Eastern breezes and musical codas were passing ships fit to be featured this past week. Let's take a closer look.

Like a bull in a China shop
You'd be surprised at the number of stateside conglomerates that had China on their mind this past week. From Ford (NYSE:F) announcing that auto sales in the region were up 46%, to Pepsi's (NYSE:PEP) plan to invest $850 million in the Chinese market over the next three years, to Stock Advisor pick eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) finally taking the competition seriously by doing away with final transaction fees on its EachNet subsidiary -- everywhere you turned, it seemed as if China was there.

Is it the country's 1.3 billion citizens or the economic boom that is capturing the capitalist heart? How about both? Then again, let's not assume that this newfound wealth will be free of bumps. China's foreign-currency reserves have runneth over, now standing at a whopping $819 billion. China's trade surplus tripled last year, leading many trade officials to wonder whether the currency of the world's most populous nation is too artificially low.

With money flowing mostly one way, the concerns can be plenty. China may be getting away with cheaper exports as a result of the cheap currency. However, if its currency is adjusted significantly higher, won't that have it dumping its overseas currency before it gets lost in the currency translation?

It's a tricky situation. For now, companies have no problem in growing their business with China because that's where the economic expansion is running at its most frenetic pace. It's too large a market to ignore. Then again, this currency situation may also fester to the point where it too may become too large to ignore.

While my CD retailer gently weeps
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on behalf of Musicland shouldn't really come as much of a surprise. I think the moment that consumer-electronics chains like Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and CircuitCity (NYSE:CC) began selling new CDs for less than 10 bucks, it spelled the end for the conventional record store. There may always be a place for niche independents devoted to vinyl collectors or CD swappers, but the economics were damaged forever once the superstores began using CDs as loss leaders (or at least as a cheap way to win traffic over to its stores).

Things have only gotten worse. With CD sales having fallen for all but one of the past five years, now you have companies like Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) making that trip to the store less necessary, thanks to the convenience of digital delivery through its iTunes music store.

The music stores really never had much of a chance. It's not as if they could start selling refrigerators and plasma television sets. It's not as if much can be gained by duplicating the digital delivery medium with listening stations, either. The one real shot was to evolve into something more, with social and leisure implications, but then Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) beat them to the punch with its Hear Music concept.

Yes, it was a specialty-retail niche that was doomed the moment it was being discounted. Look for video stores to be the next decaying dinosaur relic.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to look back, even if it means he falls on his face going forward. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.