We just added Engaging China Blog to our blogroll and we recommend our readers check it out. Engaging China describes itself as follows:
EngagingChina aims to keep you informed about the new strategic opportunities in China’s fast-growing economy — and warn of potential pitfalls.
There are plenty of other sites that write about China. But in their enthusiasm to describe this fascinating country, readers risk not seeing the wood for the trees.
Our focus at EngagingChina is strategy, pure and simple.
And unlike other sites, we look across the range of fast-growth industries, rather than concentrating on just one. That’s because the lessons to be learned from doing business in China are rarely sector-specific.
To be sure, the challenges facing electronics companies are different from those facing investment banks or wind farms. But there are also plenty of parallels. We want to encourage this cross-fertilization by drawing readers from different industries and backgrounds.
Geoff Nairn, the founder and managing editor of Engaging China, is a veteran business journalist and long-term contributor to the Financial Times.
EngagingChina is currently operating in “stealth mode” and we plan to go live commercially in the fall of 2006.
I agree with Mr. Nairn’s views of China, but I disagree with his perceptions on the Chinese blogosphere. All Roads Lead to China, China Business Services, China Economic Review Blog [link no longer exists], and Diligence China all “look across the range of fast-growth industries, rather than concentrating on just one” and they do an excellent job of it. ImageThief and Danwei, though to a large extent focused on media, are great blogs that also often look across the range of fast-growth industries.
Having said this, however, China being as vast as it is, and as quickly changing as it is, there is definitely room for another stellar Chinese business blog, and Engaging China definitely fits that bill.
In e-mail correspondence with Mr. Nairn, I learned he is “a Brit” currently living in Spain. He has been a journalist in various European countries for nearly 20 years. For the past decade, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times (FT), “writing mostly on IT and telecoms, but also areas like renewable energy, medical innovation and financial technology.”
Mr. Nairn first became interested in what he calls the “China story,” while writing a magazine article on Cable & Wireless back in 1987. According to Mr. Nairn, C&W wanted to use Hong Kong as a springboard to into the mainland and it had built a fibre optic network in the Shenzhen SEZ. “The idea that China would one day be a huge and attractive market for western tech companies then seemed far-fetched. A decade on, I was writing about the internet boom. A clutch of China dotcoms listed on Nasdaq and the western world woke up to the advances that had been made in China’s economy.”
Mr. Nairn sees China as “impossible for western businesses to ignore” and he aims his blog at helping them better understand it.
Mr. Nairn described EngagingChina to me as follows:
It is not an “insider’s view” on doing business in China — that would be presumptuous, as I don’t live in China. Nor do I set out to exhaustively detail every Chinese announcement made by Microsoft, each new store opened by Carrefour or every mobile phone model launched in China. There are other sector-focused China sites that do that, but they are often light on analysis and sometimes one cannot see the wood for the trees. EngagingChina’s focus is strategy, pure and simple. To narrow it down, it covers a handful of sectors that are developing rapidly — IT and telecoms, China’s consumer boom, financial services, energy and the environment, and high-tech.
Engaging China has rapidly become one of my daily “must reads.” It is both thoughtful and original and I urge all readers interested in China business to check it out.