China likes circles, it invented yin and yang after all. So I've got a new theory on China and circles.
While I was in Xiamen I visited these UFO type buildings (Tulou's) which litter a particular valley in the area. They started to appear in the 12th century, and still continue to be build up until this day, as a solution in self protected communities when the area became increasingly lawless. Internally they were pretty much self contained affairs with their own private and shared spaces and dedicated wells for water etc. So the circle in this case provides an internal secure world from the outside world where the vast majority of the variables for living can be closely contained (much like the country as a whole at present).
I also spent a fair bit of time at Chinese dinner tables. Circular tables which support a spinning centre wheel where dishes are placed and then shared with each dinner by communally spinning the content of your meal. Fundamentally different to western dinning where we order our own plate of food and eat only that, and sit a mainly rectanguar or square tables.
These circles lead themselves to a much more social and communal dinning experience. Everyone at the table is within eye contact and a conversational distance. It also leads to far more scruttiny being placed on everything within the circle, if a single dish isn't desireable for example it will quickly be recognised, discussed and outed. This scruttiny also lends itself to the inhabitants of the table leading to high social status dynamics. The consumption of fine wines for example have been in 25% growth in China recently, but reportedly in many cases purely for social status reasons with drinkers mixing £1k bottles or putting ice cubes in the most exclusive of fine wines. This trend recently came up against the growing Chinese challenge of fakery, bootleged, bogus and consumed bottles being refilled with far cheaper wine and resold. And the effects of bogus wines has directly caused a loss in confidence in investors, leading to a drop in trading prices by up to 45%. This article makes a fascinating case study into an example of the current challenges of the internal Chinese consumption market.
So there's are both opportunities and challenges in becoming part of an internal circle, and the scruttiny that will be placed on you once you're within it. Again much like the Chinese market and country as a whole.That's my circle theory.