Today, all eyes are on China in its emergence as the world's next potential superpower. With a population of 1.3 billion and a workforce that the U.S. State Department estimates at over 710 million, China's economy is burgeoning. The country's exports alone total over $760 billion, and range from electronics and apparel to furniture and medical equipment. With the country's GDP growing at around ten percent per year, it's no wonder that companies ranging from Google to Wal-Mart are trying to gain a foothold. After all, China is a country of consumers as well as of producers, and businesses around the world see China as a ripe market for goods and services.
Those looking to the bright future of China are quickly discovering that a key element of breaking into that market will be a thorough understanding of China law. In fact, many students are choosing to study at a China law school, such as the Tsinghua Law School at Tsinghua University in Bejing. The Tsinghua LLM degree, analogous to a degree in jurisprudence, has been conferred upon students from countries around the world, including the U.S., Spain, Italy, Australia, Japan, and Canada. A China LLM communicates to players in the global economy that the person holding the degree is well versed in China law and can navigate the nuances of the legal system in that country.
Such knowledge is critical, particularly because the law in China is evolving. The country has a long and sometimes contradictory legal history, dating back to the seventh century, when laws were first codified. From the mid nineteenth century through the mid twentieth century, Chinese law developed to more closely resemble Western law. Today, there are really three legal codes, one for Mainland China, one for Macao, and one for Hong Kong. The laws for Mainland China rely heavily on German civil law, whereas Macao's system has it roots in Portuguese law and Hong Kong in British common law.
According to the U.S. State Department, the next five years are key in determining China's place on the world economic stage. A State Department report says, "To investors and firms, especially following China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, China represents a vast market that has yet to be fully tapped and a low-cost base for export-oriented production. Educationally, China is forging ahead as partnerships and exchanges with foreign universities have helped create new research opportunities for its students." It goes on to say that half of China's exports are produced by enterprises that have foreign investors, and that the country has the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world.
This all bodes well for those who choose to study China law. Competing in such a vibrant, growing marketplace requires knowledge of both the Chinese legal system and the ways in which it changes in response to its changing economic landscape.
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Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
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