Unravelling Modern China
This book provides a comprehensive and balanced view of the main transformations that are happening in the Chinese economy today. This view has developed from more than 200 interviews and numerous surveys (based on primary data), in addition to mainstream literature by academia and consultancy companies.The general view of China is often either black or white. Global markets are generally guided by euphoria or fear. Academia are optimistic or pessimistic about China's longer-term growth potential. People believe or distrust Chinese data. These black and white pictures are, in many cases, easy to communicate (and even proved by anecdotic evidence), but are not correct.Modern China is not the result of tradeoffs but ambiguities: market-driven AND government-driven, central government AND local government control, increasing brand loyalty AND extreme price sensitivity, fall of consumption as percentage of GDP AND strong increase in consumption, export as an important driver behind longer-term development AND yet hardly visible as a determinant of today's economic growth.The aim of this book is to help readers understand the often conflicting nature of China, not only from an economic point of view, but also from political and social point of view. In this sense, it tries to give the reader an eclectic picture of China — the country of contradictions.That is a difficult task because of the linkages between reforms and the fact that there are many preconceived ideas of China, its development and choices. It is interesting to note that the further from China people are, the more negative their views towards China. This book will make clear that this pessimism is overdone. In the longer term, the author is quite positive about China's transformations, believing that the rise of China is here to stay and that this is the major factor of change of this century.