Archives: Recommended Reading

Best China Business BooksClub China (KLM Airline’s China focused website) came out today with a list of the four best books on China business. It describes its list as follows:

Are you planning your China business venture? Or have you been in China for years, and find yourself still hungry for knowledge? Our Club China editors have compiled their list of best business books about China. Some have been published fairly recently, others are classic but still immensely popular. Please enjoy our ‘Must-reads about China’.

Its list consists of only four books, all but one of which (the One Hour China Book being the exception) I have read and recommend very highly. I am writing this post on an airplane (heading to New York to speak on China tomorrow at Cardozo Law School and having someone on the ground fill in the links) with marginal internet, but I have a nagging feeling, actually a certainty, that though my list would most emphatically include the three books I have read, it would also most emphatically include some more. So to me this list is not necessarily THE four books you must read or even the best four books for those looking for more information on doing business in China or with China, but rather, four great books for that purpose (I have heard nothing but good things regarding the One Hour China Book).

So without further ado, I give you the KLM list, with my own comments following the quote.

China CEO. By Juan Antonio Fernandez and Laurie Underwood. KLM has this to say about China CEO:

There is nothing like learning about business successes and failures from the very people that experienced them….Twenty top executives and eight experienced consultants based in China offer their first-hand, front-line advice….China CEO is full of such sound advice about subjects like managing Chinese employees, leaderships styles and negotiating with the Chinese Government.

Way back in 2009, in a short article I wrote for Forbes Magazine, entitled Best 10 Books on China, I listed China CEO and had this to say about it: China CEO is a technical collection of interviews with CEOs on how to conduct business in China.

One Billion Customers, by James McGregor, of which KLM has this to say:

The author is a former Wall Street Journal China bureau chief who became a successful corporate executive. One Billion Customers … offers compelling narratives of personalities, business deals, and lessons learned….The book offers a great number of interesting case studies, including a rocky joint venture between Morgan Stanley and a Chinese bank; the rise and fall of a Chinese peasant turned billionaire smuggler; Rupert Murdoch’s travails in bringing a satellite TV network to China; and a muck-raking Chinese financial journalist’s battles with both government censorship and the private media’s cozy relationships with advertisers.

I also listed this book in my Forbes article with this to say about it: “How big business gets done in China.”

China’s Super Consumers, by Savio Chan and Michael Zakkour, of which KLM has this to say:

The subtitle of the book Chan and Zakkour wrote says it all: What 1 Billion Customers Want and How to Sell it to Them. It explores the birth of consumerism in China and explains who these super consumers are. The authors explain what’s inside the minds of Chinese consumers, what they buy, where they buy, how they buy, and most importantly why they buy….The authors offer real stories of the kind that entrepreneurs can never get enough of: how was it done, why did it work, where did it fail….The book takes its readers inside the boardrooms of the people who understand Chinese consumers and have had success in the Chinese market.

I reviewed this book when it came out in 2014, and if you will forgive me a bit of bias because it quotes me a couple times on the legal side of doing business in China, I think this book makes for a superb primer on how to do business in China. Back then I described it as “a great book and I highly recommend it for anyone with a product or a service that is being sold or could be sold to China’s consumers. It is also a very good book for any foreign company doing business in China or looking to do so.” I certainly stand by that review now.

The One Hour China Book, by Jonathan Woetzel and Jeffrey Towson, about which KLM has this to say:

If you are more a doer than a reader, this one is for you. In just 132 pages, two Beijing university professors take you on a quick tour of China business life. There are just six stories in this book and they happen to be pretty good. This “quick-read” offers the distilled knowledge of two Beijing university business professors with over 30 years of experience on the ground in China and emerging markets….Each chapter is condensed into a handful of key points/statements which help the reader to understand and remember the underlying mega trend.

That’s it. Those of you on the ground who wish to add additional books to this list, please do so via the comments below. I am still working on a massive “best reading materials on China” list and I continue to welcome suggestions for that as well.

Since we took down our blogroll last year, I feel it is more incumbent upon us than ever to highlight other blogs and other sites and other writings we see as being helpful to our readers. Towards that end I emphatically recommend the US-China Trade War Blog.

Though nominally written by a BigLaw firm, this blog is really is the brainchild and the baby of William Perry (a partner at Dorsey), a leading trade law and customs lawyer. Bill has the nearly unique distinction of having been both an attorney with the Office of General Counsel, U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) and with the Office of Chief Counsel and Office of Antidumping Investigations, U.S. Department of Commerce. I am not aware of a single other attorney in private practice who has been an attorney with both of these key international trade agencies and this dual background/knowledge infuses his practice. Full Disclosure: Bill is based in Seattle and I know and greatly respect him and he is my firm’s go-to lawyer for trade and customs matters.

Anyway, about Bill’s blog, which describes itself as follows:

This blog is the outgrowth of a newsletter that I have created to monitor US trade and other litigation against US and Chinese companies. I am an international trade lawyer. Before representing US and Chinese companies in international trade cases for more than 20 years, I used to work at the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”) and Commerce Department on various trade cases in Washington DC.

Based on my experience, I can categorically state that there is now an ongoing trade war between the United States and China. This Trade War became evident in the recent Solar Cells antidumping and countervailing cases against China, which target approximately $4 billion in US imports of solar cells from China. In retaliation for this trade case, the Chinese government has initiated a countervailing duty and antidumping case against $2 billion of US exports of polysilicon, which go into the solar cells being imported from China.

Upon investigation, this trade war has now expanded into a number of other litigation areas against Chinese companies, including intellectual property/section 337 cases, false claims act/customs fraud, antitrust, securities and products liability litigation.

The best kept secret, however, is that the real targets of these US cases are not Chinese companies, but US companies that import products into the United States. US importers are the companies liable for antidumping and countervailing duties in cases against China. US import companies are also liable in intellectual property/337 cases, False Claims Act/Customs Fraud and Products Liability cases. The primary target of this trade war is the US companies involved in trade with China, not the Chinese companies. This is truly a brave new world.

As you can tell just from the above, Bill does not pull punches and his blog doesn’t either. The blog focuses on the various trade disputes swirling between the United States and China, with a dollop of ominous warnings about how China-US trade disputes just keep on escalating to the detriment of both countries. I had lunch with Bill not that long ago and he was even more ominous in person, pointing out how anti-trade rhetoric in the U.S. presidential election scares other countries around the world and could foretell a new period of beggar thy neighbor policies that will further escalate trade tensions between the United States and China. Bill’s big issue is how US companies that import products are getting hit with massive fines for having imported products from that are subsequently determined to warrant anti-dumping duties. Bill is the person who taught me that the United States is the only country in the world that applies such sanctions against importers retroactively. Did you know that you as a US company can import a product from China and then years later be hit with a massive fine for having imported that product? Based on the phone calls we get from companies to which this has happened, my strong sense is that too few U.S. companies are aware of this.

If you import anything into the United States or you are contemplating doing so (especially if your imports come from China), I recommend you add the US-China Trade War Blog to your reading list. If you are merely interested in international trade, I make the same recommendation. I warn you in advance though that it is not for the faint of heart or of intellect.

A book review I wrote for AmCham just came out. My review is of the book, Unmade in China: The Hidden Truth About China’s Economic Miracle, by Jeremy Haft.

Unmade in China

The below are the highlights. For the full review, go here.

The book sets out to debunk the following three China “myths”:

  • China’s Economy is about to surpass the US
  • Everything is made in China
  • China’s currency manipulation kills jobs

*     *     *     *

Haft uses the breadth of China’s outputs – food, drugs, toys, auto parts, electronics, oil rigs, refineries, bridges, nuclear reactors – to illustrate how goods move through concentric rings of danger as they are transformed from inputs to outputs with each step in the value chain only magnifying the risk that the final outputs will be unsafe.

Take baby formula in China. Please. Why would we think China is capable of developing and building high-end nuclear power plants or airplanes when it cannot even make safe baby formula? Haft sees China’s inability to make good products as an opportunity for US-made products and services to thrive in China and worldwide. Just consider what happened after melamine in Chinese baby formula poisoned over 300,000 infants in 2008: US dairy exports to China quadrupled. Bombarded by almost daily assaults of safety scandals, Chinese prefer American-made products over Chinese-made products and they are willing to pay a premium for products made in America.

I agree and I disagree. All that Haft says about China products is true on a micro level, but at the same time, more and more products both designed and made in China are competing worldwide. Are these top of the line products? Almost never. But they are oftentimes “quite good” products produced and sold at considerably lower prices than their competitors. Chinese brand cell phones are a perfect example of this. What about all the made in China products we buy every day that work just fine?

Unmade in China nicely debunks the notion that China’s economy is a juggernaut surpassing that of any other country. Haft takes apart this notion using cold hard facts. Of course, all one need do is Google “China’s economy” with a last six-month time restriction to see that this notion is in decline these days anyway.

   *    *    *    *

Though Haft does a good job on a micro level explaining how the US benefits from using China for so much of its product manufacturing, like so many “China people” (this blogger included), he too often glides over the bigger picture. Those of us who work with China tend to formulate China’s big picture by adding up the “little” things we experience every day, whereas economists, historians and even journalists are able to have enough distance to better survey the big picture.

*     *    *    *

Examining China on a micro level is important and Unmade in China does a very good job with that. But like so many non-fiction books I have read, it weakens by trying too hard to extend its micro analysis onto a grander, more macro stage. Does sending manufacturing to China really have no negative impact on an America where high school graduates 30 years ago worked at factories making $20 an hour, plus good benefits, but now pack boxes at warehouses for $11 an hour with minimal benefits? Does sending manufacturing to China strengthen our country? Does anyone really believe China is not slowly but surely closing the gap on product quality? What will happen then? Unmade in China does not seriously discuss these big issues.

Again, to read my whole review, go here.

Nothing is written in stone.
            Rule No. 1. Nothing is written in stone.

Not sure why, but we have gotten a rash of questions lately from readers wanting to know our policy on comments. Let me start by saying that we do not really have a formal policy and that much depends on who is monitoring the comments on any particular day. I guess if I had to sum it up, we strive not to be arbitrary and capricious.

But if we were to be forced to analyze our commenting policies in writing, I suspect it would look a lot like the below (in parts borrowed heavily from multiple other sites):

We strongly encourage you to comment on our posts as we very much want to be an open forum for discussion and debate. We do expect you to keep the discussion civil and we generally do enforce the following basic rules.

  1. No hate speech.
  2. No selling anything.
  3. No spam. 99 times out of 100, if you give a “selling link” we will delete it even if we keep the rest of your comment.
  4. No slamming anyone by name unless for something someone said. In other words, if you say that so and so owes you $50,000 and is a deadbeat, we delete it. If you say that such and such Chinese company gave you bad product, we delete that. We just don’t think it fair to allow one side in a dispute to provide their facts on our blog.
  5. There are a few people we find so terminally obnoxious or dishonest that we have banned them permanently for this reason and when they post comments under fake names (yes we can usually tell) we delete those also, oftentimes just because we feel like it.
  6. We sometimes (and trust us when we say we hate this) will “modify” or even delete a comment if we believe it could lead us being taken down in a particular country (one guess) that does that from time to time with websites it does not like. This is very rarely done, but sadly, it is every once in a while necessary. Our view is that it is more important to keep that channel open than to have it be closed and we have heard from a large number of people, especially Chinese lawyers who have expressed this same opinion about our blog to us.

We never delete a comment just because we disagree with it or do not like it. Dissenting opinions are not only welcome, they are very much appreciated as they enliven the discussion. It pains us at times to post comments when we know the advice given in them is wrong, but we post those as well, both here and on our China Law Blog Linkedin Group (please consider joining as it’s great!). We long ago decided that our readers are adults capable of making their own decisions.

As you have no doubt noticed, we utilize Disqus for our commenting system and we do this for the following reasons:

  1. It just works. It makes discussions easy to follow and to share.
  2. It puts Disqus in charge of maintaining user information.
  3. Disqus has a good spam filter.

We hold ALL comments for moderation and so there is no need for you to post your comments twice (or eight times either) and unless it has been longer than 24 hours since you posted your comment, there is also no need for you to write us accusing us of having censored your comment. We review all comments before they go live and we generally do this only 1-3 times per day. the comments two or three times per day. What this means is your comment might sit for a couple hours before I can review it. Your patience is appreciated.

We seldom comment ourselves or respond to individual comments simply because we don’t have the time. We also think it best to let our readers control the discussion.

Above all else, please always feel free to contact us with any concerns or suggestions.

“Paranoia is just having the right information.”
― William S. Burroughs

The lawyer’s job is to discern risk and help their clients to avoid them. Put another way, we are both trained and paid to be paranoid.

When traveling to China, you must protect your data.
When traveling to China, you must protect your data.

Years ago, when I was in Tokyo on a particularly sensitive matter, I left my hotel room as I had done pretty much every day for the last 7-8 days and starting walking to my subway stop. Then for some reason I got a strange feeling about having left my laptop computer in my hotel room and I decided to return. When I did, there were two very well dressed men wearing black suits and ties looking at my turned on laptop. I immediately asked them (in English) what the ____ they were doing in my room and one of them responded in shockingly good English that they were with the hotel and just checking on my internet. To this day, I have little doubt that they were with Japan’s Secret Service.

I just read a lawyer-written article, Privacy Tip #15 – Protecting your privacy during holiday travel, that provides some good tips for maintaining your privacy when you travel. The article lists out the following, with my comments in italics:

  • Don’t leave your laptop, tablet. USB drive, other removable media or mobile phone in your car trunk. I never ever ever put anything in the trunk of a taxi or other car. I take it all with me and put it on the seat.
  • Don’t leave your laptop, tablet or mobile phone unattended on a plane or train. Agreed. In addition to this, you should make sure to constantly remove sensitive data from your devices and store it elsewhere
  • Use complex passwords on all devices so if you forget them or they are stolen, your data is not immediately vulnerable and accessible. This should go without saying.
  • Be careful not to store or leave your devices in the seat pockets of airplanes or trains. This is indeed a good thing to guard against. 
  • Destroy your travel documents (including boarding passes) when you are finished with them by shredding them. I rip mine up in the airplane and give half to the flight attendant and dump the other half in the first garbage can I see upon disembarking.
  • Lock your laptop and other mobile devices in your hotel safe. Hotel safes are not as safe as widely believed. Which is why stripping your devices of confidential information and using complex passwords is always critical.
  • Wipe your laptop before and after you travel to high risk areas such as China, Russia, the Ukraine, Iran or Iraq. Agreed. Just not sure there are any low risk areas. 
  • Use your VPN connection any time you are accessing your company information and not free wifi. Agreed. When I am out of the country, there are certain websites I will not check under any circumstances. I instead request that other lawyers or staff go to those sites for me and report back or I ask them to send me what I need. 
  • Frequently update your virus and firewall protections.  Good idea.

When going to China and to many other countries as well, I assume my hotel room and my phones (including my own cell phone) is bugged and my internet is monitored. I assume the worst and I take every measure I can to be careful. I have plenty of stories to tell involving people who were not careful about their data.

1. Many years ago, I was staying on the business floor of the Hotel Lotte in Pusan, Korea. Back then this floor had a couple of computers for its guests. I got on one of those computers (to read the news) and the first thing that popped up was a letter written by a Seattle company revealing information I know they would not have wanted me (or anyone else) to see. Someone from this company had written this letter on the computer (in Word format) and simply left it there. Not smart.

2. Many times I have gotten on the internet at an airport computer and been let right into someone’s webmail account. Not smart.

3. I once found a memory stick in the desk drawer of my hotel in Shanghai that contained an incredible amount of information on a European plastics company. Another time, on the floor of my hotel room in Los Angeles, I found a USB stick from a leading fashion company, listing out who at the company should be kept and who should be laid off. Not smart.

3. A stockbroker I know was sent an email by a rival stockbroker, urging my stockbroker friend to oppose some proposed law that would strike hard at those with massive net worth. The stockbroker who sent out this email cc’ed it to a half dozen or so of his clients and my friend figured these were people with the requisite massive net worth and he cold-called them for their business. He ended up getting a great client with this tactic. Not smart.

4. Many years ago, a client of ours discovered one of its employees was running a rival business within my client’s business. My client then arranged for this employee to bring his two company laptops to the office and then when the employee went out to lunch, my client locked him out. You would not even believe the stuff we found on those laptops. I am talking both business and personal. Very, very personal. Naked photos with mistress personal. Not smart.

5. Many years ago, I was going to a particular city in a former Communist country and my client and I agreed that, above all else, I should completely avoid meeting with or even talking to “Oleg” [made up name here]. I had to go to this city, but I was going to be there for only two days. I fly in, walk into my hotel lobby and, before I can even check in, two people come up to me and say that Oleg will be coming by to take me to dinner at 7:00 pm. I felt I had to go at that point and when I asked Oleg how he knew of my arrival, he said that he gets emailed the list of all foreigners as soon as they arrive. Oleg runs a very successful private business. The moral of this story is that you should never assume that you can go into a country completely unnoticed.

The New York Times did an article a few years ago, Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery, detailing the steps Kenneth Lieberthal takes before going to China:

He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, “the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop.”

What do you do to protect your data and your privacy when you travel?


Tell Mark Rothko that color shades don't matter.
Mark Rothko knew that color shades matter.

Yesterday’s post, China’s New NGO Law and Calculating China Business Risks, talked of how really good micro posts on what at first appear to be small topics can when done well serve as a great platform for understanding how to do business in China overall. Today’s post has the same theme.

The micro post is by Jacob Yount, who helps foreign companies source their promotional products from China. That alone is micro but the post is more micro still in that it talks about how to avoid color confusion. That’s right, the post, appropriately entitled Color Confusion in China Manufacturing is about how to make sure that your China manufacturer gets your color right? Now before you stop reading believing that this post has nothing to do with you, let me tell you that it most certainly does.

One of my standby speeches is on How to Succeed in Sourcing Product from China and one of my favorite stories in that speech involves — you guessed it — color confusion. The story goes something like this:

Many many years ago, a U.S. company out of North Carolina called me wanting my firm’s China lawyers to pursue litigation against a Chinese company that had provided the U.S. company with “bad” shirts. What was bad about the shirts was the color. This U.S. company had sent a sample shirt to a Chinese manufacturer and the Chinese manufacturer in turn had made its own sample shirt (or maybe it had just bought a sample shirt elsewhere, something that is not terribly uncommon) and sent that to the U.S. company. The U.S. company liked the sample shirt and then ordered another million dollars or so more of them.

Well when the shirts arrived the U.S. company had a major problem. You see we are talking North Carolina here and as every college basketball fan knows, the University of North Carolina has its own specific shade of blue, with its own name. It’s called Carolina blue and my just mentioning it here immediately conjures up images of Indiana University’s Dan Dakich holding Michael Jordan to 13 points. But that color obviously holds a different but equally visceral meaning for the people who would buy a blue University of North Carolina jersey. And let me tell you, those people are not going to buy a North Carolina jersey that is not the exact color of Carolina blue.

And that was the problem with the million dollars of shirts this U.S. company had bought and paid for. They were blue all right, but they were not Carolina blue. That meant that instead of this U.S. company being able to sell them for maybe $30, he would maybe be able to get $3 a shirt. The U.S. company had obviously suffered major damages.

But my firm turned down the case because we did not want it on a contingency fee basis and we also did not want to charge our hourly rates on a case we did not think could be won? Why would it be so difficult to win? Because generally if you are in front of a Chinese court and something is not specifically in your OEM contract (in Chinese) with your Chinese manufacturer, it essentially does not exist. What you want if you are going to be suing a Chinese manufacturer in a Chinese court is a written contract, in Chinese, sealed/chopped by your Chinese manufacturer (see China Contract Signing Formalities: You are not in Kansas anymore) that describes in excruciating detail exactly what the product you are having manufactured should be. In other words, you need a China contract that works. This poor guy in North Carolina had only some emails written in English saying that he wanted his shirts to be like “the samples.” What samples?

Note that this North Carolina company could have sued its Chinese manufacturer in a U.S. court and won. However, because China does not enforce U.S. judgments, and because this Chinese shirt manufacturer did not have any assets in the United States, the U.S. judgment would have been worth less than the paper on which it was printed. Yes, the NC company was stuck, out nearly a million dollars over a few shades of blue.

I tell the above story to emphasize how China and its laws are so different from the United States and Europe and how Western companies so often lose big money by just assuming that they can do things with Chinese companies just as they do things with American or European companies. I use this micro story to writ large on how to operate when doing business with China.

Jacob Yount writes about sourcing promotional products from China to instruct on how to source promotional products from China, but he so knows his stuff and explains it so clearly that what he writes often goes well beyond that, and his color post is a great example of that. Yount starts his post describing what both he and the China attorneys at my firm so often hear and then recognizing that his post likely will apply well beyond promotional products:

“But I gave the factory the Pantone number!”

In the trials and tribulations of China manufacturing when a buyer finds out the color of their sample, or, even worse their production is “off”, this is a common exclamation.

Perhaps not completely wrong, but not completely right.

The result is a color that is deemed different from the official Pantone. Why is this?

Is it the typical that “factories don’t care”. Or, “they didn’t pay attention”.

Or is there more to it?As always, most of my posts are geared towards the Promotional Product Industry, but undoubtedly this will ring true across the board where color matching is critical.

Going in to my 15th year of working and manufacturing from China, here are some of the basic points and lessons I’ve learned on color mixing and matching.

Yount then explains in painstaking (but necessary) detail how you can minimize your risk of getting the wrong color product from your China supplier. To summarize, Yount emphasizes the need to use multiple strategies to make sure that your Chinese factory knows exactly what you want and the importance to you that you get it.

To which I would only add that once you have done all that Yount mandates, you appropriately memorialize it in a China-centric contract. Do all that and you will greatly minimize the likelihood of your seeing some variation of red the next time you have your product manufactured in China.

Shanghai's French Concession. A nice place to live in Shanghai.
The French Concession: a nice place to live in Shanghai.

For years now, I have been recommending the Global Property Guide as a good first stop to my residential real estate developer clients and to anyone else who asks me about China residential real estate. I did so yet again today. And then I realized that I have never listed it on here for everyone else, so I am doing so now.

This site is a terrific first (maybe even second) stop for anyone interested in international residential real estate. Within its site it contains just about every residential real estate statistic and prediction on just about any country you could ever want.

If you are contemplating buying, selling, or renting a property in any major city in the world, I recommend you at least check out the Global Property Guide. It makes for a good initial China property guide as well, and here is their China real estate page.

How to get a 72 hour China visa.
How to get a 72 hour China visa.

I have on two occasions “bopped” into Beijing on a 72 hour visa and it was fantastic both times. My first time was very soon after China started allowing these visas and I was extremely worried because I would be entering China without even having booked my flight out of China. But instead of being tossed out, I was whisked through. I was the only one in the 72 hour line and that meant I got into China faster than all but a few who already had a longer term visa. The second time was not dissimilar. But the rules for 72 hour visas are complicated and somewhat limited.

The lawandborder blog though has all the answers, in its aptly titled post, China’s 72-Hour Visa Waiver Program (Updated). The post lists the following cities as qualifying for the 72 hour visa:

  • Beijing
  • Chengdu
  • Chongqing
  • Dalian
  • Guangzhou
  • Guilin
  • Hangzhou
  • Kunming
  • Nanjing
  • Shanghai Pudong and Hongqiao airports
  • Shenyang
  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Xiamen
  • Xian

The key thing to remember about these visas is that you are not allowed to go outside of your entry city. In other words, if you enter into China on a 72 hour visa in Beijing, you are not supposed to go even to Tianjin. The rules are now clear that you are required to have “a ticket proving an onward flight from the same China city to a ‘third country or region’ (not the originating country and not in Mainland China) with a confirmed date and seat within 72 hours of arrival. The arriving and departing tickets may be on different airlines. If required, you must also possess a visa for the third country or region.” But like I said, the first time I entered with a 72 hour visa I had no such return ticket and I was never asked about it. I do not even recall being asked the second time either, though of that I am not certain.

Anyway, if you want to get more details about China’s 72 hour visa rules, I strongly recommend you go here and read all that is in the main body of the post, plus the questions asked (and answered) in the comment section.


China outbound investment has been on a straight line increase for years. But to what countries and industry sectors is all that money sloshing? Well with the China Global Investment Tracker, you now have a handy way to determine this. This quasi-interactive map/graphic tells all you might want to know about Chinese outbound investment:

China outbound foreign direct investment, by country and by sector.
China outbound foreign direct investment

The China Global Investment Tracker is the only comprehensive data set covering China’s global investment and construction activity. Inaugurated in 2005, the CGIT now includes approximately 1,600 large transactions worth well over $1 trillion across energy, real estate, high-tech, and other industries, as well as more than 150 troubled transactions. The full list of transactions, including the amount, the parent investor, the host country, and the sector, is available for public use with the proper citation. The tracker is published by the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

The interactive map filters investments and construction by sector, region, country, and year.

If you want the scoop on what China is investing in via foreign direct investment, I recommend you go here.

It is both easy and important to be critical of China. But in being so, it is also easy to ignore the amazing strides China has made on so many fronts, including health care. I thought of that today when I received an email on two China healthcare studies published today in Lancet. To review the studies, go here and here.

China deserves a thumbs up for its progress in health care.
China deserves a thumbs up for its progress in health care.

I am going to parrot back what the email said because it does an excellent job of relaying the studies results and because so much of it is important. That email stated the following:

China has made enormous strides in health over the course of the past three decades, including a significant drop in child mortality, a leap in life expectancy, and a sizable shift in the pattern of causes of death. But these gains are not shared equally among China’s provinces, some of which have health records similar to many developing countries, while others resemble the United States or Western Europe.

The studies, published in The Lancet today, were conducted by researchers in China and the U.S. and led by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China’s National Office for Maternal and Child Health Surveillance, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

The study, “Under-5 mortality in 2851 Chinese counties, 1996–2012: a modeling study for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013” is the first-ever analysis of the mortality rate in children under 5 in China at the county level. The study reveals that declines in the child mortality rate have been much faster than expected, even after gains in GDP and improvements in education are taken into account. Between 1996 and 2013, the mortality rate for Chinese children under 5 decreased by 70%, easily outpacing the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.

Child mortality has fallen dramatically even among China’s minority groups, despite the fact that these groups are usually the hardest to reach. In Huangpu District in Shanghai, which had the lowest child mortality rate in 2012, there were only 3.3 deaths per 1,000 live-births. This is similar to rates in Australia or Germany. In all, 2,506 Chinese counties are on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target by 2015. However, progress is remarkably different across China’s 2,851 counties.

The study also shows that not all of this progress is due to economic growth and increases in income and women’s education. In fact, 83% of China’s counties achieved lower child mortality than expected based on income per person and maternal education. This highlights the importance of policies that accelerate access to life-saving interventions such as vaccinations, breastfeeding, and antibiotics for pneumonia.

According to Professor Jun Zhu from the National Office for Maternal and Child Health Surveillance of China, one of the study’s lead authors, “China has made remarkable progress in driving down the rates of mortality in children under 5 over the past three decades, but further improvements can be made. We need to focus efforts on those areas where mortality rates for children under 5 remain unacceptably high, redoubling efforts and applying the lessons of the most successful regions.”

Another study published at the same time, “Cause-specific mortality for 240 causes in China during 1990–2013: a systematic subnational analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013,” is the first attempt to analyze life expectancy and causes of death on the province level in China.

According to the study, Shanghai had the highest life expectancy in China in 2013, at 80.2 years for men and 85.2 years for women. These figures are comparable to countries such as Japan or France, which have the highest life expectancies in the world, and represent a gain of around six years on the highest life expectancies seen in China in 1990. However, large inequalities between provinces remain.

Moreover, the study reveals striking differences in the leading causes of death in different provinces. On a national level, China witnessed a marked shift in causes of death away from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases between 1990 and 2013, with the noteworthy exception of HIV. Cerebrovascular disease (the main cause of stroke) is China’s leading cause of death for both men and women, with ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as the number two and three causes.

The province-level picture of Chinese health is much more complex. Instead of one national pattern, the study illuminated five distinct, geographically defined patterns. Wealthy provinces such as Shanghai and Beijing have low mortality rates on par with the United States or South Korea. Poor, rural provinces are still battling infectious diseases, and have high rates of cerebrovascular diseases and other ailments. The three remaining patterns can be differentiated on the basis of mortality levels for four major cancers (lung, liver, stomach, and esophageal), COPD, and the ratio of cerebrovascular disease to ischemic heart diseases.

According to one of the study’s lead authors, Professor Maigeng Zhou, from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic and Noncommunicable Disease Control and Prevention, “Despite great progress, China still faces significant health challenges. As our Government works to reform the healthcare system, we need to closely examine regional trends and tackle the most prevalent and life-threatening diseases, injuries, and risk factors in specific areas. Localized health policies – informed by comprehensive, up-to-data data – will be the key to China’s continued health success.”



I say kudos for the progress. What say you?