For once, some good news from China

In a few weeks I’ll be traveling to China. It’s the second time I’m traveling there. While I enjoy flying small planes and generally like to fly, flying commercially isn’t something I look forward to anymore. But in this case, the purpose of my trip is so worth the stress. You see, our local CSR team in China has designed an ambitious plan that heads off a nascent but growing social problem resulting from the economic boom we’ve all been hearing about….

The problem is that major Chinese cities are facing equally major land shortages. Rapid urbanization is transforming the Chinese landscape. With China’s growing prosperity, more people are moving from Eastern China to coastal cities, seeking jobs, excitement and a share of China’s prosperous future, which apparently includes the opportunity to fleece unwary western tourists through teahouse scams.”

Right, another story.

Anyway, those people moving to the cities – yes, even the scammers – need housing, but there’s not enough. To build new housing the government needs land. So, the urban centers are expanding. As they do, agricultural land becomes housing and farmers get displaced, leaving them with no livelihood.

In the Chengdu area, home for one of Intel’s Assembly Test plants, more than 30,000 farmers were displaced to make way for urbanization plans in the last few years. And while the government has been successful reemploying the majority of them, more than 4,000 farmers this year find themselves sitting idle in high-rise apartments, with nothing to do for the first time in their lives.

This is where my CSR colleagues in China come in. Lead by Henry Gui, our community relations manager, our Chengdu office is building a consensus of community stakeholders around an initiative that, if successful, will not only re-employ the displaced farmers, but provide educational opportunities for their families, develop a vibrant, IT-enabled community that supports them with culturally relevant education, business and community content, and create an environment ripe for intra-community dialogue.

Of course, a lot of things have to go right for all this to happen. But so far so good. The government is interested in the plan and we’re getting the right community stakeholder interest. So, in December, Henry’s leading the first community gathering wherein stakeholders, government leaders and yours truly (Intel I mean) can participate in shaping the plan’s details.

I’ll be going to do what I can to support Henry in this ambitious project, but rightfully, the limelight will be shining directly on him, for it is he who has been leading this project since its inception.

I’ll write more prior to my departure and again upon my arrival. And this time, I promise to get some good pictures.

10 thoughts on “For once, some good news from China

  1. I have to agree with you there. Who said “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”? Not making a judgment either way here. What does one do in this case from a CSR perspective? Stem growth, or try to find a way to provide gainful purpose, even if it’s not one’s primary preference?

  2. Well, since you ask….Most people, if they remember it at all, refer to that line from Spock in Star Trek II :(.
    But it is a classical Greek ethical premise first proposed by Epicurus and made “famous” by John Stuart Mill in his essay Utilitarianism, published in 1861.
    Sorry Perry, couldn’t resist after so many years of ethical courses in my undergrad. And a great CSR philosophical debate. An idea for a later post?

  3. I didn’t know you had such a rich, classical education, nor did I realize that quote had such a luminous history. I’ve learned something new. Thanks Dave!

  4. I’m a chinese and very appreciated for Intel’s care for the farmer .Although I can’t understand the comments completely because of different culture,I’ll tell all my friends that Intel focuses our society ,our people and does take some actions(or will) to help us ethically . Thanks again .

  5. Thanks for your comment Banny. It is exciting. It also is a very worthwhile project. I talked with my co-workers yesterday. We found local university researchers with lots of experience in this area. They are joining us. I’ll write more after I return from vacation.

  6. I’m curious if culturally relevant education will include concepts such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly?

    I think Jerry Yang and Yahoo learned the hard way that completing ignoring what is culturally relevant in the United States (liberty and all that goes with it) can land technology executives in the hot seat in front of Congress.

    And generate lawsuits.

  7. well actually I am very interesting what kind of “educational opportunities ” will be provided to the local farmer or their children .I am curious whether later the parents can tell their children like this : hi son , we have to abandon your grandpas hourse and move to here is because inel come in and this is a great company and producing great products , you need to study hard and try to become on of them after you graduated from our local college . you know I JUST doubt it right now . Education is not just a show or pc room .It should be a long term plan , executation and influence .

  8. My apologies for the delay in approving comments made in response to this post. I was on vacation and neglected to delegate this responsibility. It had nothing to do with the comment contents.
    Steve, I think you’ll be surprised to hear the details of what we’re planning. I’m heading to China on Monday and plan on posting blog entries while there. Stay tuned.

Comments are closed.