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Silicon Dragon: How China Is Winning the Tech Race Hardcover – January 18, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her brisk and flattering analysis of China's charge into the high-tech market, Fannin spotlights 12 Eastern technopreneurs who are giving Silicon Valley mainstays a run for their money. Identifying her profile subjects the next Thomas Edison or the next Rupert Murdoch, and their companies as MySpace China and the like, the former Red Herring news editor supports her observational thesis with data and anecdotes from a variety of Western and Eastern CEOs, professors and financial analysts. Drawing parallels between the Middle Kingdom's growth and the height of the dot-com bubble, Fannin also takes care to note that most of her China-born sea turtles' were educated in the West, but returned to their homeland to take advantage of growing markets there. If anything, her writing overly praises Chinese entrepreneurships' reach in the world, choosing to gloss over negative statistics and paying controversial social issues—such as censorship of China's Internet sites—mere lip service. Overall, Fannin is best at tracing her subject's mostly humble beginnings through Mao's Cultural Revolution to the self-made Internet era as the tech world searches for the next Bill Gates. Given the sheer number of Chinese expected to be alive in the next decade, new media moguls (and profitable IPOs) are inevitable. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Rebecca Fannin recently crisscrossed China to gauge its digital prospects and the dynamism of its computer-based economy. As she reports in “Silicon Dragon, she spotted a clutch of up-and-coming entrepreneurs and heard echoes of Redwood Drive in places like Beijing’s Zhongguancun high-tech district. And little wonder. China’s Steve Jobs wannabes are desperately trying to make up for lost time.”

(The Wall Street Journal)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (January 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071494472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071494472
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,564,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Personal Biography
Rebecca A. Fannin is an internationally recognized author and journalist who has been writing about entrepreneurship and innovation trends for nearly 20 years. Her first book, Silicon Dragon, was published by McGraw-Hill in 2008 and translated into several languages. Her second book, Startup Asia, was published by Wiley in 2011.
Ms. Fannin is a contributor to During the height of the dotcom boom, she was international news editor at Red Herring. Prior to that, she was an international editor at Ad Age, Incisive Media and International Business.
She writes about business strategies, culture, travel and lifestyles. Her articles have appeared in Inc., Worth, CEO and Fast Company. Additionally, she has penned thought leadership reports on China, tech innovation trends and digital marketing practices for KPMG, Sony Ericsson and Econsultancy.
Ms. Fannin has appeared as a commentator on Fox Business News, Sky TV, CCTV, and radio shows worldwide. Several business publications have highlighted her work and interviewed Rebecca, including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Financial Times.
Ms. Fannin is a dynamic public speaker, and has delivered speeches and led panel discussions at the World Affairs Forum, Asia Society, Always-On, European Technology Roundtable, Vancouver Board of Trade, Overseas Press Club, Foreign Correspondents Club, Tsinghua University and Harvard University.
Originally from Lancaster, Ohio and the daughter of an Ohio University professor and a kindergarten teacher, her career has taken her to live and work in Beijing, Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and New York City.

Customer Reviews

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By George Koo on August 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Every journalist dreams of writing a book and Silicon Dragon (McGraw- Hill, $24.95) is Rebecca Fannin's. She interviews a dozen of China's most successful entrepreneurs and builds a book around her profiles of their roads to success. These are some of China's movers and shakers in the high tech industry, especially in Internet and wireless communication sectors. All of them are well known inside China but most are relatively unknown to the West. By describing and analyzing the keys to their success, Fannin has provided some lessons learned that are useful to anyone contemplating doing business in China.

As readers go through the 150 pages of easy to read text, they find certain common themes. The first lesson is that a proven business model from the U.S. does not guarantee success in China. Whether it's Alibaba vs. eBay, Dangdang vs. Amazon or Baidu vs. Google, the local version has first mover advantage and can move quickly to localize the business model to ensure acceptance in China.

The established American competitors initially focused on their U.S. market and paid no attention to China. By the time they are ready for China, they attempt to leapfrog via acquisition of a local company. They then make the mistake of replacing the Chinese management team with culturally deaf and dumb managers from home or even move the headquarters back to the U.S. Thus they further handcuff themselves by removing the ability to react quickly to a fast changing market. The book offers many other gems on rules of conduct in China that readers will find useful.

Alas, the subtitle of this book: "How China is Winning the Tech Race" is unfortunately misleading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dorian Benkoil on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Unlike some tomes about China that talk of the nation and its place amid the sweep of history, Rebecca Fannin does something I find more powerful: Using detailed tales of a dozen Chinese entrepreneurs to tell the story. Fannin sets the scene by telling of the impending rise of China, the increase in IPOs born there, the ballooning volume of venture capital investment, and as a fair-minded journalist also talks of the many challenges and potential pitfalls. While the experts she quotes say it will be 10-20 years before China ascends, one can taste that ascent through the creative business class she portrays -- whether a demure "Yu Yu," the creator of an wanna be, the head of the ever-present and powerful B2B service site, or the engineer and accidental entrepreneur behind the Internet Explorer challenger known as Maxthon. She hints at who from the Middle Kingdom might be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. She draws sometimes amusing parallels between today's China and Japan in its early days of economic ascendancy, and of Silicon Valley of the Web 1.0 boom days. Only occasionally, Fannin tips her hand, telling us, for example, that her bet is with Baidu rather than Google. But she also notes that while the search engine is growing, Google is learning quickly and will challenge.

Fannin (whom I know profesionally) also treads lightly -- some might say too lightly -- over sweeping issues that could have huge consequences, such as challenges from the West over intellectual property or copyright infringement, or the potential strains on the country being placed by a new moneyed entrepreneurial class along the coasts that's leaving peasants to the West out of this industrial revolution. But that may be an unfair complaint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Janet Carmosky on August 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Increasing numbers of Western observers, not to mention the Chinese themselves, are coming to realize that Chinese models of innovation and management may eventually drive competitive advantage beyond the home court. It's old news that China has the lead in manufacturing, but what about technology? More specifically, growing technology-based businesses to scale has been the trump card of the U.S. economy for decades. So why are Silicon Valley venture capitalists betting more each year on Chinese tech businesses? Rebecca Fannin's Silicon Dragons is a smoothly written, handy guide to the "who, what, when, where and why" of high profile Chinese tech companies, and an inside look at both the American investors who back them, and the role that American models, education, and capital continue to play in China's development. It's also required reading for anyone who needs to understand Chinese business culture, and why it fosters such nimble, ambitious and technically expert enterprises.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on February 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
i read ms.fannin's books a couple times across pacific in the past month in several sleepless flights. at first i just wanted to know how she wrote about some of the personalities that i knew personally. having either chuckled or surprised at many of those acute observation and behind the scene stories, and some true intimate facts that i thought only a few of us knew :), i came to realize that this author/journalist is not one of your typical sterotypical western news media type, who went to china a couple times, was either awed by the charms in shanghai xintiadi or upset by the tackiness of some seedy bar in beijing xianlitun, and considered themselves an expert in china, and began either to praise or criticize china based on cliche, obvious tall tales, or a news article he/she read on a dragon air flight to pudong international amidst cocktail offered up by the business class attendant.

rather, i found she talked from inside, she had intimate interviews with true insiders, she observed with a trained, cool eyes toward important business and technical events, she commented objectively and helpfully on outcomes and policy announcements, she derived and formulate her view of china's past, current, and likely future technological scene based on true insight and, seemingly daring yet believable, hypothesis.

if one forces me to say something 'critical', i'd just say she is too modest and courteous to offer too many strong opinions deem too strong to many of our beloved and famous american venture capitalists :p we could all learn a great deal from her inside view and the interaction she has with those 12 representative entrepreneurs in china.
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