China business basics

Every so often, one of our China lawyers will get an email from a blog reader asking for a recommendation of THE book to read to “better understand China” or “to get a better handle on China.” These requests often come 2-3 weeks before the person is heading off to China for the first time and they oftentimes mention wanting something that will give them a quick overview.

Amazingly enough, there are a plenty of really good, really short books that qualify, including the following three:

  1. Modern China: A Very Short Introduction,  By Rana Mitter. 168 pages. 2016. Oxford Univeristy Press. Mitter is a Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China and Director of the University China Centre at the University of Oxford, authored this book and it is an excellent short history on China. It does a great job of conveying an overall sense of China in an amazingly short time.
  2. The One Hour China Book (2017 Edition): Two Peking University Professors Explain All of China Business in Six Short Stories.  By Jeffrey Towson and Jonathan Woetzel. 152 pages. 2014. This book truly does take about an hour and in that time you will gain a pretty respectable sense of what is going on business-wise in China.
  3. China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. 192 pages. Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom and Maura Cunningham. Wasserstrom is a Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine and the Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies. Cunningham is the Diigital Media Manager of the Association for Asian Studies. This book is meant to be basic and it is, but it is a good a first book as can be found and it is not in any way simplistic.

Any (and all) of these three books would make for excellent reading on an airplane flight for those heading to China for the first time. The One Hour China Book is best if you are going to China for business, but it would be good to supplement that book with one or both of the other two. If you are going to China as a tourist or to teach English or to study, I recommend reading both Modern China and China in the 21st Century.

Any others?

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Dan Harris

I am a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

I mostly represent companies doing business in emerging market countries. It has taken me many years to build my network and it takes constant communication and travel to maintain it. My work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

I was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, I am AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), I am rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (its highest rating), and I am a SuperLawyer.

I am a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and I constantly travel between the United States and Asia. I most commonly speak on China law issues and I am the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog (www.chinalawblog.com). Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed me regarding various aspects of my international law practice.

I am licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at my firm, I focus on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.