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Voyage DAffaires
The next ‘Red’ wave!
‘Multi-polar world order, political dynamics, economic transformation’ – if you’ve had enough of all these terms and want to understand China, then this is the book that can help without taking a toll on your head
Issue Date - 30/05/2012
When Fareed Zakaria (in his book The Post American World) says that we are moving towards a multi-polar world wherein America will have to factor in the position of countries like China and India, then it must mean something. There are hundreds of authoritative commentators out there writing about the rise of China. Unfortunately, most of them are based out of China. So what we generally get to read is a ‘view from the top’. From that perspective, Shaun Rein’s The End of Cheap China: Economic & Cultural Trends That Will Disrupt the World comes across as one of those rare, reliable handbooks that one can pick up to actually understand how China has become one of the world’s most influential economic and political centres in a short span of time, and where it’s headed from here on. As a writer, he attempts to answer what everyone is wondering, “What is China evolving into and what does that mean for the rest of the world?” What makes Rein’s book the real deal is his background. He first came to China as a teenager in the 1990s when the government was pushing for a major privatisation of the economy. At that time, the market was inefficient: buying a plane ticket was a nightmare and fresh milk was non-existent except for in 5 star hotels. More interestingly, members in his wife’s family were personal friends with Zhou Enlai and Mao. This helps Rein in portraying the dynamics of the relationship between China’s masses and governments. Additionally, he is able to draw on inferences from data compiled by his market research firm over a decade. When you have access to such insights, something compelling is bound to come forth. In the book, he interviews billionaires, senior government officials, poor migrant workers and even prostitutes to track China’s changes. There are chapters on modern Chinese women, lessons from China’s sex industry, and how Chinese demand for commodities will cause tension with the rest of the world. Rein goes on to analyse how companies can benefit from these changes and argues that China will successfully make the transition to a modern developed economy. If you happen to be a businessman who wants set up operations in the Mainland but don’t know much about the country, this book is a good place to start. Not only will you understand why the Chinese are so optimistic, but you will also be enlightened on how you can profit from their optimism.

Amir Moin           

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