If Everybody Bought One Shoe

Graeme Browning, Author Hill & Wang $18.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8090-3735-3
Since China opened its doors to the West, American companies, spurred by visions of a market of one billion consumers, have invested in joint enterprises with the Chinese. Profound question marks hang over their success. Accounts of some of these ventures have already appeared in academic works and specialist magazines, and journalist Browning here combines information gleaned from already-published material with original interviews that she conducted in China and the U.S., providing a distillation of case histories that are well known or characteristic: Armand Hammer's Ping Shuo coal mine, AMC's Beijing Jeep plant, Gillette's Shenmei blade factory, etc. She conveys the frustrations and pitfalls of doing business in China and usefully places these within the historical perspective of the country's conflicting impulses toward tradition and reform. When straying from case histories into general cultural matters, Browning makes the occasional slip: Beijing doesn't have a Xinhua university, for example. Overall, though, the slim volume is easily accessible and provides many thought-provoking cautionary tales. ( July)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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