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Hardcover China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future -- And the Challenge for America Book

ISBN: 0618705643

ISBN13: 9780618705641

China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future -- And the Challenge for America

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Book Overview

"Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world." Napoleon's words seem eerily prescient today, as the shock waves from China's awakening reverberate across the globe. In China Shakes the World, the former China bureau chief of the Financial Times, James Kynge, traces these tremors from Beijing to Europe to the Midwest as China's ravenous hunger for jobs, raw materials, energy, and food -- and its export of goods, workers, and investments...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The rise of China- for good and for bad

This book focuses on the economic development of China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. It opens with Chinese workers dismantling a German steel factory and transmitting it whole to China. There will also be a description of how Chinese workers and enterprisers enter the Italian textile center of Prato and provide first an economic boom, and then a threat to its existence. The book is filled with pictures of gigantic Chinese economic projects and development. The subtitle of the book 'The Rise of a Hungry Nation' hints at the tremendous appetite China is diplaying for every kind of product and industry. The upside of this is as Kynge writes the removal of four- hundred million people from poverty, the rise of a more urban China in which there is greater opportunity for work and education for great masses of people. Kynge also argues in the book that Chinese trading, the growth of its economy has been good for the world- economy in certain ways. The seven- hundred billion dollars the Chinese hold in Treasury Bonds , Kynge claims, sustain the American economy. The downside however is great indeed. The picture Kynge gives of China is too of a vast polluted, corrupt , hungry nation in which there are no legal bars to any kind of activity. It is a nation in which the illegal or grey economy is at least a third of the whole. It is a nation which engages in piracy outright of all kinds of intellectual property. It is of course still politcally unfree, a Communist state in name and doctrine which on the one side promotes and teaches friendship with the world while also providing xenophobic education to its children. Many have spoken about the twenty- first century as the century of China. Kynge says that by 2040 China will have a larger economy than the American one. But what strikes me is how poor in certain ways the great Chinese expansion is. The U.S. in becoming the most prosperous nation in the world gave mankind a dream. It was a dream of personal freedom and opportunity. And it was too a dream of political liberty for all of mankind. There was a beauty in the American vision, something sublime and great . The Chinese rise seems to be a rise of the belly alone. China is hungry for learning also , and Kynge does speak about the expansion of its universities, and the opportunities given for Chinese to learn abroad. But basically the Chinese activity does seem more like a response to 'hunger' a natural- need unrelated and unconnected to any gift or blessing to the rest of mankind. There is another dimension of this. The rise of China and also of India the rise of the masses of mankind into higher levels of technological competence is also more pressure on dwindling natural resources, oil, water, even air. I may be completely wrong, but it thus seems to me that the rise of China, at least as described in this book, is a real potential source of problems for mankind.

The flight of the Phoenix : a metaphor for change

Reading this book should provide some insight into why, and how, China is changing the world. It should also challenge the complacency of those who still think that nations can operate in economic isolation from each other, behind the flimsy protections afforded by trade barriers. The book opens with the description of a swarm of Chinese workers dismantling a German steel mill. The steel mill, which has been sold at its scrap metal value, is then re-erected in China and returned to service. Its owner is able to profitably provide steel to a burgeoning Chinese market. A capacity for rapid process imitation and an overwhelming desire for the benefits of industrialisation, when combined with a massive supply of cheap labour are powerful factors. If, as is noted, the $US 700 billion in Chinese reserves is financing US federal spending (including paying for the war in Iraq) then this book should be of particular interest to Americans. China's growth is not without internal costs and pain. Change in the Middle Kingdom is often revolutionary. Highly recommended to those seeking to make sense of China's emerging economic role in the contemporary world. However, I recommend that you read this book in conjunction with others to better understand Chinese culture and society. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

It won the Financial Times 2006 Business Book of the Year for a reason

In 2005, the Financial Times instigated its Business Book of the Year award. Last year's winner was Thomas Friedman's "The World Is Flat", which is still in the best sellers lists 16 months after its release (and deservedly so). This year, James Kynge (in a prior life a reporter at the Financial Times) wins the award with this book. In "China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future--and the Challege for America" (270 pages), Kynge spends the first part of the book bringing us a vivid picture of the awakening economic giant that China is becoming, and things will only get more vivid from here on. Interesting tidbits that the author brings us include that the architecture of the once-historic (and now revitalized) city of Chongqing is patterned after Chicago, itself once the fastest growing city; or that suicides among young rural women in China rank as one of its greatest social ills (500 per day, and 56 percent of the world's femal suicides occur in China). After going into a thorough anaylsis of the Italian textile industry's problems, Kynge makes the dry observation that "the simple, unpalatable truth is that in many areas of manufacturing, European companies cannot compete in the long run, no matter what countermeasures they or the EU may take". As for China's "technology gap", Kynge observes that "the potent lure of the 1.3 billion person market, no matter how illusory it may be, has helped China to leapfrog some of the technology barriers that had stymied several of the Southeast Asian 'tiger' economies in the 80s and 90s". In the second part of the book, the author exposes some of the problems China faces. Corruption exists at every level, the gray and black economies play a large role in everyday life, and these factors have resulted in the "collapse of social trust". In the final chapter, Kynge has a lot to say about the "waichi" (friendship) concept in China (hint: it's not what ours is). In all, this book is outstanding from beginning to end, and absolutely worth buying. Anything we can do to understand the challenge tha China presents is recommended, and this book certainly contributes to the debate.

Setting the China scene beautifully, BUT...

First, I congratulate James Kynge on winning the FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book Award of the Year 2006. Among the five short-listed titles, China business in undoubtedly the most important topic and Kynge has addressed it in a beautiful way. Beautiful in a sense that even the general reader will find the book entertaining because of the way the author weaves the stories in the process of presenting China's impact on the world. Given the sophisticated nature of this topic, Kynge deserves a five-star rating for beautifully setting the China scene for the 21st century. But, like other practising business people who are involved in doing business in China, I feel that the task of dealing with the China challenge remains hugely difficult because Kynge did not attempt to offer any advice on how to think as well as what to do in order to succeed in China. Recently, I also bought a copy of Dr Wei Wang' book The China Executive: Marrying Western and Chinese Strengths to Generate Profitability from Your Investment in China, which is exactly what I have been looking for to complement China Shakes the World. Having revealed the nature of the China challenge, The China Executive provides a roadmap to success in China. Packed with pictures, examples and above all wisdom, the book offers huge practical value. At the moment, I am guided by the book to turn around some of my company's poorly-performed businesses in China. In short, to understand the business implications of China in the age of globalisation, read China Shakes the World; to learn how to do business with China, read The China Executive.

Diligent and Compelling View on China and the World.

James Kynge's 'China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future -- and the Challenge for America' is a completely authoritative and comprehensive study based upon extensive and reliable research of what has become industrialist China. Author Kynge does an outstanding job in presenting internal and external global issues China faces today, and how its needs combined with its resources, or lack of them, will direct China in the future. Kynge reviews how China's problems with its environmental resources, a severe pollution that is beginning to cripple its core, government corruption that actually has become part of the norm, a legal system that makes sacrifice to human rights and rights of freedom for its citizens, a Gestapo-like police force, and a media that bows to censorship all together are crutches that will force China to rely on global trade, and so, global cooperation. The author is also diligent in showing the mass resources and capability of China's manufacturing facilities, and why there is no end in sight to there economic boom. Clearly there is a prosperous balance that has developed between China and the United States, and China and Western Europe. Kynge presents the dynamic issues of this complex web in a way that is most educational, backed with unquestionable foundational data, reader friendly, and compelling . . .
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