In the spirit of “summer reading list” frenzy that signals the start of the season, I’m jumping on the bandwagon.
Interested in learning more about business and marketing in China? Here’s a peek into what’s on my list for this summer and beyond.
1. One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China (Wall Street Journal Book). James McGregor’s insider’s view of what doing business in China is REALLY like. What’s interesting about this former Wall Street Journal China Bureau chief is his humble start in the country. He is not a highly degreed academic, but rather a self-made high-school dropout who wandered into China after serving in Vietnam. You wouldn’t know it from reading his book. I especially appreciate his approach, using real-life examples and then providing commentary on how it might be applicable to anyone pursuing the China market.
2. The Search for Modern China. To understand the business dynamics in China, you’ve got to know the history. Try Jonathan Spence’s look at modern Chinese history, which takes a wholly un-Eurocentric point of view and does so in refreshingly unpretentious language. If you’ve never delved much into Chinese history, this is a terrific introduction.
3. China and the Global Economy: National Champions, Industrial Policy and the Big Business Revolution. Economy — it’s the reason we’re all drawn to China. Find out the story behind China’s economic powerhouse in this book. Given Nolan’s role in the WTO negotiations with China — he was one of just four world experts invited to consult — he’s clearly worth listening to.
4. Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China. We often understand China from a big picture perspective; now it’s time to get a little more personal, with help from former Wall Street Journal China bureau chief Ian Johnson. Johnson tells the tale of three individuals who represent China’s “average Wang” — a self-educated lawyer fighting against local government corruption, Beijing homeowners facing home destruction by the behemoth real estate companies, and Falun Gong practitioners.
5. China’s Global Reach: Markets, Multinationals, and Globalization (Revised and Updated Edition). What’s behind the bureaucracy in China? Go behind the great iron curtain with Zhibin Gu. He’ll also reveal a number of secrets along the way to doing business in China, with real-life examples from global multinationals.