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One Billion Customers: Crucial Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China Paperback – 17 Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (17 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857883586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857883589
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 703,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"James McGregor's knowledge of how business is done in China is extraordinary. As a journalist and businessman, he witnessed first hand China's remarkable transformation in the space of two decades from a backward country to a rising economic power. With his extensive hands-on experience in China and his formidable storytelling skills, he has produced a book, "One Billion Customers," that is filled with valuable insights and advice for both knowledgeable business persons and ordinary readers interested in gaining a better understanding of China's rapidly developing market economy." Henry Kissinger, Chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc. and architect of US-China rapprochement as assistant to the president for national security affairs (1969-1975) and U.S. Secretary of State (1973-1977). "James McGregor combines long experience and an acute eye to capture one of the great dramas of our times - the interaction of China and the world economy. He offers not only insight into this relationship and how it may evolve, but also wise advice for those who would be part of it - advice to be ignored only at their peril" Daniel Yergin, Author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning The Prize and of Commanding Heights: the Battle for the World Economy "This is a defining book on how to, and how not to do, business in China. Jim McGregor brings to life the stories of the pioneering entrepreneurs who, through their efforts, expertise and errors, blazed the trails for the broader business community in one of the world's most important markets. I strongly recommend it as must-reading for anyone with a stake, an interest or a dream in China." Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce"

About the Author

James L. McGregor is a journalist-turned-businessman who has lived in Beijing for 15 years. He is currently a China business investor, advisor and entrepreneur. He serves as Senior China Advisor for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and is a Senior Director of Stonebridge International LLC, an international strategic advisory firm. He also is a founding partner of BlackInc China and was a pioneer of the Chinese Internet, serving as an advisor to many Chinese Internet startups and as a board member of during the company's NASDAQ listing. McGregor's China career began in 1985 when he backpacked through China to explore the country and decide if he wanted to learn Mandarin and focus on being a journalist in China. In 1987, he and his wife Cathy, both age 33, sold their belongings and moved to Taipei, Taiwan, with two suitcases each and began studying Mandarin. McGregor established a freelance news service, and within six months was hired as The Asia Wall Street Journal Taiwan bureau chief. In 1990, McGregor moved to Beijing as The Wall Street Journal China bureau chief. From 1994 to 2000, McGregor was chief executive of Dow Jones & Co. in China, and a vice-president in the Dow Jones International Group. Starting with himself and one assistant, McGregor built a portfolio of media businesses in China that employed some 150 Chinese professionals with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. James McGregor speaks and reads Chinese and is a frequent speaker and commentator on China.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Koetzsch on 21 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Writing books on how to do business in China is definitely a growth industry. But whereas a lot of books I have so far read on the subject dwelled on the negative side of things, James McGregor is taking a different and I think more positive angle.
For sure, there is a fair bit on joint ventures and foreign investments, which haven’t quite developed as originally envisioned, however, there is also quite a lot of information on foreign investments, which have worked out quite successfully. Furthermore there is also quite a bit on events in recent Chinese history and how these events have shaped attitudes towards foreigners.
The best part of MacGregor’s book is that at the end of each chapter there is a ‘What this means to you’ section with an analysis of the situation discussed in that chapter.
And equally important at the end of each chapter there is ‘The Little Red Book of Business’, which is a blueprint on how to do business in China. The Red Book is not to be ignored. For this alone MacGregor’s book is a jewel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By expat life-China on 24 May 2006
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book a lot. As an expat living in China today, reading a book like this is very meaningful as well as entertaining. I like the stories presented here, which do relect on the vast changes China is going through. Nonetheless, I would wish this book to go deeper and touch basic issues about doing business in China. Well, for this, I recommend another brilliant book on China by a Chinese professional/commentator: China's Global Reach by George Zhibin Gu, which offers huge insights on current China affairs in relation to global development.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By An expat based in Shanghai on 6 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
Complex. Contradictory. Confusing. For centuries, China has proven difficult for Westerners to understand.

For example, it is frightening when you read the following in One Billion Customers:

Page 23: "The belief that foreigners strong-armed their way into China in the past two hundred years in order to plunder the country's wealth is deeply ingrained in the Chinese psyche. They are taught from childhood that China was the world's mightiest empire, the best at everything, until the foreigners came knocking at the end of the eighteenth century to ruthlessly exploit a people who had done them no harm."

Page 56 (The very first piece of advice in "The Little Red Book of Business"): "Fatigue, food, and drink are negotiating tools. If your Chinese counterpart wants to finalise a deal after a mao-tai-soaked banquet, it is better to throw up on the contract than sign it."

Page 294 (one of the last pieces of advice): "The Chinese appear to the West to be a collective society. They eat together, travel together, and have fun together. But always simmering just below that collective veneer is a dog-eat-dog competitive spirit that makes the Chinese among the world's most individual and selfish people."

After reading Dr Wei Wang's The China Executive and drawing on my own 15 years of experience in China, I now understand that the Chinese people are actually one of the nicest peoples in the world because they have built their society on the basis of human-heartedness rather than any big Western-style ideology. Therefore, in the Chinese psyche are actually mutual respect and mutual benefit.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
China is where your biggest market is right now 17 May 2012
By Brian Morris - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Entrepreneurs will always find a way.
"Give me a bunch of people and I'll soon discover what they need and want. Then I'll get a supply of that stuff and sell it to them."
That is what entrepreneurs do.
This book directs your attention to China.
Entrepreneurs who sell to China will reap huge rewards.
This book shows you how to get started.
Bill Rancic is an entrepreneur. Read his story first and be inspired.
Bill Rancic, apprentice to Donald Trump
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Realistic View of Doing Business with the Chinese (in China) 18 Sept. 2006
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book provide a realistic view of doing business in China; how businesses operate and the mentality/mindset of the typical Chinese businessman.

A MUST-read for anyone (foreigner) doing business in China. Very thought-provoking and real issues.
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