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China Dawn: The Story of a Technology and Business Revolution [Hardcover]

David Sheff
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)


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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 Journalist Sheff (Game Over) describes how the country's information technology leaders are battling outdated business models, a tumultuous market, and a government that pushes expansion while trying to censor Internet usage.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.

From Booklist

Sheff writes for Fortune, Wired, and Playboy; is the West Coast editor of Yahoo! Internet Life magazine; and is the author of Game Over (1993), an expose of Nintendo and the video-game industry. His book is an investigative report inside the high-tech revolution in China, where the dot-com boom is being played out despite government attempts at heavy censorship and regulation. As everywhere, when it comes to the Internet, "information wants to be free," and that electronic conduit has been as difficult to control in China as anywhere else. On Sheff's journey to the mainland, he met a handful of unlikely entrepreneurs--high-tech venture capitalists providing desperately needed fuel for free trade in a repressive country that has stagnated economically for a century. The text is equal parts business book, travelogue, political analysis, and personal stories, as the personalities of a handful of entrepreneurs emerge, all with a secret agenda to use the Internet to wage a virtual revolution that is breaking down barriers and raising new optimism for a transformation of China. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

“China Dawn tells the spellbinding story of people bringing the Internet to China, catalyzing massive social change.” (Marc Andreesen)

“China Dawn should be required reading as it chronicles history in the making.” (Anchee Min, author of Becoming Madame Mao and Red Azaleas)

“David Sheff has written a fascinating...study of go–getting businessmen in a revived China bound to shape our future.” (Gore Vidal)

“China Dawn is an arresting read, with a level of detail about China and the Internet unduplicated anywhere else.” (Salon.com)

About the Author

There is a new revolution in China, one which intends to unite the people of this vast and populous nation as never before; both highways, roadways and the information superhighway, are being constructed simultaneously, leapfrogging a rural economy into the modern-day information age. "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 latest book. About the entrepreneurs who are trying to spark a social transformation by bringing the latest information technology to the planet's most populous country,China Dawn, researched over three years, is the chronicle of the nascent Chinese technology revolution -- a movement with, Sheff says, "the immodest goal of transforming the life of more than a fifth of the world's people."

David Sheff's articles and interviews have appeared in Playboy, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Wired, Outside, Forbes ASAP, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Esquire and Observer Magazine in England, Foreign Literature in Russia and Playboy (Shueisha) in Japan. He is currently on assignment for Fortune and Vanity Fair. His book, Game Over, was published by Random House in the United States and Hodder and Stoughton in Great Britain as well as in Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Israel, and other countries. Vintage published the paperback edition in 1993. The book, reissued in 1999 with a new introduction, was universally praised by reviewers for Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Forbes, USA Today, The New York Review of Books, and hundreds of domestic and international magazines and newspapers. The New York Times called it "beguiling" and"irresistible. . . almost as hypnotic as a successful video game." The Houston Chronicle said, "This book is a must-read. Game Over is about as readable as a business book can be."The Chicago Tribune called it "A cross between Barbarians at the Gate and The Soul of the New Machine."

The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, conducted in 1980, became a Literary Guild Selection book. Other interviews, including those with Ansel Adams, nuclear physicist Ted Taylor, Gore Vidal, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks, Sting, Scott Peck, Betty Friedan, and Keith Haring, received wide recognition, as did his "Portrait of a Generation" in Rolling Stone. His radio documentaries for National Public Radio on John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird won several awards. He also wrote and edited "Heart Play: Unfinished Dialogue," which won a Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Word Recording of 1984.

Sheff is currently a contributing editor of Playboy, Wired, and Yahoo! Internet Life and is on assignment for Fortune and Vanity Fair.He was formerly an editor of New West and California magazines..

He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a degree in social science. He lives in San Francisco, California with his wife and three children.

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