The Chinese Economy

Highlights and Opportunitites

Michel Fouquin
Release Date: September 1, 1998

In 1996, China was one of the most attractive countries for foreign investment, ranking just after the United States. Today, when financial turmoil is devastating much of East Asia, China still looks like a sea of calm and prosperity. But while every large company in the world has invested in China, only a few have been successful and many have lost money. This lack of success in a presumably favorable environment raises an important question: Is China’s economic strength and stability a fact, a government-orchestrated illusion, or something in-between?

This book strives to provide a realistic assessment of China’s economy and its potential for foreign investors. It evaluates the realities of Chinese development; assesses China’s commitment to economic reform and openness, as well as its ability to keep the process under control; and evaluates the consequences on China’s close neighbors. The authors–economists from Asia, Europe, and the United States–begin by assessing China’s economic performance and reforms, including a historical and comparative perspective, a look at sources and prospects for economic growth, and an analysis of the reality and myths of China’s opening. They provide insight into foreign business opportunities and the so-called controlled transition to a more open economy. The book also focuses on the future of the relationship between China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and concludes with an analysis of Chinese development issues and options for the 21st century.

The authors include Angus Maddisson, emeritus professor at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands; Wing Thye Woo, professor at the University of California; Adam Szirmai, professor at the Eindoven University of Technology; Fan Gang, Economic Institute, Social Science Academy, Beijing; Jean Luc Dornenac, professor at the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, Paris; and Francoise Lemoine, Senior Economist at CEPII.

Michel Fouquin is deputy director of CEPII, a leading French think tank in international economics, and associate professor at the University of Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne.