April 2010 Archives

Book Summary - China Inc.

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China Inc. - How to Do Business with the Chinese By Roderick Macleod is a fascinating book that was written throughout the 1980's and relates one man's experiences of doing business with the Chinese.  The book seems to be written as a guide for those considering doing business in China, and as such it imparts a lot of useful information, both from a business and psychological standpoint, about how to do business in China.

The book's name, China Inc., has special significance, as throughout a majority of the book the author uses an analogy that compares china to a large corporation, to help us visualize how exactly decisions are made and why the Chinese do business the way they do.  The book begins with a series of business horror stories, both firsthand experiences by the author and stories of mistakes made by other companies.  These stories are referenced numerous times in the book, as the author covers different concepts, in order to show real-world scenarios and how if the concepts were correctly applied, there could have been a much more successful business venture.

As interesting of a read as this book offered, it has one major pitfall, that the book was written in the mid-1980's.  The author himself says that "Everything in China is changing so fast that anything about the details of Chinese business procedures, what they are interested in buying and selling, and how they are willing to do their business that has been written more than a few months before you start your homework is likely to be enough out-of-date to be misleading".  So seeing that the book is over twenty years old, I'm certain that much of the information in it is so dated that it isn't quite relevant anymore.

Despite how dated the information in China Inc. is, the book still offers many great trips for the aspiring businessperson in China.  It's also worth noting that the book is well written, and quite an enjoyable read.  Overall, I wouldn't say that it is a particularly great book to reference when attempting to learn to do business in China (mostly due to the age of the book), however, it is quite interesting and would make a good complementary reading.

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