China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World Paperback – Apr 11 2006
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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 the Hardcover edition.
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 the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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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