Davos Too Provincial

I found there’s a huge obstacle for many who could attend Davos. The mannerisms at Davos are so refined that many do feel uncomfortable attending, fearing their lack of European etiquette will make them look boorish. Having battled up the Chinese Communist Party educating oneself in the finer points of being a well behaved Chinese statesperson, a prospective Chinese Davos “man” may simply decide to stay at home rather than face so many unknown and potentially embarassing situations. And the backlash on Weibo. This is a big deal, it sets the bar much higher for non-Westerners.

A 2nd WEF equal to Davos somewhere in Asia may become necessary. Earlier I found out that of all Davos visitors 2/3ds were from Europe and the US. This with Europe and the US having only half the population of China and having roughly a 7th of the global population. Davos is increasingly irrelevant. The major global players still largely are Atlantic but power obviously is shifting rapidly. But Davos won’t attract the new players for various reasons. And I believe the above one features heavily.

Having a culturally Chinese WEF – maybe in Singapore, would make many in Asia much more comfortable. Gone is the need to correctly sample fine wines or deal with all the other impossible to meet unwritten demands.

I am in full agreement that Davos is one of the greatest events of the year exactly because of the synergies and the potential for deal making in an informal setting. But it ought to stop the pretense the global elite embraces the same culture. Reasonable and refined people float on top the world over.

 

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6e78755a-693d-11e2-b254-00144feab49a.html