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

Chinese author Zong Pu and our family

Very happy to read the following article in China Daily.
Ms. Feng and her daughter are all very close family, so were her late father and husband.

wishing Zong Pu Happy Chinese New Year at her home

wishing Zong Pu Happy Chinese New Year at her home

See here picture taken with her and her daughter along with our family earlier this year. Search in this blog for Zong Pu to find earlier entries.
3 December 2009 – Author, 81, releases long-awaited book
By Yi Selie (China Daily)
After waiting anxiously for nine years, fans of Chinese author Zong Pu were thrilled to hear that the 81-year-old writer has published the third of her four-novel series, Prelude of Wild Calabash (Ye Hu Lu Yin).
Most introductions of the writer, whose real name is Feng Zhongpu, invariably begin with her father Feng Youlan (1895-1990), one of the most important philosophers and educators in modern Chinese history. Indeed, a lot of her writing has been about her prestigious family.
The Tale of Marching West (Xi Zheng Ji), published by People’s Literature Publishing House, in May, again proves that Zong Pu is an outstanding writer whose eloquent language is rarely seen in today’s literary world and whose patriotism never fails to move readers.
Set in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), the series revolves around the lives of teachers and students of the National Southwestern Associated University (Xinan Lianda), which was founded in Kunming, Yunnan province, and modeled after the Peking, Tsinghua and Nankai universities.
The series can be seen as an autobiography, with the author as Mei, the second daughter of Meng Yue, a professor of history, who is clearly based on the author’s father.
The book describes a dangerous time in the nation’s history and brings alive a period which would otherwise hold little interest to today’s young readers.
The previous two books, Tale of Wading to the South (Nan Du Ji) and Tale of Hiding in the East (Dong Cang Ji) were completed in 1987 and 2000 and have already won the nation’s most coveted Mao Dun Literature Award.
They invoke the horrors the invaders inflicted and the scholars’ reactions: Some became traitors and amassed fortunes, some remained in classrooms bombed by the Japanese, while others went to the battle front.
The third book is more exciting as the narrative is no longer confined to campus life but is expanded to cover farmers, chefs, generals, gorilla fighters, minority chieftains and Allied Forces officers.
It details how the heroic Flying Tigers and other American volunteers helped the Chinese regain control of the transportation line linking China with Southeast Asia.
Mei joins other students to go to the battlefield and becomes a nurse. Once, she is swept away by floods and is saved by a girl of the Dai minority. The two hide in the deep mountains and witness the crash of a fighter jet. They try to save American officer Benjamin Paine’s life, but the lack of medicine and continuous rain claims the handsome young man.
Mei’s cousin Weiwei, a top student at the university, worked as translator for American military experts. In a bloody street battle, the American captain dies trying to set up a telephone line. Weiwei dashes into the rain of bullets to complete the task, at the cost of his own life.
There are many memorable characters in the book, like Lao Zhan, a farmer who helps build the roads but goes insane after seeing his wife and son plummet into the Nujiang River with the retreating troops, as a vital bridge is bombed to stop the Japanese.
Then there are the teenagers, Ku Liu and Fu Liu, who miraculously lead the troops to climb impossible precipices and break into the Japanese fort atop Gaoligong Mountain.
The book’s amazing author has pulled through the years despite her deteriorating health and the loss of her father and her husband Cai Zhongde (1937-2004), a music professor and leading researcher on Feng Youlan.
Relying on her assistants to record her thoughts, Zong Pu has composed some of her best poems based on ancient rhymes. They are sure to test the skills of the best translators.
One can only hope the courageous author will soon finish the last book Tale of Returning to the North (Bei Gui Ji), which will see the teachers and students return to Beijing after the Japanese surrender, and the nation plunge into civil war.