China Business

China: Whatever Catches The Mice And What To Read To Catch More

China business law

China Hearsay has a funny post up in which it quietly rants (that is meant to be oxymoronic) about recent press coverage on China. Titled, News Flash: Capitalism Spotted in China, [link no longer exists] the post mercilessly (yet entirely rightly) pokes fun at a recent Boston Globe Op/Ed piece “revealing” the existence of capitalism in China:

I understand that this column is an Op/Ed, not a news article, but telling us that there is capitalism in China? Are you serious? Here’s how it starts:

THE VIEW across the river at the skyscrapers of Pudong, where only muddy fields had existed 20 years ago, or the sight of jolly crowds of Chinese tourists carousing in the impossibly quaint streets of Lijiang in the hills of Yunnan, called to mind the once-startlingly revolutionary slogan that changed China: “It doesn’t matter the color of the cat as long as it catches mice.”

China Hearsay is then further driven up the wall (again rightfully) by the article’s referring to the Olympics as China’s “coming out party:”

Wait, it gets better:

China’s rocket to the moon seemed timed to crown last month’s party congress, and its plans for the Olympic games seem like the preparations of a debutante to celebrate her coming-out party.

If I read the words “coming-out party” one more time within the context of the Olympics, I might hurl. Seriously.

The Boston Globe article also “breaks the story” that China is buying commodities from Africa.

Just the other day, a childhood friend of mine, who manages a fairly large Thai company out of Bangkok, asked me what he should be reading to learn more about China, where his company has expansion plans. Here was my (admittedly US slanted) response to his request that I make a list of what a foreign company seeking to do business in China should be reading:

1. China Law Blog. It’s a lot more than just legal. Its focus is on helping foreign companies succeed in doing business in China and also with China.

2. China Economic Review is a good magazine and their online version has nearly as much as their hard copy.

3. China International Business [link no longer exists] is a good magazine and quickly getting much better. It is bringing in really good columnists who have something to say and its circulation is rising. It just started up online and it is getting pretty good there also.

4. As for books, China Shakes the World is excellent. It should be the first book you read. From there, consider China CEO. This is a collection of interviews with people who really know China. It is very good on the nuts and bolts. Many “China experts” love to hate One Billion Customers, but I liked it. Everyone complains that it makes it seem as though the ten or so case studies apply to the country as a whole, when in reality, they only really apply to huge companies a few years ago, but so what. It’s well written, interesting, and fun, and you will actually learn a lot about overall business in China from it. On top of that, everybody will assume you have read it in any event. Lastly, I recommend Dragons at Your Door. It’s not all that long, but it will convince you (along with all the other books) that the media pretty much has China wrong. Oh, and speaking of the media, the only US media you can really trust are the following:

Readers, did I miss any?

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