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Is China’s Sports-Craze a Real Trend or Just a Fad?

At the end of 2016, I started counting how many people on the Beijing subway were wearing sportswear. It looked like about 30% of commuting Chinese had started wearing some type of sweats or other athletic gear. And if I just counted the running shoes, it was above 50%. This was kind of confusing. Somehow […]

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Starbucks Big Success in China Has Been Surprisingly Painless

Multinationals and entrepreneurs come to China dreaming of 1.3B consumers. But what they actually encounter is a sea of ruthless competitors and pervasive political challenges and complications. It’s a ferocious market and most fail. A rare few fight their way through, ultimately arriving bloodied at a certain level of success, or at least a viable […]

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The Awesome Story of Wang Shi and China Vanke (Part 1 of 2)

*The following is an excerpt from the One Hour China Book, for which a new 2017 version is available here. “China Vanke is a real estate company that has no equivalent in the West. The company’s revenues are greater than the top four American real estate developers combined. It has built more apartments than any […]

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Taco Bell China Is Great – Better Than In The West. But That May Not Be Enough.

So it’s been +6 months since Taco Bell officially returned in China, re-opening in Shanghai approximately nine years after they closed their last China branch in 2008. Their one outlet in Liujiazui is now humming along. And as a long time Taco Bell fanboy, I felt it was high time for a visit. My assessment […]

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China Can Innovate Big Time

*The following is an excerpt from our new One Hour China Contrarian Book (which is available here.). “Jonathan Woetzel (McKinsey & Co, Peking University) and I have written three speed-read China books together. In this latest one, we have put together a collection of our essays that basically make four main contrarian points. These are: […]

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Stop Calling Me An Introvert. I Prefer “Power Thinker”.

I’m really getting sick of the term “introvert”. It sounds like someone with a problem. Like someone who is anti-social. In contrast, “extrovert” sounds outgoing and engaging. Like the CEO or student body president. Yes, I admit some of us are pretty quiet in classrooms, at dinner parties and during corporate functions. Yes, we do […]

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The Biggest Problems for Yum! China (KFC, Pizza Hut) Going Forward

Yum! China has now been spun off. And being a separate company should naturally fix many of its problems. But going forward, there are three things that still really concern me. #1 – There is no free lunch in the China restaurant business. How well you did in the past just doesn’t count for that […]

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There Is No New Chinese “Sharing Economy”. Didi, Mobike, and Others Are Classic Disruptors (Pt 1 of 2).

In the past months, there has been a lot of talk about China’s new “sharing economy”. Articles in the New York Times, Fortune, Bloomberg, and the South China Morning Post have all cited ride-sharing (Didi), bicycle rentals (ofo, Mobike), and the new micro-rental services for batteries, basketballs, and umbrellas as part of a new China […]