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 […]

United Airlines, KFC and Why Winning Big in China Creates New Challenges

Earlier this year, United Airlines got massive criticism in China. The video of David Dao being dragged down an airplane aisle went viral in China, much to United’s surprise. KFC had a somewhat similar surprise last year when their China outlets suddenly got protests, a response to a ruling at the Hague. Both events highlight […]

Foreign Acquisitions and What Everyone Got Wrong About Haier’s Purchase of GE Appliances

Haier’s acquisition of GE Appliances in mid-2016 resulted in the usual stories about Chinese outbound M&A – and about China’s global ambitions. Such foreign acquisitions are almost always regarded as a type of ambition or strength. Chinese companies are going global! But sometimes such acquisitions can be a type of surrender, an acceptance that there […]

The Ruthless But Entertaining Fight to Become the “FedEx of China” (Part 1)

SF Express, YTO, and the other China express delivery majors have been racing to go public. Faced with shrinking profits and mounting competitive threats, the dream of being the “FedEx of China” is quickly morphing into an arms race in capital and capabilities. Here’s my take on what is going on and what to expect. […]

Why Did Apple Invest in Didi? Because That’s How Big Companies Start Dating.

It’s been about a year since Apple’s $1B 2016 investment in Didi Chuxing. At the time, there was a lot of discussion about the rationale for the deal. Would it garner goodwill with the Chinese government? Would it help Apple’s slowing sales in China? And so on. So what happened? It doesn’t look the deal […]

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 […]

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

*The following is an excerpt from the One Hour China Book, for which a new 2017 version is available here. In Part 1, we laid out the early history of China Vanke founder Wang Shi. Following a string of successful deals in 1980’s boomtown Shenzhen, he made his first entry into real estate in 1988. […]

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 […]