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China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World [Paperback]

Ted Fishman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 11 2006
China today is visible everywhere -- in the news, in the economic pressures battering the globe, in our workplaces, and in every trip to the store. Provocative, timely, and essential -- and updated with new statistics and information -- this dramatic account of China's growing dominance as an industrial superpower by journalist Ted C. Fishman explains how the profound shift in the world economic order has occurred -- and why it already affects us all.

How has an enormous country once hobbled by poverty and Communist ideology come to be the supercharged center of global capitalism? What does it mean that China now grows three times faster than the United States? Why do nearly all of the world's biggest companies have large operations in China? What does the corporate march into China mean for workers left behind in America, Europe, and the rest of the world?

Meanwhile, what makes China's emerging corporations so dangerously competitive? What will happen when China manufactures nearly everything -- computers, cars, jumbo jets, and pharmaceuticals -- that the United States and Europe can, at perhaps half the cost? How do these developments reach around the world and straight into all of our lives?

These are ground-shaking questions, and China, Inc. provides answers.

Veteran journalist Ted C. Fishman shows how China will force all of us to make big changes in how we think about ourselves as consumers, workers, citizens, and even as parents. The result is a richly engaging work of penetrating, up-to-the-minute reportage and brilliant analysis that will forever change how readers think about America's future.

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From Publishers Weekly

A lively, fact-packed account of China's spectacular, 30-year transformation from economic shambles following Mao's Cultural Revolution to burgeoning market superpower, this book offers a torrent of statistics, case studies and anecdotes to tell a by now familiar but still worrisome story succinctly. Paid an average of 25 cents an hour, China's workers are not the world's cheapest, but no nation can match this "docile and capable industrial workforce, groomed by generations of government-enforced discipline," as veteran business reporter (and Chicago Mercantile trading firm founder) Fishman characterizes it. Since Mexican wages were (at the time) four times those of China, NAFTA's impact has been dwarfed by China's explosive growth (about 9.5% a year), and corporations and entrepreneurs operating in China have few worries about minimum wages, pensions, benefits, unions, antipollution laws or worker safety regulations. For the U.S., Fishman predicts more of what we're already seeing: deficits, declining wages and the squeezing of the middle class. His solutions (revitalize education, close the trade gap) are not original, but some of his statistics carry a jolt: since 1998, prices in the U.S. have risen 16%, but they've fallen in nearly every category where China is the top exporter; a pair of Levis bought at Wal-Mart costs less today, adjusted for inflation, than it did 20 years ago—though the company no longer makes clothes in China. First serial to the New York Times Magazine; author tour.(Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

China has become the world's largest maker of consumer electronics, manufacturing more TVs, DVD players, and cell phones than any other country. It also is the leader in making shoes, clothes, and toys. The country is buying oil fields around the world and signing oil and gas-supply deals with Saudi and Russian companies. It is buying enormous amounts of steel and scrap metal to fashion into products sold globally. Fishman points out that more than 70 percent of the merchandise sold in Wal-Mart stores is made in China, and that it is not only China's big companies and its government's grand designs that are changing the world but also the millions of modest enterprises that reach deep into China to make what the world wants. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, Fishman has scrupulously examined the impact of China's phenomenal growth in this important book. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.0 out of 5 stars China in the 21st century July 16 2006
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This well-researched reveals China as an awakening giant, experiencing roaring growth and impressive technological advances. Not only does the country have the unrivalled productive power derived from its vast low-cost labour force but its one billion plus consumers have made it a lucrative market.

One of the reasons for its breathtaking economic growth is that rural people have been moving to the cities in large numbers. Three of the most interesting chapters are titled The Revolution Against The Communist Revolution, Pirate Nation (which examines the problem of counterfeits and brand theft taking place in China), and chapter 11: The Chinese Century.

The author examines the implications of this rising colossus for the world, and for the West in particular. What if China manages to produce everything that the West does at half the cost? And at the same time as its industrial and knowledge economy is booming, the country is aggressively pursuing reliable sources of raw materials and acquiring foreign companies.

Its geopolitical influence is increasing, as is evident in its potentially dangerous friendship with Iran (as part of an Asian Economic Co-operation Group that includes Russia), and its growing influence in Africa (especially Sudan) and even in South America (Venezuela).

Time will tell if the Chinese economy is inherently sound and how far the country will take its alliances with rogue states like Iran. China's involvement in the Middle East might prove its undoing. The book provides all the latest statistics and plenty of intelligent analyses. It concludes with Notes, a Bibliography and Index.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Setting the China scene, BUT... Nov. 5 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is similar to China Shakes the World, although the latter is better written - which is also why China Shakes the World has won the 2006 FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

So, if you are a general reader and want to understand how China is and will be impacting the rest of the world, read China Inc, which, I would say, contains a bigger amount of information than China Shakes the World (which is more entertaining because it does the job largely through stories).

If you are a business person and want to understand how to succeed in China, however, I would recommend Dr Wei Wang's The China Executive: Marrying Western and Chinese Strengths to Generate Profitability from Your Investment in China. I have found that The China Executive is simply the best book in this field and, with it, I am not puzzled by China any more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars one of better books, but one sided somewhat Nov. 13 2006
Format:Paperback
Highly readable book in some ways. It gives good observations on many changes inside China. Good read, but it is far from deep or insightful, which is true for many books on China that are written by long distance observers.

There are great struggles going on inside China: the abusive bureaucratic power still aims to contain new development. The best books on the deeper issues are written by the provocative Chinese journalist George Zhibin Gu: 1. China and the new world order; and 2. China's global reach. Both books offer insider's analysis on what is really inside Chinese business and political world and their implications to the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
For a book about economic development, China Inc. is certainly an entertaining read. Fishman does a masterful job, using statistics, personalities and vivid anecdotes, to describe the foundation of China's rise and its spectacular growth. It's hard not to be awed--and perhaps a tad frightened depending on your perspective--by China's rapid modernization. Written for an American audience, the book also successfully describes the integration of the Chinese and American economies for a general audience.

My main criticism of the book, which I read while researching my own book, The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China, is that it glosses over some of China's most pressing challenges: the environment, corruption, an aging population, selective abortion, climate change, repressive censorship, ethnic unrest, an irreverent younger generation and a lack of political reform in the upper echelons of the Communist Party. When you read books like China Inc., the idea of the "Chinese Century" seems inevitable. But China is also a country beset by mind-boggling challenges. In the short term, the economic statistics do "shock and awe," but the long-term prognostication looks dimmer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good story May 22 2006
Format:Paperback
Ted is a great story teller. Based on first-hand experience, he tells very moving stories about the Chinese life and its vast changes. Interesting read, indeed, but this book has one major weakness: its knowledge of China's past and the bureaucratic problems is rather limited. In fact, Chinese people are still struggling hard against the abusive bureaucratic power daily. For this, another brilliant book is more penetrating: China's Global Reach: Markets, Multinationals, and Globalization by George Zhibin Gu.
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