It is the world’s most populous country, the world’s largest trading nation and is expected to become the world’s biggest economy. Yet the outside world still knows surprisingly little about China today.
To help get you up to speed, here’s a selection of recently published books that paint a picture of China in 2017.
Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark
In just a decade and a half, Jack Ma, a former English teacher, founded and grew Alibaba into an e-commerce giant on which millions of Chinese people depend. Alibaba’s 2014 $25bn IPO is the world’s largest to date.
Author Duncan Clark first met Ma when the company was in its infancy, and chronicles its rise to the giant of today, and its role in the incredible growth of the internet in China.
In a review, the Financial Times describes the book as a “must-read for anyone hoping to navigate China’s new economy”.
Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China by Alec Ash
Wish Lanterns follows the lives of six average Chinese millennials as they come of age. Born into the one-child policy, after Mao and with no memory of Tiananmen, this is the generation that will change China.
Reviewing the book for Forbes, Marianna Cerini writes: “China’s young adults have come under plenty of attention in recent years. With good reasons: they are an increasingly complex demographic, holders of remarkable spending power and able to access wealth and information, but also beset by an array of societal and economic pressures. [Ash’s first book] takes a deep dive into the subject, and is a valuable addition to the field.”
Have you read?
Chinese Rules by Tim Clissold
In this book which details his own, often comical, exploits in the country, Tim Clissold outlines five Chinese rules that will help Westerners to do business in China. Having lived and worked in the country for more than two decades, Chinese Rules follows Clissold’s previous bestseller, Mr China.
Fortune notes in its review: “Chinese Rules is part memoir of ultimately failed businesses... and part history lesson tracing back centuries on how the Chinese approach conflict, in business and otherwise.”
China’s Disruptors by Edward Tse
A rising tide of Chinese giants, many in the technology sector, are changing the rules of business, Edward Tse writes. Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent and Baidu are among those to flourish in “an unprecedented burst of entrepreneurialism”.
Tse predicts that as Chinese products become more sophisticated and companies embrace domestically developed technology, Chinese goods will increasingly set global standards.
The book offers an insight into what drives Chinese entrepreneurs, how these companies grow so quickly and the impact that Chinese culture has on the strategies and tactics of Chinese leaders.