate in the US, it will be interesting to see what further actions he takes to complete his mission.

Submitted by Kari Coulter on
I think this ‘what if’ question is a very crucial topic in today’s society. This is something that we have similarly been discussing in my Global Supply Chain class as well as a couple of my other classes. I was not able to make it this talk, but I think it is important. Companies are starting to buy from out East Asian countries other than China, as well as from South Asian, Southeast Asian, and other countries. Not only are China’s government demands an issue with them trying to force things upon the U.S. and other countries, but other factors are playing a role in companies shifting from buying from China to other countries. China’s labor prices are increasing as well as other costs of doing business in China, which is starting a shift where companies are doing business. I know the U.S. is starting to buy from other Asian countries and they are also building companies or starting businesses elsewhere due to this increase in costs. I think China is dictating other country's policies and economies too much and that the U.S. needs to be cautious in continuing business with them. While there are a lot of benefits to doing business with China, I think it is becoming more negative and we need to be careful going forward.

Submitted by Jack Murphy on
I think the U.S. public and companies in general would be better off. Be like Nike, we just talked about them in my strategy class with Professor Vansandt and when China started costing more they packed up shop and moved their production to Thailand if my memory serves me right. Companies need to be in charge of themselves, not bending at the knee to the demands of the Chinese government. We live in a free country, and this should be a free world. Businesses can help make that happen.

Submitted by Abbey Hoskins on
This was an interesting question to think about. If we stopped pandering to China, what would they do? What jobs would they have? I also asked myself, does China have the right to be assertive with business with the U.S. when we provide jobs, trades and a majority of their business for them? I don't think forced technology transfer is fair for us to have to do also. Yes, doing business with China is vital but why should there be barriers for entry? It is also said by a lot of foreign businesses are treated unfairly compared to local ones because regulations are inconsistent and there are heavy restrictions too. How can that be fair? No we should not pander to China. What if we boycotted China? What would that do to them? If there are going to be a lot of barriers and restrictions to doing business with them that cause it to be difficult, why should we do it then?

Submitted by Ian C Poe on
If the United States stopped pandering China's request China would crash the United States economy. I am a firm believer that China has a lot of power on the United States economy. This was proved when China devalued their currency all the way back in 2015 this caused the United States economy to dip, their influence on our economy has only grown since then as we see recently with the coronavirus crashing the U.S markets. Chinese companies shutting down causing our companies to shut down. The United States has to work with China however, I think the UN as a whole should take a stand against Chinas human rights issues until they give in.