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Dragons at Your Door: How Chinese Cost Innovation Is Disrupting Global Competition Hardcover – June 12, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422102084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422102084
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #529,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. According to business professors Zeng (of Cheung Kong Graduate School in China) and Williamson (of INSEAD in Fontainebleau and Singapore), the slogan of the China International Marine Container Group, "Learn, Improve, Disrupt," could just as easily apply to any such Chinese corporation, each of whom are busy using those principles to reinvent manufacturing, with global consequences. The authors reveal that low labor costs are only one advantage enjoyed by Chinese companies, and that the "three faces" of cost innovation (offering high technology at low cost, a near-impossible range of choice, and "speciality products" at volume prices) have given them impressive inroads to markets long assumed impenetrable. This is sobering reading for Western audiences; while the authors avoid the alarms that sound throughout many current business books on China, their dry, factual approach may prove even more unnerving. Though it may paint a disturbing portrait of a competitor formidable even in its infancy, the anecdotes and analysis this volume brings to light are bound to inspire anyone serious about global business or politics today.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Among the books assessing the impact of the Chinese surge into global markets [book] deserves a high ranking. --Financial Executive, Septebmer 2007

These companies are hiring people from anywhere in the world...[they]have different strategies, reflecting their strengths... --The New York Times, April 22, 2007

...a timely book... --Strategy & Business, Fall 2007

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It seems as if there have been a rash of books on China's increasing dominance in the global markets, and for good reason. Dragons at Your Door: How Chinese Cost Innovation Is Disrupting Global Competition by Ming Zeng and Peter J. Williamson lays out how China uses their cost advantage to get their foot in the door of a market, and then dominate it. This is a book well worth reading to understand what you may be facing in a few years (if not already)...

Contents:
Introduction - Dragons at Your Door; Disrupting Global Competition - How Did They Get Here So Fast?; Cost Innovation - The Chinese Dragons' Secret Weapon; Loose Bricks - Rethinking Your Vulnerabilities; The Weak Link - Limitations of the Chinese Dragon; Your Response - Winning in the New Global Game; Conclusion - Charting the Future; Notes; Index; About the Authors

Zeng and Williamson show, through numerous examples, how Chinese companies have exploited their cost advantage to become leading global players in markets. Generally speaking, they get into a field and start with lower pricing due to their lower wage structure. They then look for a "loose brick" in their competition. This is a market segment that they can attack and force a competitor to retreat or abandon. Once that occurs, they are then able to start offering both low cost and high innovation/value solutions to the market. Often, the competition will give up these lower-margin segments to concentrate on the higher-margin businesses, thinking that the Chinese can't compete in that area. But more often than not, those high-margin niches will also succumb to the dragons, leaving a company struggling for survival. It's not a pretty picture...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One of the of the authors' key points is that as leading Chinese firms go global, they are challenging basic assumptions on which many companies in developed nations depend on to remain profitable. Example - retreating/focusing 'up-market' to avoid intense price competition and obtain large margins. Toyota's and Wal-Mart's early U.S. strategies showed both how futile this can be, as well as the value of avoiding major competition when just beginning, and the Chinese have proven fast learners. A second key point is that the Chinese market is so large that even niches provide the opportunity to achieve large learning curve, scale, and high utilization benefits; multinational competitors (MNCs) that don't fight emerging dragons in China leave themselves exposed in the long run. A third is that Chinese firms are more likely than others to leap forward by copying, partly because they are relatively new and have little personal ego or capital invested in older approaches. Thus, they are quick to acquire foreign firms, brands, patents, physical assets, and proprietary expertise, as well as to hire consultants. Fourth - while Chinese firms have an inherent advantage from low-cost manufacturing labor, the best build upon that with low-cost R&D to further reduce costs - innovating with new methods, materials, and/or approaches. Fifth - Chinese companies can seemingly come out of nowhere - eg. moving from software or textiles to medical equipment or microwave manufacturing. Sixth - manual production is more flexible, taking only days instead of months for production changeovers, and avoids expensive equipment maintenance; in addition, human operator flexibility sometimes permits use of lower-cost less-standardized inputs.Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Moran on October 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Having read countless books on the topics surrounding the Chinese economy and the rise of Chinese companies, I believe that this is certainly one of the best.

As suggested in the heading of my review, this is finally a book that deals with the business issues of China (and the greater issue of outsourcing) critically and comprehensively.

I too have spent some time in China speaking with a number of different businesses and managers, and this book comes closest to describing the way in which Chinese managers think. In fact, this book can be read in the context of Porter's "Competitive Advantage of Nations", in order to shed light on the ways in which market space and the business environments have and will continue to change.

Based on the difficulties associated with the Chinese business environment, Chinese companies have managed to develop strategies to overcome a number of basic disadvantages, and to turn these into inherent advantages.

My tip, be aware of your strategic position and your competitive scope and do not sacrifice the long term future of your company on the alter of short term gains.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Wai on August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Wow, what an eye opener. The book provides "great" case studies on China's industries/companies and their relationship with the Chinese government; and how they are emerging as a world economic powerhouse. Get ready and defend our industries.....
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael on October 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very average book - a lot of anecdotal stories, no overall concept
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