More than a third of the planet's population lives in China and India, two countries whose economies are surging. The opportunities for FM continue to undergo seismic and spectacular change.
15 May 2017 | Martin Read and Jamie Harris
China is surely the most dynamic market on the planet today.
Economic growth has run at between 6.5 and 14 per cent per annum over the past 25 years, with China's compound GDP growth exceeding 100 per cent over ten years.
"China is a machine that works well," says Oliver Jones, who points to China's current five-year plan focused on a 'magic seven' strategically chosen industries important to the next fifty years of China's development, and ranging from energy-saving and environmental protection through to 'new energy', 'high-end manufacturing' and 'next generation IT'. Opportunities abound for FM, but the issue is in having sufficiently capable FM and project management professionals.
"What we're seeing in China in FM terms is comparable to what I was seeing in the Middle East in the late 1980s and early 1990s," says Jones, "where fabulous new buildings were created that within two years were grubby, with bad lighting and totally unacceptable by comparison to operational levels today."
The delivery of quality customer service varies significantly, with the availability of skilled service management a big issue.
"The big urban city business districts don't compare in concierge, reception and common area services to Canary Wharf, not by a million miles."
Consistency of applied standards is a big issue. "There are licenses for everything, including facilities management," says Jones. "But applying those standards to translate into an experience is the issue. It's that intangible dimension, attitude, that distinguishes an awesome experience from merely a very compliant experience."
This is the big opportunity for FM, says Jones. "The ability of Chinese maintenance engineers is directly comparable to the rest of the world and project management is world leading. But on the FM side there's a big difference in expectation and service ethos. It's about developing mindsets, and that is something that requires effort in China to make happen."
We're broadcasting live at 12 noon BST on World FM Day, Wednesday 17 May. You'll be able to hear audio interviews with some of the international correspondents mentioned above, as we capture a snapshot of FM across the globe in 2017, as well as live discussion on the issues and themes that have arisen. Tune in here.