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One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China Paperback – September 4, 2007
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
The promise and perils-mostly the latter-that Western businesses face in China's huge but chaotic market are probed in this illuminating if not quite reassuring primer. Ex-Wall Street Journal China bureau chief McGregor presents a series of case studies from capitalism's Wild East, including a rocky joint venture between Morgan Stanley and a Chinese bank; the rise and fall of a Chinese peasant turned billionaire smuggler; Rupert Murdoch's travails in bringing a satellite TV network to China; and a muck-raking Chinese financial journalist's battles with both government censorship and the private media's cozy relationships with advertisers. He caps each chapter with gleanings of wisdom ("assume your procurement department is corrupt until proven innocent") and pointers on such topics as which bribes are ethically acceptable (expenses-paid junkets to America "with generous opportunities for tourism and relaxation") and which are not (suitcases full of cash). McGregor writes with the confidence of an old China hand, occasionally lapsing into generalities about Asian "shame-based" cultures, but generally treating the Chinese businesspeople he profiles with the same sympathy and insight he accords Westerners. Still, the picture he paints of the Chinese economy is a daunting one, ruled by over-mighty Communist officials, bribe-hungry bureaucrats, Byzantine regulations and a murky, cut-throat business culture structured by personal and family ties. Westerners contemplating a plunge into this shark tank will profit from McGregor's cautionary tales.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
McGregor has spent nearly two decades as a journalist and business executive in China. China, as he notes, is crashing its way onto the world scene as a rapidly growing economic powerhouse, and the challenge confronting the nation is learning to manage the large, complex organizations that will be necessary if the country is going to continue its ambitious climb to the top of the economic ladder. McGregor posits that the sudden transition from the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s to the scramble for wealth in the 1980s and 1990s has left a deeply scarred society experiencing an economic and social upheaval. To reach the next step in its economic evolution, he believes that China must find ways to go beyond some of the lingering cultural, social, and psychological barriers that will soon impede that progress. The struggle now is to discover the management principles and techniques that will harness and focus the immense energy and intelligence of the Chinese. A detailed case study of an unparalleled rise to power. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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McGregor's background as a journalist shows in his writing style, which is extremely easy to read and follow, as well as his skillful storytelling. The relatively long chapters are easy to read, and his approach of having a "who's who" guide to the players in the beginning of the book is useful for keeping everyone straight. His blending of personal interest, history, current practices and real challenges made an entertaining read for this business traveler while on the high speed train from Shanghai to Hongzhou.
A worthwhile read before heading to China on business.
"If your CEO wants to do business with China in order to turn around his business, lose his visa."
A brilliant book. Highly recommended.
I purchased this book over a year ago. The title, One Billion Customers, is interesting. No other market has such a capacity. This must be a book on China. Five minutes (or less) later, I placed the order. After one year, the book finally gets a reading treatment.
This is by far the quickest book I've ever finished. A 352 page book read in five days. It's a new record for me. If I need any proof to show you how interesting the book is, here is the perfect one.
James McGregor, the author, was head of Wall Street Journal office in Beijing. As a foreign news reporter, he had some insight on everyday business. You know the news industry in China is fully controlled by the propaganda department, aka Ministry of Truth. No free publication allowed. His story should be more authentic.
In the book, you will find eight standalone stories. But the stories are more than stories. They are like biographies of doing business in China. Each one has a Little Red Book of Business to provide perfect quotes and conclusions for highlighting and note taking. I must say I really enjoy them all, especially story three, four and seven.
Story three is about Lai Changxing, the peasant tycoon. He was recently extradited to China. According to Chinese propaganda network, Lai is a criminal of smuggling. I don't know how people around me think about him. The one side story never made any sense to me. I think there must be a untold story behind. Ironically, the mistrust idea is a by-product of propaganda. In this book, James told me his version, a more detailed and darker one.
Story four described a battle between Xinhua news agency and foreign newswire services. The story itself is not new. Some Chinese authorities make easy money by banning their competitors, most the foreign ones. The Xinhua news agency teamed with you know who to do this. But the most shocking news is their attempt to control internet. As you might have read the clip I shared before. These people fabricated a plan to create the China Wide Web to separate China from Internet. They even founded a subsidiary in Hong Kong named China Internet Corporation(CIC) to filter and translate information. Yet another dark history of early modern Chinese history.
Story seven showed how China's well protected telephone business was opened. It was more than a company history book of UTStarcom, a cell phone maker. The story revealed why it was so hard to get a land line telephone installed in 1996; and why the telephone bills were so high in 1999 when I bought my first cell phone. I used to put blame on monopoly players of China Telecom. Now I've got a better target.
I will stop my review here not to harm the reading experience. The book is definitely the best one on China business. For Chinese, this is a good chance to find out the long ignored cultural differences. For foreigners, this book could be a survival guide to your China operation.