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China Shakes The World: The Rise of a Hungry Nation

China Shakes The World: The Rise of a Hungry Nation [Kindle Edition]

James Kynge
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Should the U.S. worry about China? Most definitely— but, by Kynge's account, for different reasons from the ones being raised on Capitol Hill.

Book Description

Authoritative and fully up-to-date account by leading China expert on China's economic rise and how it will affect the world

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A business book that outclasses the rest 15 April 2007
Anyone unimpressed by the general run of business books will find this a refreshing exception. First up, it is beautifully crafted. James Kynge brings an evocative personal perspective to China and the Chinese. The former Financial Times bureau chief in Beijing also has a topic which is vast and important - the book's publisher has classified it as history, not business. The themes - not least how it has taken a nominally socialist bureaucracy to destroy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of foreign capitalists' intellectual property - are intriguing, amusing and insightful. The book also bravely touches on issues such as the way China is ravaging the environment, its own and that of its neighbours. A rare buy-two-copies-and-give-one-to-a-friend book that is far better than the much-hyped The World is Flat, by Thomas L. Friedman, which takes a rather banal conceit and milks it dry.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 22 May 2007
Unlike most books on China, this one does not concentrate on how to do business there, but rather on how Chinese business practices and economic prospects are affecting the whole world. Hardly a sensationalist, Mr. Kynge nevertheless arrives at highly troubling conclusions: China has vast potential for growth, but is also full of very real weaknesses - a combination that can throw the global economy into turmoil if it becomes unbalanced.

The author writes in a fluid easy to read style that grabs your attention, with personal stories and observations, while also providing enough data to make his points convincingly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enormous shift in geopolitical power 8 Oct 2007
James Kynge analyzes and illustrates brilliantly the emergence of China as a major geopolitical power. He shows that the drastic shift in economic policies under Deng came from rural farmers who used creatively the concept `collective' to found private capitalist companies. The result is now a schizophrenic one party communist State wit a capitalist economy. Its social stability can only be maintained with fast economic growth and job creation for its enormous population created by Mao's demographic policy.
The actual industrialization process causes massive population and gender shifts (urbanization resulting in a higher status for women), colossal energy demands (one Italy every year) and huge environmental problems (water, air). In a one party State, corruption and nepotism (with stolen identities) cannot be eradicated and provoke a declining trust in government.
Economically, corporations are mainly concerned with market share, not profits. They continue to (over) produce for the next surge in demand after every dip. They are also beginning to build consumer loyalty by branding their own products.
Internationally, the Chinese voracity created energy and commodities price surges worldwide. The end is not in sight. On the other hand, the bulk of the profits made with China's low cost factory army (no welfare) goes into the pockets of Western retail giants and their shareholders, leaving only 10 to 15 % for their Chinese counterparts. In the meantime, the deindustrialization of the Western world continues with massive job losses in the textile, car, computer and even the service industry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview. 10 Oct 2009
By Gregor
This book gives an general overview of the economic reforms taking place in China over the last 30 years and makes for interesting, if sobering, reading. The author describes the intensive development of the Chinese economy and and how such fast paced growth, on a massive scale, is impacting the rest of the world. China's economies of scale and sheer productivity do make you wonder how any 'developed' country can possibly compete with it in the manufacturing sector.

I find this quote telling: "Over 700 million people are thought to get by on less than $2 a day. That provides a huge pool of labour that is willing to work at pre-industrial wages in factories capable of producing goods at a speed that is thousands of times faster than was possible during the UK's Industrial Revolution some 230 years ago." To mitigate this relentless picture, some time is spent describing possible problems which may inhibit or derail future growth e.g. corruption, environmental damage, international tensions, scarce resources etc.

The raw statistics behind China however are astonishing and I would have liked more of these, possibly in tables in an appendix for ease of access. Some maps would also have been helpful to picture geographically the different regions talked about, instead of having to consult an external source.

These are niggles however. This book is very readable and conveys a lot of information for relatively few pages. The author combines business journalism and statistics with stories about individuals and their lives and careers. This really helps to provide a human context for the bigger picture he is describing. It is also well sourced with what looks to be a good bibliography. Excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars China Shakes World (Hardback) 2 Feb 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
'China Shakes The World' is a thoroughly engrossing look at China's economy and how it affects the rest of the world. Kynge's style is very fluid and easy to read and after only a few pages you are unable to stop reading. Due to living there for many years Kynge is able to infuse the various stories with personal insight and you get a good feel for many of the issues explored. Some parts of this book were pretty shocking and makes you realise just how exploited Chinese workers are. You are also left realising how interdependent the world is now and any prosperity or decline in China will have a massive impact worldwide. This book didn't have a happy ending (if you know what I mean), some political books I've read explore the issues, but finish saying how things may be turned around, but this book tended not to do that. Never-the-less, the journey to get to the end was so interesting sand insightful, I'll forgive the slightly sombre finish. Well worth a read for a deeper understanding of the Chinese economy. If you'd like to learn more about Chinese culture and society in general I recommend 'China Friend or Foe?' by Hugo de Burgh.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
I was recommended this book by a hedge funder who raved about it and had brought several copies . I gave it to like minded people
Published 6 months ago by LS WRIGLEY
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books I have read in the last year or so
I was brushing up on China for an interview and searched for a book with a high rating and less than 300 pages. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sean Slippers
4.0 out of 5 stars Vert good, if (inevitably) a little dated
Although the author does concede that writing about China is difficult given the pace at which it moves, the book is referring to event which are interesting from a historical... Read more
Published on 31 Aug 2012 by Biggie ...
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to modern China
This book is an excellent introduction to the tensions inherent in modern China. The press, and other, reviews are written by sinologists more informed than I so I defer to their... Read more
Published on 23 Jun 2012 by markcumisky
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely terrific book
I was really impressed with this excellent and incredibly readable book. The author is very positive about the global impacts fo China's rise and clearly has huge passion for the... Read more
Published on 24 May 2012 by Miss Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars An Illuminating book about Modern China
This is a great book about China and it's impact on the rest of the world - both positive and negative. Read more
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by Baraniecki Mark Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Superb overview on this emerging superpower, after a week of reading this book you will have a sound understanding of both the motivators and barriers to the potential of China to... Read more
Published on 19 Dec 2010 by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! But watch out for a dodgy cartel rubbishing this book and...
An excellent book. A few broad insights, particularly that China is struggling with a top-down system which means there's no dialogue from the grassroots up which in turn means... Read more
Published on 19 July 2010 by lovetolearn
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Informative and Readable Book on Modern China
Finding a decent book to learn more about a developing country can often be a double edged sword. Many books you find can be extremely informative but grueling reads (often... Read more
Published on 16 April 2010 by D. J. Simons
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but not necessarily useful
When Kynge writes about China, he clearly knows his subject. He has spent many years living and working there, speaks the language and knows the people. Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2009 by G. D. Norris
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