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The China Paradox

At the Front Line of Economic Transformation

If your business has anything to do with China or you simply seek to understand the rise of China, you need to read this book.

In The China Paradox, business strategist and historian Dr. Paul G. Clifford uses vivid examples from his deep experience in China to lay bare the delicate and fragile balance of forces which lie at the heart of China’s success. He explains how, against all the odds, the ruling Communist Party boldly led the economic reforms as the surest way to preserve their grip on power. This flourishing of China’s hybrid developmental model is placed firmly in the historical context, shedding light on the legacies that thwarted earlier attempts at change and which today still threaten to render the progress unsustainable. China is taking its place on the world economic stage, displaying business acumen and innovation. But China’s un-reformed political governance, coupled with the challenges resulting from breakneck growth, may hamper the nation’s ability to realize its potential and impact its longer-term prospects. This book is for anyone who needs to understand how China competes, anyone with business or other affairs in China, and anyone involved in foreign trade will benefit from this book.

Click to read the author's article on Open Democracy:


Click here to see a related article in the South China Morning Post:


Author Information

Paul G. Clifford, Non-resident Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, and President, Paul G. Clifford & Associates


Prof. David Shambaugh, George Washington University:

"In this first-hand account based on years of working in China, Paul Clifford takes the reader deep inside the belly of the beast--China's industrial economy state-owned enterprise system. This well-written and engrossing inside account should be read by all China watchers."

Prof. Peter Nolan, University of Cambridge:

Dr. Clifford is a scholar with a deep knowledge of Chinese history and culture, who entered the business world at a time of dramatic change in China's political economy. His rich business experience in China across a range of industrial sectors combined with his deep scholarly understanding make this a uniquely insightful book. The insights are far more original and interesting than those of other studies in this field.

Prof. Edward S. Steinfeld, Brown University:

"The China Paradox, while offering an important framing narrative for understanding China’s developmental trajectory, explains that narrative through fascinating firm-level examples and case-studies, ones that alone make the book an essential read for anybody trying to understand contemporary China.  The China Paradox introduces fresh perspectives just when such new thinking — given the turbulent nature of our present moment globally — is most urgently needed."

Prof. Anthony Saich, Harvard University:

"Clifford’s decades of engagement with China allows him to present the reader with a deeper understanding of the contradictory forces that have made the China of today. Can The China Paradox persist? His sobering analysis of the pros and cons make this a book worth reading for anyone with an interest in China’s future trajectory and its potential impact on the world."

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Audience: Those with business dealings with or in China, those involved in foreign trade, those studying international business.