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Mr. China Paperback – 27 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; New edition edition (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849013071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849013079
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

No business history can ever have been such an enjoyable read as this. Any visiting businessman should be obliged to buy a copy before boarding the plane. (Chris Patten)

Every foreign company in China should arm its executives with a copy of this shocking, funny and culturally sympathetic account of the perils of doing business in the Wild West. (Economist)

It's got big money, charismatic capitalists, Communist apparatchiks, crime and mysterious disappearances . . . [but] it's not just a novel - it's true. (Daily Telegraph)

An instant classic. (Time)

Book Description

A new edition of this hugely successful, trend-setting business adventure

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Koetzsch on 22 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The China Dream: The Elusive Quest for the Last Great Untapped Market on Earth 'This is the true story of a tough Wall Street Banker who came to China looking for glory. Determined to surf the next big investment wave...' as quoted from the summary of the book. Tim Clissold gives a GREAT account of this business (ad)venture.

Back in the early 1990's, everyone was trying to get in on China, the idea being to buy up the assets (factories, companies etc.), help them grow the business and cash in via a listing. Assets were found after a while and joint venture partners became available. Tim Clissold's description of touring Shanghai with a bunch of Wall Street bankers is an accurate account of this process and probably the most amusing I have read.

Eventually, contracts were signed and the funds disbursed. The problems started almost immediately. You as the western party may have a very clear idea what you have agreed to contractually, your domestic partner, however, often has a very different interpretation of the same contract, no matter how watertight you think you made it. Also you may find that you invest in something different than you thought you signed for.

Tim Clissold gives an excellent and very detailed account of some of these investments - and the day after. My favourites amongst these are the 'gearbox incident' and the investment in the brake pad factory. In many of the cases described in the book you feel that every time Tim gets on top of the situation, he finds himself ten paces behind the next minute. I was not surprised that his efforts eventually led to a heart attack.
All said and read, is there money to be made in China?
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "nativechinese" on 24 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
As a native Chinese, I was really surprised to see how much Tim has understood China after all these years. I think he was very honest and objective about his opinions about the Chinese and their culture. If there are any book you need to read before you conduct business with the Chinese or in China, this is the one!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Thornhill on 30 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing and all-too-credible story of the pain of international business. I can relate to too many themes from this book.
Ultimately, this is a compilation of experiences by a novice to the Chinese market. It's a real humdinger of law-obsessed American banks verus Chinese blinkered-but-entrepreneurial reactionary thinking.
Entrepreneurial? Yes. Plus also a touch of fraud. Several major shareholder battles ensued because the Chinese didn't want to change. Just like an English business, the Chinese business just believed in the sanctity of its own existence (what the hell do customers matter?). So the Chinese just tried to take the money and run.... time and time and time again.
Most revealing of all is the language. I learnt that Chinese has only one tense: the present. Calendars appeared only in 19th century. A glass of water (p159) required an essay just to order!
A fantastic book and well worth reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Weimin Li on 29 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
As a Chinese, I can be quite sensitive when it comes to Westerners writing about China. The vast cultural differences always result in misinterpretation of Chinese culture and Chinese people. Everyone is free to write whatever they want, but objectiveness is the least I expect.
It was an equally enjoyable and touching experience to read Mr. China. What Tim described in the book, the Chinese way of doing things, the politics and the history, all seem so familiar to me, yet I’m seeing it through a Westerner’s eyes. Some of the silly things just made me laugh, and I would think, ‘I know exactly what you’re talking about!’ but there were also other things I don’t necessarily agree. I was touched by Tim’s curiosity about Chinese culture, especially right at the end when he cycled to some of the poorest rural areas and experienced his most frightening moment.
The book has focused on events from inland China, and very little was covered on the coastal cities in the southeast, which I think would provide a completely different picture. In a way, I wish the story was a bit longer. Nevertheless, I recommend this book to anyone who is interested to know more about China.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 May 2004
Format: Paperback
This book, which reads like a thriller, relates the tribulations of a Wall Street banker and his investment business in China.
The reader discovers with consternation the unstoppable disappearance of millions of dollars invested in a country that is (was?) not business- but rather 'control by one party'-oriented.
Tim Clissold gives a stunning portrait of China's industrial landscape inherited from Mao's tactical ideas (hide China's major industries in remote places) as well as from the passage from military to civilian production.
He gives also an excellent picture of the different 'management' styles of Chinese industrialists: from the bullying old Red Guard over the clever opportunist to the cunning visionary.
This book is a must read for all those interested in China's history and economic revolution and even more for those interested in doing business in a key economic world player.
Napoleon has said (citation in this book):'Let China sleep, for when she wakes up, she will shake the world'. China woke up and the stakes are formidable.
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