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Can China Lead?: Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth Hardcover – February 18, 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

ADVANCE PRAISE for Can China Lead?:

William V. Hickey, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sealed Air Corporation—
Can China Lead? is a thoughtful and well-written perspective on the development of modern China, its emergence as an economic power, and its future outlook. This is a must-read for anyone doing business in China today and anyone interested in the leadership challenges that China will face going forward.”

Rodney Chase, former Deputy Group Chief Executive and Managing Director, BP plc—
“These Harvard and Wharton luminaries have written a challenging and disturbing assessment of modern-day China while brilliantly illuminating the country’s traumatic twentieth-century journey. While the authors express real doubts about China’s readiness to embrace a world leadership role anytime soon, this book will help all of us understand China just a little better.”

Karen Mills, former Administrator, US Small Business Administration—
“Entrepreneurship may be America’s ‘secret sauce,’ but it’s an essential part of China’s heritage as well. From a deep historical understanding, Can China Lead? asks what will happen when the Chinese and American entrepreneurial economies face off in a global marketplace.”

George Yeo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Singapore—
“The authors doubt that China can lead the world, admitting that China may not have any such ambition in the first place. Analyzing the country’s deep contradictions, this book will teach you how business is done in China—and it does so brilliantly.”

Tom Lee, Hughes M. Blake Professor of Management, Foster School of Business, University of Washington; former President, Academy of Management—
“One of the best books on China that I’ve read in a very long time.”

About the Author

Regina M. Abrami is a Senior Fellow at the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania), Director of the Global Program at the Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies, and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science. Prior to this, she was a member of the Harvard Business School faculty for eleven years, and chair of its inaugural international immersion program.

William C. Kirby is the Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University. He is Chairman of the Harvard China Fund. He has served as Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard. He is an honorary professor at Peking University, Nanjing University, Chongqing University, Zhejiang University, East China Normal University, Fudan University, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and National Chengchi University.

F. Warren McFarlan is a Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School, as well as the Albert H. Gordon Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus. He is concurrently a guest professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management and codirector of the school’s China Business Case Center.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (February 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422144151
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422144152
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Can China Lead?, by Regina M. Abrami, William Kirby, and F. Warren McFarlan, asks a question that can not be definitively answered but is well worth asking. The authors seamlessly combine their knowledge of China’s history, people, and politics to advise companies looking to engage in commercial interactions with one the world’s second largest economy (As ranked by GDP by the United Nations, 2012). As the authors state in their Introduction, “Chinese businesses compete globally, now going head-to-head with North American and European corporations in telecommunications, heavy machinery, and renewable forms of energy.” (p. x)

Procurement is spending an increasing amount of time analyzing the tradeoffs between building global supply chains and reshoring (or at least nearshoring) materials and services that might previously have come from China. This book is an accessible introduction to the highly contextual nature of business in China. The primary tensions, which sometimes lead to misunderstandings by businesses in other countries, are between the official government and the dominant Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP has leaders representing their interests in every major corporate organization, leading to misgivings about intellectual property rights and agreements.

Companies looking to do business in China would be wise to understand what holds value to Chinese firms, including manufacturing or design processes that allow them to build their own knowledge and skills. “For example, an agreement with Boeing to buy a large number of Dreamliners for Chinese airlines was directly linked to the decision by Boeing to have the rudders built in China. Had the Chinese not gained access to that technology, the planes would not have been ordered.” (p. 92).
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I bought this to go along with a course I'm taking, ChinaX from HarvardX. One of the contributors is one of our professors.
The book seems to be written for businessmen planning to invest in China. It presents pitfalls and warnings. The premise is obvious; the writing is clear. It's all business and not meant to be entertaining.
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Format: Hardcover
The authors have strong credentials. But this book is weak, and has failed to teach me new things. Inefficiency and corruption in China is well-known and well-documented, but how the weak governance of the country (and its corporates) will continue to hold China back deserves a much more thorough analysis. The book's reference to China Netcom is seriously flawed, as the authors obviously do not know the details of that episode.
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Really complete book! It features an interesting historical approach about the 20th Century China and ends with great bets about China's future. Recommend it for whom is interested in learning more about the new giant of global geopolitics!
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The information shared and analyzed by the authors is crucial to understanding China-U.S. Trade. The anti-communist comments seem unnecessary as readers could come to their own conclusions. Also, most criticisms the authors make of New China's economy could be made about the U. S. Economy, I.e. Maldistribution of wealth.
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