Paul Denlinger , Have lived in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; fluent in Mandarin (written, spoken)
* China has a population of 1.4 billion people
* The nation is led by the Chinese Communist Party, which has 90M members, whose membership are drawn from the elite in Chinese society as well as ordinary people.
* When there is a crisis, Party Central defines the crisis, and which people with what skills are needed, and immediately mobilizes them to go to the frontline to confront the crisis. Because the Party has total control over the society, it can get talent from all over, and they are ordered to drop whatever they are doing in order to fight the crisis. When there is a major crisis, as there is now with the Wuhan coronavirus crisis, the first people to be mobilized and sent to the frontlines are ALWAYS Chinese Communist Party members.
Paul Denlinger 曾在中国大陆、台湾和香港生活过，普通话(书面、口语)流利
* The Party has eminent domain over the land of China; this means that they can take over any land in an emergency.
* For dealing with businesses and contractors, the party has final say in all business deals.
When there is a major crisis, the party members who are assigned are supposed to take control of the situation, and call in further resources according to the needs of the situation.
Because the party has this kind of control, and Chinese trust that it is acting in the interests of all Chinese, instead of a small group of people, China acts like a beehive or ant colony when it is attacked.
The party earned this trust by lifting 600M Chinese out of poverty in 40+ years.
Everyone acts together in their role to fight off the attack and attacker before it returns to normal life.
Of course, this is not how the western media depicts the Chinese Communist Party, but this is how most Chinese feel about it.
Lee Deek , knows Chinese
I am a Chinese, I think I can tell you my experience.
First, a large number of people, in the construction of a project, a large number of people provide a guarantee to shorten the construction time.
Second, people have to make money to maintain and improve their living standards. Usually, the Chinese people attach great importance to their families. In general, men are the income security of a family. In order to maintain their living standards, everyone is desperately making money to support their family. In the rural areas of China, both husbands and wives have to go to the city to work in order to feed their children to school. So, everyone will work hard.
Third, people have strong patriotic complex. They pay much attention to the command issued by the state, so people often work hard when they are building. This is a political task.
Lee Deek ，懂中文
Fourth, China's technology is also quite developed now. The development of science and technology is not necessarily shared with the rest of the world. Therefore, we are constantly upgrading equipment, and we will continue to accelerate the pace of construction.
Fifth, despite all this, there are still a lot of things that are actually bean curd residue projects. You just saw the results and didn't see the construction process, so they all praised the strong and fast construction capability of China.
Seth Oteng , Lived in China for 6 years
They have a couple of advantages to start with; they don't have to negotiate for land because the State owns it all. They don't have to have those pesky public reviews or do environmental impact statements. They just decide where they want to put a train, a skyscrapers, a supermarket or a road and do it.
But then the magic really starts. Because they have developed all of this amazing machinery to do it so quickly and efficiently. Look at the video below. The high speed rail network is elevated for much of its route to eliminate the need for level crossings.
In North America, precast bridge sections would be probably delivered by truck and lifted into place by cranes. In China, they developed this incredible truck that drives along the railbed, carrying a section of precast concrete railbed.
With the precast acting as a counterweight, It telescopes out and drops legs onto the next pier, then slides the railbed out and drops it into place. lift up, roll back and then drive back to pick up the next section. Rinse and repeat. It's fantastic.
Then there are the roads. In North America, building a new bridge takes months, closing or restricting the highway under it the whole time. In Beijing, it was projected that the replacement of the Sanyuan Bridge would take two months; this would have been a serious problem for roads that are already crowded beyond North American comprehension. Here, they slid this one into place in 43 hours.
It isn't all sweetness and light of course, perhaps a little more environmental oversight would be nice. But there is a lot to learn about rethinking construction processes, both for high rise buildings and for public infrastructure.
People comment about how lax safety standards are, and how crummy the buildings are.
The walls are super-insulated, the windows quadruple glazed and the air quality is extremely good. Really, if we want to build better infrastructure and more efficient green buildings, we could learn a lot by watching what is going on in China.
Min Yan , Knows China and experienced a lot of the world
China has a long tradition of organising people and managing society. The ability originated from the long agriculture history.
Many civilisations have the big flood legend. The Chinese version of the legend had no god, only mass of people working hard to finally subdue the flood under the leadership of Yu the Great. Another great Chinese story (real history, not legend) is Dujiangyan, the irrigation system for the Sichuan Basin developed more than 2200 years ago, and is still functioning today. Of course one should also remember the grand projects such as the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.
Such grand projects requires sophisticated organisation. Even 2500 years ago, China already started abandoning the aristocracy and developing the civil servant system. The system was refined many times, and lead to the establishment of the imperial examination system 1500 years ago. This meritocracy system enables China to be governed by the most capable people. The modern Chinese Communist Party should not be regarded as a party in the partisan sense, but is actually the organisation for selecting the most capable people to run the country, or play leadership role among the general public. This makes modern Chinese government the most able government in organising the mobilising people and resources to solve any problem.
Min Yan 了解中国，游历过世界很多地方
这样的大项目需要复杂的组织。 早在2500年前，中国就已经开始放弃贵族制，发展公务员制度。 这一制度经过多次改良，最终在1500年前建立了科举制度。 这种任人唯贤的制度，使中国能够由最有能力的人来管理。现代中国GCD不应该被视为党派意义上的政党，而实际上是选拔最有能力的人来治理国家，或者是在公众中发挥领导作用的组织。 这使得现代中国ZF成为最有能力组织人员和资源，来解决任何问题的政府。
Construct hospital for 1000 2019-nCoV patients in 10 days
China is also the biggest when you combine the population, the area, and the diversity (both culture and geographical). This creates the biggest demand for industry and service. The size makes the industry much more sophisticated and efficient than other countries. It also makes Chinese constructors the most experienced in the world.
Beipan River Bridge (one of several)
Marcus Depaul , Senior R&D Project Manager
It really depends on what “things” you have in mind, yet where the difference is really big is infrastrucure, I will thus focus my attention on it first.
There are several reasons why it is much faster to build infrastructure in China, yet the main ones are political. Let us compare how China goes about building a new railway with, let´s say how Germany would do it.
* Feasibility study. China: we need to build this railway to develop that part of the country. Study done, or better, there is no real study, just a political decision to do so, end of story.Germany: first commissions, experts panels and consoultancy groups are established. To do so you need first budgetary approval for the study. If everything goes well after a couple of years you have a feasibility study which determines if the railway would really be profitable. Railways such as the one connecting to Xinjiang in China, which is loosing about 800 billion Yuan, would never have been built in Europe.
Marcus Depaul 、高级研发项目经理
* Environmental study. China: Environ.. what? Maybe, IF it does not conflict with the planned route there might be minor changes to save a scenery.Germany: several potential routes are taken into consideration. The environmental impact of each of them is taken into account. This might take a few years and be alone a reason to cancel the whole project.
* Expropiation rights. China: no issue what so ever. There is no private land property, if the government needs the land for the “greater good” it will revoke the lease. There are however compensations, or re-allocations at a fixed rate.Germany: each property over which the rail has to be constructed has to undergoe its own expropriation process. This might include law suits, collective actions, compensation at market value etc.. Some projects have failed in the past at this stage or have been delayed decated because of legal proceedings bound to it.
* Political backlash.China: citizens of a region don´t like the project. That´s all right, as long as they keep it for themselves. There is little to no chance that this will influence the project. Germany: elections are on their way, people protest. What better way to boost consensus than to leverage on popular discontent for a project? The list of necessary infrastructure which has not been built in Europe for this reason is ver, very long. Especially if incineration or power plants are considered.
* ProcurementChina: generally a state company is appointed to deliver. Europe: a EU-wide procurement race must be published. Companies filing proposals must be schreened, licences checked etc.. etc… All this takes months, years if legal disputes ensue.
* The project engineering.China: depending on the complexity, one or more engineering companies will be appointed for the design. Whatever cannot be engineered domestically will be purchased (making sure there is knowledge transfer in the process). Europe: back to procurement also for the engineering. Not to mention that also aestetics and visual environment integration will have to be approved.
* Clearing the track.China: straight forward, get the buldozzers, run them 24/7 and get it done. Europe: the clearing itself mist undergo tis own environmental study. Moreover when and how much noise can be made is also regulated. WOrk goes on for about 40h a week instead of the 100–150 of the Chinese counterpart.
* Construction.China: straight forward, just follow the plan.Germany: the reasons to suspend works are just limited by your immagination. Strikes, a new archeological site is found, a worker is injured, a new species of caterpillar is found in the vicinity, a legal proceeding for noise etc…
* InnaugurationChina: 2 years have passed, no one thinks of the budget spent and commuters can take their train.Germany: 20 years have past the railroad is finished. Yet the original plans do not sathisfy the new standards fo a complete restrcturation (which might take 5 years) is necessary. Everyone is fighting about why it went over budget. In the mean time several companies made losses because they did not get paid due to legal diatribes.
* Aftermath:China: let´s think about the next infrastructure. Germany: let´s think about how we can make the whole thing more bureaocratic and complex the next time.
The Chinese way is, in many respects, less ethical, less environmentally friendly and more despotic. On the other hand it get things done, often efficiently. The irony is that even if there is likely more corruption in China, the cost of this corruption are dwarfed by the bureocratic costs we face in Europe.
Similar issues are also encountered by companies when developing new products. In my own experience in Europe it often takes more time (and money) to certify and approve a new product than the whole R&D, engineering and industrialization process. Let that sink in.
I am not stating that we should copy China by disregarding personal rights and the environment for economic profit (although, lets face it, to a lesser degree we are still doing it). However the West has woven itself into a bureocratic net which prevents it from moving forward and if nothing is done it will be left behind.
Ting Zhang , Master Education&Chinese, Western Sydney University (2019)
I think there are two main reasons, material resources and human resources.
First, in China, it is convenient to build and produce things, from getting materials to skills. Many factories are gather around in one industrial area to make products. They would share orders to make it in time, or buy materials or parts of the products to save the costs.
For example, my friend has a juicer factory. His factory doesn’t really make cables of the juicers and he just buys the cables from another factory which is 100 meters away. In this way, he saves lots of costs in making cables. His factory saves the time and skills to make juicers. If next time others want to buy juicers parts, he will be the supplier.
Second, the concept of living to work. Due to the big population of the country, there is never short in labours. The majority of the factory workers working without weekends, and even the factory bosses are the same. They have day and night shifts in working to keep the machines working 24/7. If you don’t want to work, others will replace you and you may not find another job easily.
In people’s mind, working is not just for a better life but part of life. Most of people live to work. This is one of the reasons that many people still keep working even after they get enough money to live a life. When is “enough”? Never. The loop is when young, people work for themselves and their parents, when become parents, work for children and even grand children…….Chinese have the habit of saving money. Work for money and work for saving.
You can also check out my blog article for more detailed information How manufacturing in China is faster than in other countries.
Kevin Anderson , lives in Tasmania, Australia
This video will give you some idea of how China, Chinese engineers, and Chinese labourers build sections of the “fast train network”.
Truly jaw dropping.
Engineers and surveyors can lay out the direction of the fast train track because land in China is easily resumed (“taken back”) because the traditional farmers and villagers do not own the land.
There is significant pushback from traditional landowners in Thailand and Indonesian against “One Belt One Road” fast train proposals, because in those two countries, their farmers own the land and cannot be easily dispossessed.
Kevin Anderson 住在澳大利亚塔斯马尼亚
Statistics on industrial accidents in China are porous: often times if there is an industrial accident in China it is the labourer’s or worker’s fault.
In Australia, each industrial death at a workplace or associated with work, results in a “coronial inquiry” in which an independent magistrate (or similar) seeks to find out the reasons for the fatality. Invariably, there are recommendations made (worker training, workplace culture, deficiencies in design or equipment, management failings etc.). These are almost always “front page news”.
Blair Korchinski , Truck Driver (2001-present)
Look at the Tesla Mega-Factory there.
We didn’t see a lot of the building process though, the parts controlled by government. Most places you need permits and lawyers and inspections and safety guys and bankers and there’s 2 or 3 levels of government to deal with and so on. Red tape is the price we pay for democracy and the advancements it brings.
Then there’s the capitalism part. You put out bids, choose the one you like. They have to arrange for the labour and materials.There’s contractors and sub-contractors and suppliers and truck drivers. That all takes time.
In China the government can say, “Here’s where you’re building it. We start Monday. They supply the workers, the materials, the permits, the inspections and everything else. All you have to do is supply the design and write the cheque. It streamlines the whole process.
Roy Lee , studied at Southeast University
Because to a certain extent, Chinese are just much more diligent and hardworking than other nationalities. As I can judge, this is the largest reason behind the phenomenon.
The shaping factors can be cultural and political.
As for Chinese culture, people have been influenced by Confucius from "Chunqiu" dynasty. Confucius calls for people to be motivated to study and work hard to realize theirs dreams of individuals, families and even the whole country.
For the institution and policies in China, labour union is not a powerful institute which shares little voice in governance. Therefore, the labour union which is often the representative of social labour owns weak bargaining power of the policy configuration.
Through ages, Chinese are just accustomed to the situation in respect of labour right and welfare. The thing is that Chinese are much more hardworking for their careers. Hence, there is no wonder that Chinese build things so much faster than other countries.
Roy Lee ，就读于东南大学
Ralph Zhang , Master Mathematics & Finance, University of Science and Technology of China (2004)
1 very professional constructors and project managers . Last 20 years, China keeps developing its infrastructure, So a generation of professional constructors and project managers are trained.
2 sacrifice of personal health to achieve the goal. This is a situation of saving people, all the constructors know this. They are building the hospital for the people of their cities, their towns, their neighbors or even their relatives. One minute earlier, maybe one more person get saved in the future.
In a video, a journalist told us that some of the project managers did not sleep for 36 hrs. You guys maybe already heard the story that one doctor died because of non-stop working. Why people don’t rest? Because they know, if they have rest, more people will die.
Chinese speed is not something fabulous, not something glorious, it’s cruel and it’s Chinese’s sacrifice.
Ralph Zhang ，中国科学技术大学数学与金融硕士(2004)
It’s essentially a communist country, so:
No employment unions
No limits to working hours
less emphasis on the projects affect on the climate
less emphasis on health and safety
generally speaking, the construction is designed to be built for speed and not for longevity
you get the idea.. China has a quick and effective way of constructing, but its methods wouldn’t be allowed in many western countries
Fred Xu , Teacher at University of Science and Technology of China
Wow……this is really a big big big question that is hardly to be answered in a few words. I would try my best with my awkward English…
* Decision Making
If you want to building something fast, you need to make your decisions fast. In China, there is an 2000-year authoritarian culture that everybody obey the leaders' order, so that the fast decision-making is possible. However, who gives the order need to be responsible for everything……fortunately, we have CCP takes all the responsibilities, unlimitedly.
Chinese community is always organized around someone who is authoritative, like the emperor in ancient China, the oldest one in a family, and the one has the highest position in a company. This is quite different from a so-called “democratic” organization, but more like a troop which has the highest efficiency
Fred Xu ，中国科学技术大学教师
In China, the most important resource - land - is state owned. And the most strategical resources are owned or controlled by state companies. All the resources can be put in a crisis without bargain.
4. Techniques and Experiences
If someone were building something everyday in the past 40 years and a lot of the projects were incredibly difficult as if they were miracles in human construction history, they would probably build everything faster than others.
5. Working Culture
Chinese workers are not the strongest ones, but they are the most endurable and disciplined ones in the world. They may work 7*24 for a few days, sleeping and eating on the construction site without seeing their families. They can live with just a bowl of rice and several drops of soy sauce. This culture is a thousand-year old tradition and make the foreigners working in China feel throat-cutting.
6. Human Resources
China has the largest educated and trained working force in the world. No one would doubt that, right?
A nation with the above 6 will build something faster than others, not only China.
Brian Knox , former Teacher of Social Studies in UK, Germany, SE Asia
They are using their large population to maximum effect. Just like the proverb, many hands make light work, they engage large numbers of experts on a project, so that is done in the minimum time possible.
They also have the Communist government, so that all permissions and sign-offs can be completed very quickly too. It is the ultimate dream for logistical speed.
Brian Knox ，曾任英国、德国、东南亚社会研究教师
There’s only one other country that can rival China’s building speed and that would be Japan.
Would have taken us months to get it done.
William Hedley, Works in International Infrastructure
Poor quality build, lack of concern for safety, lack of concern for the environment, lack of concern for the rights of their own people (I watched peoples homes in Shanghai being bulldozed in front of a new advancing elevated road), lack of governmental accountability.
I work in Africa a lot and the continent is full of low quality Chinese building which is often not fit for purpose but is delivered quickly; often in trade off for natural resources.
William Hedley, 国际基础设施工程
William P. Kittredge, Professor of Public Policy at Chiang Mai University (2017-present)
There are no impediments to construction. In the EU and North America, historical and environmental impact statements, and citizen input clog up the process.
Heck the pesky citizens might actually get elected representatives to hold things up while they piss.
The Chinese government brooks no such interference or delay, making the entire process more efficient.
William P. Kittredge 泰国清迈大学公共政策教授(2017年 - 至今)
Nettuno Rossi, 5th year in China
I cannot talk of many other nation, but I can talk about mine.
China is faster for things like:
-more people. In China there about 2–3times the people there are here doing the same thing in every given moment
-more time. Chinese construction companies work often even during night, here they don’t work on Sunday, they work half day on Saturday, they don’t work if it rains.. and so on
There is the renovation of a piece of highway in my hometown, it takes more then one month for about 1–2km.. in China it would take probably less than a week (probably half.. or less).
Now probably there are other consideration like security/project/bureaucratic procedures and so on.. but what is visible is the working time and working force that is vastly different.
Bonny Reinhard Immanuel, studied at Universitas Ma Chung (2015)
It’s massive and highly supported by advanced technology. The company where I work have more than 200 construction technology products than even I will have a hard time to remember all the names alone! The products are varied and designed to support the massive scale of the projects that being conducted in the country as a daily basis. Basically whatever you want to do, they have it in China.
China construction technology has reached the point of City Information Modelling (CIM), which is a step ahead from BIM (Building Information Modelling) which is still being slowly implemented in other countries. Last June, I brought my Indonesian clients to visit the current pilot project of CIM in Qingdao, and the level of planning and details is like never before - the project management includes monitoring of every operation which enables the progress of construction to went seamlessly. Unlike the existing BIM project that monitoring 1 project and 1 tower at a time, this one is a whole 3 blocks of high rise buildings with integrated underground systems.
Its a common knowledge that construction industry is one of the least technologically-advanced sector, seconded only by agriculture. China, with the huge size of its construction projects enable them to continuously developing their technology, both in terms of financial support generated and number of trials allowed.
Lets say that you’re developing a construction technology in Germany and testing it there, the number of projects to be used for your benchmark to perfecting your products will be diminutive compared with what the Chinese can do.
When we open our new offerings to the UK market and we saw what UK have for British construction industry, we left uninterested because we already have those in China, and nothing interesting left. We keep getting better by each hour passed, because we know that Chinese construction technology needs the best support to maintain the scale of construction conducted, and to ensure that every project is a success. As a result, its common for Chinese contractor to reach up to 24% profit per project due to the implementation of technology, while in South East Asia the profit can hardly reach 10%!
China knows that construction technology is the nerve to ensure their construction progress goes smoothly and they support it wholeheartedly