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China: The Race to Market

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China: The Race to Market

What China's Transformation Means for Business, Markets and the New World Order

FT Prentice Hall,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Will China fall into post-communist chaos or emerge as a dominant power in world markets and global trading?

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Overview
  • Background


Author Jonathan Story has assembled in one relatively short book a dense collection of facts, hypotheses and perspectives on China. Unlike many writers who have fixed ideas about China and use their books to promote their ideas, Story gives full and fair time to competing viewpoints. He is not selling a hypothesis, but exploring possibilities. Readers who prefer easy and definitive answers may feel frustrated, because Story provides only difficult and ambiguous alternatives. Yet his approach is solid, and more accurate than a finite stance could be. The future of anything is uncertain, and China is egregiously inscrutable, so any honest pronouncement on China’s future must acknowledge uncertainty, difficulty and ambiguity. If the book has a demerit, it is that the author sometimes offers interesting, but meandering digressions through the minutiae of Chinese chronology without fully explaining why the details matter. China is perplexing, so welcomes this compilation of insight - we would have been glad to read even more.


Key Questions on China’s Future

Prussian military theorist General Carl von Clausewitz said that the essence of war is "friction." You could say the same about the essence of business. Friction occurs at every level of the interplay among business organizations, the market and the greater political environment. To understand why that is so relevant to China, businesspeople operating in China or those whose markets are affected by China, need to know the answers to three important questions:

  1. Where is China’s development leading?
  2. Will China become a major global power and if so, when?
  3. What must businesspeople know to invest, trade or compete with China?

China has an opportunity to become one of the world’s great powers. Other powers have achieved their positions by costly warfare. China can ascend to the big power table merely by continuing its economic development. If China manages its transition well, it will change the balance of power and the political dynamic of the whole world.

Will China’s leadership be up to the task of managing this transition? Far from a radical revolutionary party, the heirs...

About the Author

Jonathan Story, professor of international political economy at INSEAD in France, is a Shell Fellow in Economic Transformation. He wrote The Frontiers of Fortune: Predicting Capital Prospects and Causalities in the Markets of the Future and created The Story Country political and risk assessment software. He has consulted with international corporations, including IBM, Eastman Kodak, Dresdner Bank, Ericsson and ABB.

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