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.