Wu Jieh-minNov 9, 2023
How Taiwanese Entrepreneurs and Guangdong Officials Forged the China Development Model
Harvard University Press 2022
Taiwan has been depicted as an island facing the incessant threat of forcible unification with the People’s Republic of China. Why, then, has Taiwan spent more than three decades pouring capital and talent into China?
In Rival Partners: How Taiwanese Entrepreneurs and Guangdong Officials Forged the China Development Model (Harvard UP, 2022), Wu Jieh-min follows the development of Taiwanese enterprises in China over twenty-five years and provides fresh insights. The geopolitical shift in Asia beginning in the 1970s and the global restructuring of value chains since the 1980s created strong incentives for Taiwanese entrepreneurs to rush into China despite high political risks and insecure property rights. Taiwanese investment, in conjunction with Hong Kong capital, laid the foundation for the world’s factory to flourish in the southern province of Guangdong, but official Chinese narratives play down Taiwan’s vital contribution. It is hard to imagine the Guangdong model without Taiwanese investment, and, without the Guangdong model, China’s rise could not have occurred.
Going beyond the received wisdom of the “China miracle” and “Taiwan factor,” Wu delineates how Taiwanese businesspeople, with the cooperation of local officials, ushered global capitalism into China. By partnering with its political archrival, Taiwan has benefited enormously, while helping to cultivate an economic superpower that increasingly exerts its influence around the world.
This book is the winner of 2023 Global and Transnational Sociology Best Publication (Book) by an International Scholar Award, the American Sociological Association, 國科會111年度(2022) 傑出研究獎, 2020年第九屆中央研究院人文及社會科學學術性專書獎, 科技部2020最具影響 力研究專書(人文及社會科學領域), 2019年孫運璿學術獎最佳書籍.
Wu Jieh-min is a research fellow at the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Stacy Mosher is a translator and editor based in Brooklyn.
Li-Ping Chen is a teaching fellow in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include literary translingualism, diaspora, and nativism in Sinophone, inter-Asian, and transpacific contexts.