Beneath the Veil, China’s Corporate Practices are Still an Enigma

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CHINA’S RISE AS THE world’s second largest economic power has brought about arguably the most significant change in the global political economy since the voyages of Columbus. Ravaged and weakened by war and internecine conflict since the mid-19th Century, isolated for the most part after World War II, it has emerged as the world’s economic power house of the 21st Century.
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China’s rapid growth since its change of economic policies through the reforms of the late 1970s has been predicated on globalisation, as well as its increasing engagement with regional markets and with multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Yet, even as the intensity of the interactions with the world and its neighbours increases, much of the context in which economic policy is framed within China remains largely opaque. Despite Chinese aspirations to be considered a market economy, the capitalism framework fails when it comes to understanding the nature and functioning of Chinese enterprises, the role of government in managing the economy and the organisational culture of Chinese firms. Efforts to understand these aspects of the Chinese economy have generated some excellent literature since China joined the WTO and the Chinese domestic market was opened up to foreign corporates and, lately, with the Chinese Communist Party encouraging Chinese firms to invest abroad. John Saee’s book is an addition to this literature.

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