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08.27.15

China’s Disruptors

Edward Tse
In September 2014, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $25 billion in the world’s biggest-ever initial public offering. Since then, millions of investors and managers worldwide have pondered a fundamental question: What’s really going on with the new wave of China’s disruptors?Alibaba wasn’t an outlier—it’s one of a rising tide of thriving Chinese companies, mostly but not exclusively in the technology sector. Overnight, its founder, Jack Ma, appeared on the same magazine covers as American entrepreneurial icons like Mark Zuckerberg. Ma was quickly followed by the founders of other previously little-known companies, such as Baidu, Tencent, and Xiaomi.Over the past two decades, an unprecedented burst of entrepreneurialism has transformed China’s economy from a closed, impoverished, state-run system into a major power in global business. As products in China become more and more sophisticated, and as its companies embrace domestically developed technology, we will increasingly see Chinese goods setting global standards. Meanwhile, companies in the rest of the world wonder how they can access the fast-rising incomes of China’s 1.3 billion consumers.Now Edward Tse, a leading global strategy consultant, reveals how China got to this point, and what the country’s rise means for the United States and the rest of the world. Tse has spent more than twenty years working with senior Chinese executives, learning firsthand how China’s most powerful companies operate. He’s an expert on how private firms are thriving in what is still, officially, a communist country. His book draws on exclusive interviews and case studies to explore questions such as:What drives China’s entrepreneurs? Personal fame and fortune—or a quest for national pride and communal achievement?How do these companies grow so quickly? In 2005, Lenovo sold just one category of products (personal computers) in one market, China. Today, not only is it the world’s largest PC seller; it is also the world’s third-largest smartphone seller.How does Chinese culture shape the strategies and tactics of these business leaders? Can outsiders copy what the Chinese are doing?Can capitalists really thrive within a communist system? How does Tencent’s Pony Ma serve as a member of China’s parliament while running a company that dominates online games and messaging?What impact will China have on the rest of the world as its private companies enter new markets, acquire foreign businesses, and threaten established firms in countless industries?As Tse concludes: “I believe that as a consequence of the opening driven by China’s entrepreneurs, the push to invest in science, research, and development, and the new freedoms that people are enjoying across the country, China has embarked on a renaissance that could rival its greatest era in history—the Tang dynasty. These entrepreneurs are the front line in China’s intense hunger for success. They will have an even more remarkable impact on the global economy in the future, through the rest of this decade and beyond.” —Portfolio/Penguin{chop}

Conversation

08.18.15

How Should the U.S. Conduct the Xi Jinping State Visit?

Evan A. Feigenbaum, Arthur Waldron, Orville Schell, Robert Kapp, Peter Dutton, Perry Link
As tensions increase between China and the United States over the value of the yuan, human rights violations, alleged cyber attacks, and disputed maritime territories, among other issues, how should the Obama administration conduct the upcoming...

Excerpts

08.10.15

What Happened to the Settlers the Japanese Army Abandoned in China

Michael Meyer
Seventy years ago today, thousands of Japanese settlers—mostly women and children—found themselves trapped in an area then known as Manchuria, or Manchukuo, the name of the puppet state the Japanese military established in 1931. Abandoned by their...

Conversation

07.21.15

Is China’s Reform Era Over and, If So, What’s Next?

Carl Minzner, Jeremy L. Wallace, Taisu Zhang, Kevin Slaten, Fubing Su, Thomas Gold
Fordham Law School professor and regular ChinaFile contributor Carl Minzner says we've arrived at “China After the Reform Era,” a development that’s “not entirely bad” but also has a “dark side.” Minzner’s conclusions, excerpted below, come...

Two Way Street

07.09.15

The ‘Two Orders’ and the Future of China-U.S. Relations

Wang Jisi
The China-U.S. relationship may be the most complex relationship that has ever existed between two major powers. Ties between China and the United States are deepening, and at every level the interaction between the two countries is marked by both...

Features

07.01.15

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Protests Were More Than Just a Student Movement

Samson Yuen, Edmund Cheng
For almost three months in late 2014, what came to be known as the Umbrella Movement amplified Hong Kong’s bitter struggle for the democracy its people were promised when China assumed control of the territory from Britain in 1997. Originally a...

Books

06.25.15

City of Virtues

Chuck Wooldridge
Throughout Nanjing’s history, writers have claimed that its spectacular landscape of mountains and rivers imbued the city with “royal qi,” making it a place of great political significance. City of Virtues examines the ways a series of visionaries, drawing on past glories of the city, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they constructed buildings, performed rituals, and reworked the literary heritage of the city. More than an urban history of Nanjing from the late 18th century until 1911―encompassing the Opium War, the Taiping occupation of the city, the rebuilding of the city by Zeng Guofan, and attempts to establish it as the capital of the Republic of China―this study shows how utopian visions of the cosmos shaped Nanjing’s path through the turbulent 19th century.―University of Washington Press{chop}

Caixin Media

06.22.15

Why Fukuyama Still Beats a Drum for Democracy

American author and political scientist Francis Fukuyama has long extolled the virtues of democracy against the backdrop of the Soviet Union’s collapse and the end of the Cold War.Fukuyama’s best-selling book The End of History and the Last Man...

Conversation

06.17.15

Has China’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Experiment Failed?

George Chen, Alvin Y.H. Cheung, Sebastian Veg, Ho-fung Hung
As Hong Kong’s legislature began debate this week on the reform package that could shape the future of the local political system, the former British colony’s pro-democracy lawmakers swore again they will reject electoral reforms proposed by the...

Books

06.16.15

The Yellow River

David A. Pietz
Flowing through the heart of the North China Plain―home to 200 million people―the Yellow River sustains one of China’s core regions. Yet this vital water supply has become highly vulnerable in recent decades, with potentially serious repercussions for China’s economic, social, and political stability. The Yellow River is an investigative expedition to the source of China’s contemporary water crisis, mapping the confluence of forces that have shaped the predicament that the world’s most populous nation now faces in managing its water reserves.Chinese governments have long struggled to maintain ecological stability along the Yellow River, undertaking ambitious programs of canal and dike construction to mitigate the effects of recurrent droughts and floods. But particularly during the Maoist years the North China Plain was radically re-engineered to utilize every drop of water for irrigation and hydroelectric generation. As David A. Pietz shows, Maoist water management from 1949 to 1976 cast a long shadow over the reform period, beginning in 1978. Rapid urban growth, industrial expansion, and agricultural intensification over the past three decades of China’s economic boom have been realized on a water resource base that was acutely compromised, with effects that have been more difficult and costly to overcome with each passing decade. Chronicling this complex legacy, The Yellow River provides important insight into how water challenges will affect China’s course as a twenty-first-century global power.―Harvard University Press{chop}

Features

06.16.15

Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Mao Era?

Andrew G. Walder, Roderick MacFarquhar, Susan Shirk, Orville Schell
Following is an edited transcript of a live event hosted at Asia Society New York on May 21, 2015, “ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era?” The evening convened the scholars Roderick MacFarquhar and...

Conversation

06.11.15

How Will Beijing Treat Myanmar’s Symbol of Democracy?

Jurgen Haacke, David Mathieson
Burmese opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar, is visiting the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing for five days this week, through Sunday. Also courted by...

Conversation

06.06.15

Should the U.S. Change its China Policy and How?

Hugh White , Mary Kay Magistad, Zha Daojiong, Vanessa Hope, Chen Weihua, Graham Webster
The past several months have seen a growing chorus of calls for the U.S. to take stock of its policy toward China. Some prominent voices have called for greater efforts by the U.S. and China to forge “a substantive sense of common purpose,” while...

Media

06.05.15

Hong Kong’s Long-Standing Unity on Tiananmen Is Unraveling

June 4, a day that changed mainland China forever, has become a cross that the city of Hong Kong bears. Each year, thousands of the city’s residents gather on an often steamy night and share anxious memories of 1989, when tanks rolled by bloodied...

In North Korea: Wonder & Terror

Ian Buruma
The northeast of China used to be called Manchuria. Another name was “the cockpit of Asia.” Many wars were fought there. A French priest who traveled through the region in the 1920s wrote: “Although it is uncertain where God created paradise, we can...

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