Top of the Rock Astronaut Labels: 2009, Economics, Print, Rating: Sir Francis Drake
China Inc., published in 2005, is an interesting introduction to the rising economy of China, and the effects that it most likely will have upon America. I found it interesting as it didn't take the stance of "China is evil, and threatening our way of life", instead the book points out how the average Chinese person's life has improved from industrialisation, much the same as the population on Britain's did 150 years ago. It just so happens that today, the world's largest country is going through the stage of development, and much as when the US went through it and became a cheaper option for producing goods in Europe, today China is a cheaper option than the US.
What China Inc. does well is that it is not biased. As well as painting a vivid picture of city life for recent immigrants from the country, and that of the stunning development, it also points out the negative sides of China's rapid development, such as the Chinese government's bias toward native firms, even when they have clearly stolen ideas etc from foreign investors, or the fact that a foreign company must partner up with a native Chinese company (something they told us in Business school), but that a Chinese company is free to partner up with as many foreign companies as it likes (something they didn't tell us, shame on you Kingston University!), and so can achieve rapid exposure to technologies and secrets from a wide variety of sources, and at the same achieve the know-how of creating and implementing these, resulting in an unprecedented ability to replicate technology without having to develop it.
I suppose China Inc. leaves it to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about what may happen with China's economic growth. Some of the things outlined in the book (such as the Chinese-backed EMD discs as a high-capacity replacement for DVDs being the standard world-wide) don't seem to have happened, but the majority of the book is concerned with informing, rather than predicting. One thing that did amuse me about the book was the introducion, where it gives typical examples of the impact of the Chinese boom on everyday life, and gives examples such as "another friend, a world-famous researcher who studies the lives of cells"... typical friends that we all have! But sillyness aside, this is an interesting and somewhat honest introduction to the topic of China that seems to have aged well, and if you are interested in the topic, you could do worse.