Death By China: really?

The new Trump team

“Death By China” is again in the news. Sino-US trade frictions loom with Trump’s new pick for policy adviser, as explained in the SCMP:
Appointment of China critic Peter Navarro points to more bilateral tensions ahead, analyst says.
22 December 2016,

Peter Navarro

The professor is the author of “Death By China: How America Lost Its Manufacturing Base” (2011)
See the Official Version  of the documentary (in China you need VPN):

I did watch the entire documentary and can only say it is pretty harsh on China and at least a part of his statements are simply dead wrong, e.g. his take on Apple and Foxconn.
However he could find some supporters in the foreign business community for some of his criticism. Anyway Chinese officials better not simply dismiss the whole thing but instead have a close look.

More from Navarro

Peter Navarro is a professor at the Merage School of Business at the University of California-Irvine. With a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, this distinguished macroeconomist has written extensively on Asia as well as lived and worked there.


His other book: “Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World” (2015)

It says there:
Will there be war with China? The Crouching Tiger book provides the most complete and accurate assessment of the probability of conflict between the United States and the rising Asian superpower. Equally important, it lays out an in-depth analysis of the possible pathways to peace. Written like a geopolitical detective story, the narrative encourages reader interaction by starting each chapter with an intriguing question that often challenge conventional wisdom. Based on interviews with more than thirty top experts, the author highlights a number of disturbing facts about China’s recent military buildup and the shifting balance of power in Asia: the Chinese are deploying game-changing “carrier killer” ballistic missiles; some of America’s supposed allies in Europe and Asia are selling highly lethal weapons systems to China in a perverse twist on globalization; and, on the U.S. side, debilitating cutbacks in the military budget send a message to the world that America is not serious about its “pivot to Asia.”

And so on.
Oh well, not planning to buy his book(s). Let’s see what he will really do. And good luck to him. He will need it.

Prof. Dr. Taco C.R. van Someren in our Rotary lunch

Author van Someren, from The Netherlands, was the speaker on 8 October in our Beijing Rotary Club. His speech was pretty interesting and received a lot of attention from our members.

Prof. Dr Taco van Someren is the founder of Ynnovate, see see and this introduction:
“He is an expert in strategic innovation and China business development specialized in environment, energy and water sector. He is good at new business development and has an extended experience with cross cultural project management based on his international career at Rothmans International, KPMG, Ynnovate and Universities. He is professor on strategic innovation and sustainability in Chinese and Dutch universities.”
He introduced his book “Green China – Sustainable Growth in East and West”.
The book flyer presents it as follows:

  • Intriguing ideas for dealing with Green China for managers, politicians and academics
  • Unique insight in both Chinese and Western decision making on high level in government and corporations
  • Focus on creation of competitive advantage while dealing with the new trend of green economy and creating new firms and industries
  • Written by authors with experience in academia and industry in China and Europe

“After the agricultural and industrial revolution, China is creating the third growth wave based on sustainability. This greening of the Chinese economy offers threats and opportunities for Western organizations. Getting a piece of this new cake requires strategic innovations in both policy and corporate strategy. Based on the theory of strategic innovation and their extensive practical experiences in doing business with China, the authors propose potential areas and activities for strategic innovation in the West in response to Green China.
As my own book “Toxic Capitalism” also addresses environmental issues (with a focus on the horrors of pollution of China), I listened with interest. His angle is more towards business. As I am a bit cynical on how the Chinese system works, I am still not sure what real opportunities exist for foreign companies and how much they can share of the cake. But for sure, sustainability is high on the Chinese agenda, as I explain in my book, and some foreign companies do have something to offer. See for example the whole story of urbanization, eco-cities and so on. All nice but… as I discussed today in the French Embassy, what in it for us? Companies involved in water treatment and related do have opportunities, just to give one example. But like the e-vehicles, as I commented today, once again foreigners are squeezed out of the real market, not to wonder why sales are not picking up – do not blame only the lack of charging stations.
Checking the price of his (printed) book, a bit on the high side. And a “Printed eBook” available only to apparently a very limited public (at €24.95, name your currency but the amount is always the same!) is also new for me. My e-book: just over US$3. So as a publisher, raise some questions on how they operate.
Prof. van Someren also co-published “Innovative China – Innovation Race Between East and West”, among other works.

James McGregor talking in our Rotary Club

On 24 September 2013 we welcomed James in our Rotary Club of Beijing. Follows his introduction on LinkedIn.
James McGregor is an American author, journalist and businessman who has lived in China for more than 25 years. He is chairman of APCO Worldwide, Greater China and a senior advisor to Pacific Epoch. A professional speaker and commentator who specializes in China’s business, politics and society, he regularly appears in the media to discuss China-related topics. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic.
McGregor is the author of the books “No Ancient Wisdom, No Followers: The Challenges of Chinese Authoritarian Capitalism” (2012) and “One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China” (2005). He also wrote the 2010 report “China’s Drive for ‘Indigenous Innovation’ – A Web of Industrial Policies.”
From 1987 to 1990 McGregor served as The Wall Street Journal’s bureau chief in Taiwan, and from 1990 to 1994 as the paper’s bureau chief in Mainland China. From 1994 to 2000, he was chief executive of Dow Jones & Company in China. After leaving Dow Jones, he was China managing partner for GIV Venture Partners, a $140 million venture capital fund specializing in the Chinese Internet and technology outsourcing.
In 1996, McGregor was elected as chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. He also served for a decade as a governor of that organization. He is a member of the Atlantic Council, Council on Foreign Relations, National Committee on US-China Relations and International Council of the Asia Society. He serves on a variety of China-related advisory boards. He and his family live in Beijing.

James gave an eloquent and nicely packaged overview on the present political and business environment in China. Basically I share nearly all of his views. And oh well, he did not say anything I did not know myself (and also talk about in seminars, even in greater detail). But of course I am not “James McGregor”, I am just modest Gilbert. And as we say in Flemish: “You are never a prophet in your own land”.
He also referred the study “China 2030” that is covered pretty well in my book Toxic Capitalism. And that was written 18 months ago, and now people talk about it.

FCCC Members’ Portraits

See here part of the FCCC Newsletter. Gilbert is one of the “18 Flemish companies”.

FCCC Newsletter No 202, 13 December 2010
The Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce (FCCC) and VOKA Antwerp Chamber of Commerce organized a conference on “Doing business with China” on December 2, 2010 at the VOKA Antwerp Chamber of Commerce. On this occasion, two publications were launched:
– A practical guide on doing business with China
– FCCC Members’ Portraits in China
In the book “FCCC Members’ Portraits in China”, the Chamber presents the activities of 18 Flemish companies which have already made it in China. The book contains valuable information on how they tackled the highly competitive and difficult Chinese market. The man or woman on the ground in China also reveals tips and tricks about doing business in China, based on his or her experience in China. The managers who pulled of the success story of their companies in China also list their favorite book about China, there favorite restaurant in China and their favorite place in China, presenting the reader a lot of tips on books, restaurants and places.
Managers of member companies of the Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce based in China are doing an excellent job. Unfortunately, not much of their achievements filters through in the mainstream press. Some are responsible for the business of tens of wholly-owned companies and joint ventures. Others founded their own consultancy and have barely a few employees. Some have been in China for more than 20 years, have married Chinese women and have made the Middle Kingdom there second home. Others have done stints of three or four years in the country, coming from another assignment abroad and moving on to the next stage in their expatriate career. Diverse as those managers are, do they have anything in common? The interviews show that they are all very dedicated and hard working. They make it a point of honor to listen to their Chinese colleagues and employees. They don’t come to China with a fixed and arrogant attitude. On the contrary, they are flexible and quickly adapt to the Chinese business world. That is one of the main reasons why they are successful. Read the book and find out the details. As many of the managers in this book explain, doing business in China is not that different from doing business elsewhere. To be successful and make a profit you have to do your homework. “FCCC Members’ Portraits in China” shows how they did it.
The price of the China Guide is €50, including a complementary copy of FCCC Members’ Portraits. FCCC members can also receive a free copy of FCCC Members’ Portraits separately. The guide to doing business in China and the FCCC Members’ Portraits can be ordered via

When China Rules the World

Intro from EUCCC:
On 30 Nov 09 the EUCCC/Britcham invited author and Asia commentator Martin Jacques on the subject of his new book When China Rules the World.
According to even the most conservative estimates, China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy by 2027 and will ascend to the position of world economic leader by 2050. But the full repercussions of China’s ascendancy-for itself and the rest of the globe-have been surprisingly little explained or understood.
In his far-reaching and original new book, Martin Jacques offers provocative answers to some of the most pressing questions about China’s growing place on the world stage.
In this work he offers his views on how China will seek to shape the world in its own image, an image that has been shaped by a long and rich history as a civilization state.
He argues that, as a culturally self-confident Asian giant with a billion-plus population, China will likely resist globalization as we know it. This exceptionalism will have powerful ramifications for the rest of the world and the United States in particular. As China is already emerging as the new center of the East Asian economy, the mantle of economic and, therefore, cultural relevance will in our lifetimes begin to pass from London and Paris to cities like Beijing and Shanghai. This transition, Jacques argues, will determine whether the twenty-first century will be relatively peaceful or fraught with tension, instability, and danger.
About the speaker:
Martin Jacques is currently a visiting research fellow at the London School of Economics Asia Research Centre. He has recently been a visiting professor at Renmin University, Aichi University and at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, and was a senior visiting research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He was editor of the highly respected journal Marxism Today until its closure in 1991. He has written for numerous influential newspapers, journals and magazines and is the author of four books of political commentary.
My comments
My friend Curt (big fan of the author!) gave me the book as a present, he signed it and I also asked the author to sign it. I only read part of it, till now.
Martin is a very good speaker; I won’t give here the full report on his presentation, only some (personal) highlights:
– China will be distinctive and different (as a world power and country); it’s a “civilization state” – agree
– China is a massive country but exceptionally unified through its long history and culture that unifies its vast population; Europe is on the contrary much more fragmented – agree
– Mandarin could become the lingua franca in the region – agree but don’t like it
– South East Asia, Australia and other countries have become very dependent on China (economically) – agree
– 95% of the population feels itself as “Han Chinese” despite the many different ethnicities – disagree, they feel “Chinese” but don’t talk in the way to feel “Han”
– the Chinese are overall not very open to different cultures – agree
– the State in China has a near spiritual role to play and in this respect has little competition; the State has a higher state competence than any other country – mostly agree
– we see the beginning of the decline of the USA as the dominant world power (nobody talks much about the EU…) and the emergence of China who however does not yet want to replace the USA in its (present) role – mostly agree (some Americans are going to like the book but could help the paranoid to call for a stronger military…)
– it is the end of the world, shaped by a Western agenda; in the past the shift was from the UK to the USA, but how will the next shift be? – probably right
– Unlike Americans (and other Westerners?) the Chinese do not ask themselves who they really are – they don’t need to do so – mostly right
– the CCP re-invented itself after Mao’s death – mostly agree
– Confucianism: state-centric and focus on good governance – mostly agree
– overall the book touches not so much on China as a society as I try in my (upcoming?) book; it’s more focused on economy and world power / international balance between the major powers.

Now I still need to read the book! But I already know who invented golf…