By David Sheff, Harperbusiness, $26.95
An entrepreneur profiled in this insider look at China’s technology revolution says, “The carp is leaping through the Dragon’s gate,” referring to the transformation of poor man to rich through hard work. But Bo Feng, a Chinese venture capitalist introduced to business in California, says China herself will go through that gate to become an economic superpower. Author Sheff describes the situation in China as “a delicate balance that could tip in either direction.” No one doubts the Internet will come to China, and most agree it will change the largely agrarian society — but how? That’s what Sheff explores in his profiles of three Chinese men (Feng, Edward Tian, and Wang Zhidong) working to bring the Information Age to a communist country. Not an easy feat, but in the end, they’re still at it.
Sheff says, post-book, that Tian is being considered to lead one of China Netcom’s newly independent units; Zhidong has started a new company putting companies on the Web; and Feng has shifted radically from investing in the next eBay or Amazon to nuts-and-bolts companies like systems integrators.
The Dragon’s gate may have shifted, but the carp is still leaping.