The Chinese Communist Party approved a historic charter revision at the end of its party congress that moved Xi Jinping to a godly status equal to Mao Zedong. The move will most certainly mean Xi will hold sway and influence over policy and culture in China for decades.
The focus for global business, as always with China and the Communist Party, is what does this mean for economic reform and allowing more say in the economic governance of the nation from those outside the party.
I say not much.
Adding more power and influence to Xi changes little in the short-term for global business. China still lacks a significant world-class brand. It is short on soft power derived from film, fashion, and music. Its universities don't allow the freedom for innovation and discussion found on the campuses of the West. Its sports teams and athletes have yet to break through and capture the imagination of kids playing in the streets. Its navy can't project power across the seven seas. One hundred sectors of the Chinese economy are still walled-off or limited to competition from foreign companies.
Not to throw cold water on the significance of the power and influence granted to Xi by his fellow party members, but the rest of the world simply hasn't given the same authority.
Frankly, Xi looks stronger due to the fact the rest of the world's global leaders look so weak and distracted. Spanning the globe, you see leaders focused on domestic political squabbles, coalition forming spats, and treaty break-up scraps.
Tomorrow will bring more bold headlines and Massachusetts Avenue, NW analysis for Xi as the party’s supreme decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, is revealed with the slight possibility that a designated heir to the power of Beijing may be tapped.
Regardless of what happen's tomorrow, even this robust collection of male comrades sitting on a standing committee won't be able to stop the millions of Chinese that will enjoy a Coca-Cola, drive a Volkswagen, ride on an Airbus, use a Gucci handbag, or stay at a Marriott in the Middle Kingdom daily.
Sometimes having a lot a power and influence just means that and nothing more.