New: Book Report: One Billion Customers

I could mention that I'm over my cold, but that's not as interesting as the book One Billion Customers. Not even close.

It's a book about doing business in China in recent times a la the 90s. James McGregor was the head of... Dow Jones? WSJ? I forget now, and I returned this book to the library so I don't have it in front of me. He was the head of some financial reporting organization in China. He has a bunch of anecdotes which perhaps lend insight into the workings of modern China, and which are certainly entertaining.

The part I was most interested in was when Xinhua, the Chinese ministry of censorship, wanted to move in on their business. In China, Communism means state-run businesses. In the case of Xinhua, that meant that one organization was going into the news business and regulating the #$!) out of their competition. McGregor headed part of the competition. But the foreign financial news companies fought back, making their case to higher-ups in the government, saying that China's investors needed uncensored financial news. And the government reined in Xinhua, told them to stop shaking down the foreigners.

Stories about how to do business in China without compromising your ethics and without getting shaken down by corrupt departments of the government sure are interesting. This book has a few more interesting stories. I recommend it. The author came to give a talk at my place of employment. Afterwards, I talked with my coworker M.A. about the talk. He said that he didn't like McGregor. So maybe McGregor's not so likeable. Still, McGregor had some interesting experiences. So check this book out of the library: you can learn something and help to put McGregor into the poorhouse.

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Posted 2006-06-13