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China Dawn: The Story of a Technology and Business Revolution Hardcover – March 19, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"In China, I feel the explosive combination of forces aligning to create the kind of change that alters the course of history," writes David Sheff in the introduction to China Dawn, his book on the entrepreneurs who are trying to spark a social transformation and make a mint as they bring the latest information technology to the planet's most populous country. The idealistic heroes of this story are Bo Feng and Edward Tian, both friends of the author. Feng is a Marin County busboy who becomes one of China's top venture capitalists; Tian is the cofounder of AsiaInfo, the first private Chinese firm to go public in the West. Like so many others, Feng and Tian were deeply affected by the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, and they believe the Internet can set their country on an irreversible course toward freedom. At bottom, though, China Dawn is an engaging business book that chronicles the "unlikely group of revolutionaries" who hope to become the Bill Gates and Andy Groves of their country. It is difficult to know whether they will succeed, but hard not to wish them luck. --John Miller

From Library Journal

With China poised to enter the World Trade Organization, the importance of its billion-plus potential customers to the global economy cannot be overestimated. Journalist Sheff (Game Over) describes how the country's information technology leaders are battling outdated business models, a tumultuous market, and a government that pushes expansion while trying to censor Internet usage. Despite these sometimes overwhelming odds, estimates predict an astounding 30 to 60 million Chinese Internet users by 2005. Sheff uses biographies and case studies to introduce the visionaries and venture capitalists leading Asia into the 21st century. Readers will enjoy this well-written and clearly organized study of an extraordinary economic and social revolution, and anyone whose company plans to begin or increase trade with China will profit from learning about the major players and the forces influencing the new Chinese economy. Business collections in all types of libraries will want to purchase. Susan C. Awe, Univ. of New Mexico Lib., Albuquerque
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; First Edition edition (March 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060005998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060005993
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,118,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

DAVID SHEFF's books include Game Over, China Dawn, and All We Are Saying. His many articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Wired, Fortune, and elsewhere. His piece for the New York Times Magazine, My Addicted Son, won an award from the American Psychological Association for Outstanding Contribution to Advancing the Understanding of Addiction. It led to his #1 New York Times Best Seller, Beautiful Boy, which was named the best nonfiction book of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. Beautiful Boy was also an Amazon Best Book of 2008. Sheff and his family live in Inverness, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "zeldamaster1989" on April 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sheff's Game Over is the best book ever written about videogames. I have been awaiting for his next book. It was worth the wait. I found the book after coming upon another review online. I have cut and pasted it here, since it sums the new book up: "China," writes David Sheff, is now "one of the most vibrant places on the planet, where each day has a life-or-death sense of purpose, despair, frustration, opportunity, hope, and dread." As this quotation reveals, Sheff's prose is as energetic and alive as his chosen subject, the digital revolution that is "invisibly but profoundly" transforming one of the world's oldest cultures into an economic and technological powerhouse.
For a sense of the book's scope, consider some of the scenarios Sheff sketches in his preface. For instance, half of China's population is scheduled to become connected to the Internet within the next decade, creating an online community of 600 million users that could become the largest market for American technology products. And since the ability to exchange scientific, political, and personal information accompanies Internet access, the digitalization of China could just be a prelude to an eventual democratization of the country. The consequences of "digital packets and beams of light" could be staggering, particularly since any change in the Chinese government will have a tremendous impact on the entire global community.
Sheff approaches his subject by focusing on two young Chinese information technology leaders: Bo Feng, investment banker and venture capitalist, and Edward Tian, CEO of China Netcom Corporation (CNC).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bing Jin on June 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I got this book by accident. I read "China Dream" first, then this one. I have a very similar background and life path described in the book: came to USA early 90s, finished a postgraduate degree, became a IT engineer and started up a technology company to help China traditional industry like Tobacco. To outsider, China is a very special place filled with controversial issues in all aspects, specially political and social issues. A great opportunity always comes from problems, complexity, confusion and uncertainty for most of people. Only most determined ones will eventually win. To give up everything going back to China is a very difficult personal decision, especially you have a family established in USA. I appreciate exactly what these people have been through. The story is far beyond the stories of the Valley. I will have another trip to China in this summer and hopefully I can talk with these guys.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have been working in Beijing and other Chinese cities and can't believe that a book has come out that gives a sense of exactly what it's like to live and work in the IT industry of China. Edward Tian, Wang Zhidong (who has started a new company), and the VCs in this book are our equivalent of Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Jerry Yang, Andy Grove, and the major U.S. players. Read this book for an education and, in the process, be thoroughly entertained. Fantastic!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ping Lim on January 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book gives us an insight into the brave, opportunistic, patriotic entrepeneurs who decided to have a run for their money investing in the IT industry in China. The author happened to be intimate friends to the entrepeneurs (venture capitalists and founders of IT companies) mentioned and suffice to say that this is like a documentary as we were brought into the environment where they sought for opportunities, negotiating and bargaining for their positions, keeping the "ship" afloat by ensuring the new enterprises are making money and ensuring that they are keeping the Chinese Government and shareholders happy at the same time. This is easily said than done as Chinese government is cautious about relinquishing too much contol to the public (stock options to the staff wasn't heard of before) and that opening up China to the world would mean free attainment of information. As Chinese firmly believes, information is power, a power that can change the destiny of a nation. This book is written when China was working hard to be inducted into the WTO and before China was announced to be the country to host the next Olympics. Suffice to say that this book is like a time capsule or a yardstick to see how much China has gone since and asking if China is progressing any further. Whilst this is a business book, it is also a book touching upon issues of self-sacrifice as the entrepeneurs are forever on the road at the expense of spending quality time with their young family and also dwelled upon the past of Cultural Revolution and other presecutions that created or formed the personalities and traits of the present Chinese generations that would move mountain and ocean to do what needs to be done to actualise their vision.Read more ›
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Phil Lee on October 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The author is a Wired / Fortune magazine reporter with 25 yrs experience and he spins an engaging story about developing the internet infrastructure in China with native Chinese financial and technical talent. The author has written his book in a multi-layer fashion, not unlike a Tom Clancy novel. This book includes an 11-page index, but lacks any further footnotes or bibliography on this nascent market. There is no map or timeline summarizing key events, as the author weaves several interrelated stories spread throughout his book. Also there is no government / company hierarchy chart, like the popular charts of Silicon Valley company spin-offs, so it is confusing to keep the players straight.
Starting in 1992, his story centers on the development of 3 main characters about 3 years after Tiananmen. Tiananmen galvanizes these young men's patriotism while studying in the US, leading them to discover their purpose in life. What surprised me was the government's vision towards rapidly installing broadband internet and voice over IP capability. Proactively before admission to the WTO, a government contract was let to a start-up managed by young entrepreneurial Chinese who had their own vision that the internet would catalyze "Democracy with Chinese characteristics." Of course, the CCP wanted the internet because they needed a catalyst for enhanced communication for Chinese companies to compete globally.
Bo Feng (b 1969), a native of Shanghai with teachers for parents, was sent to California at 18 as his stop of last resort in 1987, as his family despaired from his lack of ambition. At 21 years old, he drops out of the College of Marin, a local community college, bitten by the creative freedom with making films and storytelling like a budding Spielberg.
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