Thank You, China: China's Influence in the World is Decisive in the 21st Century (English Edition)

Thank You, China is the latest in a line of more than a dozen books written by former CEIBS President (European) Professor Pedro Nueno. Originally published in Spanish (and translated into English), the work is part of a new reading series published by Platforma Editorial in which selected authors express thanks to specific countries for their various contributions to the world.

Thank You, China is part case study, part personal memoir, as Prof. Nueno presents China through the lens of his nearly thirty-year journey from setting up the first Sino-European joint business management programme in Beijing to overseeing the rise of CEIBS to its position as the top business school in Asia – and one of the top schools in the world.

For many, the timing and theme of the book will almost certainly strike a chord on a number of levels. On one hand, 2018 is a key turning point in the world’s political and economic history, a time when there is increasing interest in China’s global role. On the other hand, Prof. Nueno himself has only recently stepped away from his role as CEIBS President (European), a move that has signalled the end of an era and marks an important turning point in the school’s own history.

Unsurprisingly, the story Prof. Nueno tells is deeply intertwined with the enormous transformation China has undergone during its period of economic reform as it seeks to improve the living standards of more than a billion people. In telling his story, he highlights some of the advantages China has enjoyed, some of the challenges the country has encountered, and, more importantly, how it has gone about solving the problems it has faced.

Along the way, Prof. Nueno challenges a number of myths and concerns regarding the emergence of China on the international business scene. In particular, citing cases from the retail, healthcare, tourism, and automotive industries (among others), he argues that — despite claims that China has driven out jobs from the West — in many sectors China has actually helped create jobs abroad. He also notes how projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative have helped bring not only economic opportunities, but also peace and stability to parts of the world which have historically been neglected by foreign investment.

Of course, China’s road to opening up has not always been a smooth one. With this in mind, Thank You, China offers a somewhat rare and sympathetic take on what for many Chinese (as well as Western) business leaders has been a difficult learning process — often through trial and error — as China attempts to integrate itself into the larger world economy. Moreover, the book stresses the point that if we are to learn how to work together, good relationships are needed now more than ever.

Interspersed with the book’s broader look at China are numerous personal anecdotes about meetings with various business leaders and other heads of state, including current and former Chinese presidents. Prof. Nueno’s journey offers an enjoyable behind-the-scenes look at how CEIBS (and, by proxy, business management education in China) has continued to grow and prosper in its mission to help build lasting bridges between China, Europe, and beyond.

In a world where its many contributions are often overlooked or forgotten, Thank You, China serves as a refreshing reminder of the efforts China has made from the perspective of someone who has experienced what the country has to offer first-hand. Ultimately, Thank You, China is a compact, light read for anyone with an interest in studying or doing business in China.

Co-authored: 
Position: 
Former CEIBS President (European)