Indications of books about China by the CBBC research department and by invited experts.
BY FABIANA D’ATRI*
For those who are familiar with or wish to familiarize themselves with China, the book, The Party, written by journalist Richard McGregor (former Financial Times correspondent in China) in mid-2010 is an excellent choice. His comprehensive approach to the various faces of the Communist Party will help the reader understanding business behavior and the political environment in China. The author uses different approaches, in attempting to unravel the secrets of the party, including interviews and publicly known cases, to provide us with deeper information about the importance of the proximity and/or presence of the state in day-to-day life, especially in business affairs. Throughout the book, the author explores the country through the lens of the Party, bringing attention to the management of local governments, China’s corruptive environment, the so-called “perfect socialism of Deng” and the difficulty in distinguishing the private from the public and the party from private sector. This work, albeit timeless, is perfect for those who wish to understand one of the main drivers of the Chinese economy and is a good reference for 2012, with the upcoming government transition. It adds further information to the ongoing discussions of leadership transition already present in the media, delving into, for example, the rise of local leaders.
*Fabiana D’Atri is the Senior Economist of the Department of Research and Studies
at the Bradesco Bank.
The book is recommended for entrepreneurs interested in understanding the role of innovation in China’s economic development. This meticulously researched book reveals and explains in detail how the innovation system of China fits into a world of fragmented production with rapid expansion of the technological frontier. The paper presents a new way of thinking about innovation and economic development. The strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese economic system are examined ahead of advances in innovation, and the authors find that, contrary to popular belief, cutting-edge innovation is not a prerequisite for economic vitality and that China is a perfect case in this respect.
BY DANI NEDAL*
It is impossible to keep up with all the books that are published almost weekly on China, its economy, political system, society, foreign policy etc. But if you plan to read one book about China in the coming months, let it be this one. Not because it is the most innovative, comprehensive and academically rigorous, but because it is written in light and accessible prose and offers provocative arguments and sensible advice that deserve attention. All this in the form of a pleasant journey, full of curious anecdotes and personal memories, throughout the ancient history of China and its relationship with the outside world.
Every work has its flaws, and Kissinger’s selective and occasionally inaccurate use of Chinese history and the admiration he holds for one of the most brutal figures in modern times makes the reader uncomfortable at times. These flaws, however, are outweighed by the exceptional way in which he presents to the general public concepts and insights, from an often obscure academic literature, so as to enrich the debate on one of the most import themes of our times.
Dani Nedal – Research Assistant for the Department of International Politics at the University of Aberystwyth and Collaborator at the Center for International Relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
BY ISABELA NOGUEIRA *
Those interested in a broad but far from superficial view of China´s recent development will find a valuable introduction in this book by Barry Naughton. The Chinese Economy in Transition is a textbook for university courses on the Chinese economy and ranges from the legacy of Maoism to current macroeconomics and finance, highlighting the structural transformation in agriculture and industry and China´s inclusion in foreign trade. Each chapter is followed by a list of recommended books to provide more in-depth studies. However, this edition is from 2007 and should be updated.
* Isabela Nogueira de Morais has a doctorate in economics from UFRJ and is a professor of Chinese studies at the Institute of International Relations at PUC-Rio. She is currently on leave as a visiting professor at Aalto University in Helsinki.
This book is a must-read for anyone navigating the China market. Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center and senior fellow in Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development at Brookings, draws on his deep understanding of China’s political and economic systems to shed light on the strategies foreign companies must master to successfully do business in China.
In straight forward language, using concrete examples to support his ideas and recommendations, Lieberthal presents not only how to benefit from doing business in China, but also how to avoid the serious risks that the endeavor entails. The implications Lieberthal lays out for corporate strategy are wideranging and critically important.