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Designated Drivers: How China Plans to Dominate the Global Auto Industry


Praise for Designated Drivers

"China routinely launches new satellites into space. But the country has yet to develop a world-class car to call its own. This frustrates leaders in Beijing to no end. They want China to be the car factory for the world, yet cannot work around their own deeply contradictory policies. Greg Anderson expertly presents these complications in this highly compelling and finely researched book. If your business is China and autos, Designated Drivers is an indispensable guide to how the car business is shaped in the People's Republic of China."--Michael Dunne, President, Dunne & Company Ltd., and author of American Wheels, Chinese Roads

"In Designated Drivers, Greg Anderson manages to make sense of the complexity and contradictions of the Chinese automobile industry. Anderson is the first to capture the torturous three-way relationship among foreign multinationals, China's increasingly nationalistic industrial planners, and the ambitious and (sort of) independent Chinese carmakers. Anderson is an excellent storyteller, yet has his feet firmly planted on solid analytic ground. Highly recommended as an absorbing tale that provides real insight into the latest Chinese industrial heavyweights."--Barry Naughton, Professor of Chinese Economy and Sokwanlok Chair of Chinese International Affairs, University of California, San Diego

"China has become the center stage in the battle for dominance of the twenty-first-century global auto industry, and Greg Anderson distinguishes himself by providing a practical guide for navigating its complex structure. This book is essential reading for multinational companies seeking to compete in the largest automotive market in the world."--Bill Russo, President and CEO, Synergistics Ltd.

"More than a thorough accounting of China's automotive ambitions, Designated Drivers is a primer on the quintessential challenge China presents to the West across every sector: understanding the logic and forces at play in China's drive for national wealth and security. In tracking the motives and behavior of regulators and planners, locally and centrally controlled enterprises, banks, privately owned companies, and, of course, the foreign companies doing business in China, Anderson's book establishes the archetype for understanding Chinese industrial policy and how it affects all of us."--Janet Carmosky, CEO, The China Business Network

"CEOs, CFOs, and company boards will particularly like Designated Drivers because it gives real insights into how the Chinese government formulates industrial policy. This is what makes it special; it gives an inside-out view from the Chinese government perspective. If Western companies had this kind of information before going to China, they would literally save millions!"--Paul Denlinger, China start-up guy and publisher,

G.E. Anderson is a specialist in finance and Chinese political economy who has been either living in or frequently traveling to China for nearly two decades. He recently completed a PhD in political science at UCLA, where his research focused on industrialplanning, business-government relations, and corporate governance. Anderson has worked as a teacher, commercial lending analyst, and CFO of a nonprofit organization. Prior to attending UCLA, he was finance director for Charles Schwab's Tokyo-based joint venture. Anderson also holds a BS in Finance from Louisiana Tech, an MBA from Golden Gate University, and an MA in Asia-Pacific studies from the University of San Francisco. He is a contributing writer for Forbes and a political risk and strategy consultant at his firm, Pacific Rim Advisors and blogs at ChinaBizGov. Visit his website at

Map of Chinese Provinces and Cities Mentioned in the Book xi

List of Terms and Acronyms xiii

Foreword xix

Preface xxv

Acknowledgments xxix

Chapter One Building National Champions 1

Chapter Two The System 25

Chapter Three The Policy 51

Chapter Four The Joint Ventures 103

Chapter Five The Independents 137

Chapter Six The Mergers 187

Chapter Seven The Neighbors 219

Chapter Eight In Conclusion 243

Appendix A List of Passenger Vehicle Assembly Joint Ventures 267

Appendix B Additional Data 271

Selected Bibliography 275

About the Author 287

Index 289