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The Business of Lobbying in China

The Business of Lobbying in China

Scott Kennedy

ISBN 9780674027442

Publication date: 03/31/2008

In this timely work, Scott Kennedy documents the rising influence of business, both Chinese and foreign, on national public policy in China.

China's shift to a market economy has made businesses more sensitive to their bottom line and has seen the passage of thousands of laws and regulations that directly affect firms' success. Companies have become involved in a tug of war with the government and with each other to gain national policy advantages, often setting the agenda, providing alternative options, and pressing for a favored outcome.

Kennedy's comparison of lobbying in the steel, consumer electronics, and software industries shows that although companies operate in a common political system, economic circumstances shape the nature and outcome of lobbying. Factors such as private or state ownership, size, industry concentration, and technological sophistication all affect industry activism.

Based on over 300 in-depth interviews with company executives, business association representatives, and government officials, this study identifies a wide range of national economic policies influenced by lobbying, including taxes, technical standards, and intellectual property rights. These findings have significant implications for how we think about Chinese politics and economics, as well as government-business relations in general.


  • Scott Kennedy has dissected a complex subject in a lucid work with broad implications. His research, well-illustrated with fascinating examples of behind-the-scenes business lobbying, shows that the old corporatist model for explaining business-government relations is increasingly inadequate as interest groups and organizations compete for the government's ear. He shows us a richly complex country with increasing demands percolating up from below--a country that no longer fits the authoritarian model of popular imagination. Strongly recommended for anyone doing business in China or interested in questions of civil society and, ultimately, political reform.

    —Ian Johnson, author of Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in China


  • Scott Kennedy is Deputy Director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies and Director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Book Details

  • 278 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press