雷小山在其《廉价中国的终结》（The End of Cheap China）一书中首先陈述了一个世人所熟知的假设：中国人不断上升的收入有可能宣告美国人消费廉价商品时代的结束，同时瓦解全球供应链。他随后声称，中国人对经济前景不断上升的乐观情绪将拉升生活水平。中国工人未来会要求拿到更高的工资，而消费者则需要更高质量的产品。
China has long been known as the world's factory because of its seemingly endless supply of cheap workers, who churn out everything from shoes to toys to iPads. While low wages certainly helped the East Asian giant become the world's second largest economy, China's labor economics are changing rapidly.
In The End of Cheap China, Shaun Rein starts with the familiar premise that rising Chinese incomes could end cheap consumption for Americans and disrupt global supply chains. He then asserts that rising economic optimism in China will drive higher standards of living. Chinese workers will demand higher wages, while consumers will want higher quality goods.
作为中国市场研究集团（China Market Research Group）的董事总经理，雷小山非常了解中国消费者。这家总部位于上海的市场情报公司为苹果（Apple）、杜邦（DuPont）和肯德基（Kentucky Fried Chicken）这些公司客户提供与中国消费者口味相关的咨询服务。这本书的写作仅仅花费了3个月时间，书中许多内容均源自雷小山数年来在中国实地采访掌握的情况，他的采访对象既包括中国企业高管、亿万富翁，也包括农民工和妓女。雷小山以非常老到的笔触描述了这些中国人不平凡的经历，以及他们对于中国成为世界最大经济体的期许。
Chinese consumers have good reason to feel good about their prospects. Unlike the China of the 1990s, job opportunities are plentiful today, particularly for young urbanites. Rein paints an especially hopeful view of modern Chinese women, possibly the most optimistic segment of the Chinese population. Today women generate more than half of all household income in China, up from only 20% in the 1950s. As a result, Chinese women have emerged as an attractive market for Western consumer companies.
Rein knows Chinese consumers well. He is managing director of Shanghai-based China Market Research Group, which advises corporate clients such as Apple (AAPL), DuPont (DD) and Kentucky Fried Chicken on Chinese tastes. Much of the book, which was written in only three months, borrows from Rein's years in the field interviewing everyone from Chinese executives and billionaires to migrant workers and prostitutes. Rein masterfully captures where they've been and where they dream of going as China becomes the world's biggest economy.
The book is dotted with useful case studies for Westerners interested in doing business in China. However, Rein's optimistic argument relies more on personal anecdotes than economic analysis to tell the story of a much more hopeful Chinese society, especially compared to the dark days of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s.
Rein can seem overly optimistic at times, although he draws some attention to government corruption and the need to improve the country's health care and education systems. The truth is that China's economy is still largely driven by exports. Consumers save way more than they spend partly because China lacks an adequate social safety net. Chinese policymakers are trying to rebalance the economy, but there's a long road ahead.
Nevertheless, Cheap China is an excellent read for anyone interested in the economic prospects of an emerging superpower.