New Asian Emperors: The Business Strategies of the Overseas Chinese / Edition 1

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Southeast Asia has a population of more than half a billion, yetits economy is dominated by about 40 families, most of OverseasChinese descent. Their conglomerates span sectors as diverse asreal estate, telecommunications, hotels, industrial goods,computers and sugar plantations. New Asian Emperors shows how andwhy Overseas Chinese companies continue to dominate the region andhave extended their reach in East Asia, despite the Asian financialand SARS crises of the past decade. The authors base theirconclusions on in-depth structured interviews spanning a decadewith the often elusive Overseas Chinese CEOs including Li Ka-shing,Stan Shih, Victor Fung, Stephen Riady and Sukanto Tanoto, as wellas on the strategic information that their companies use.

The analysis of the New Asian Emperors' present-day managementtechniques and practices draws on the history, culture andphilosophical perspectives of the Overseas Chinese in SoutheastAsia. In the midst of today's global economic crisis, this bookalso takes a fresh look at the role and management practices of theOverseas Chinese as they continue to create some of Asia'swealthiest and most successful companies.

New Asian Emperors explains:

  • The sources and characteristics of Overseas Chinesemanagement;
  • Whether Overseas Chinese management practices will spread inthe same way that Japanese management did in the 1970s;
  • Whether Western management technologies have found themselvesoutmaneuvered in Asia's post-crisis arena;
  • The Overseas Chinese manager's strategies for theinformational black hole o southeast Asia and what Western managerscan learn from them;
  • The New Asian Emperor's unique strategic perspectives andmanagement styles revealed through exclusive, in-depthinterviews;
  • The implications for successfully co-operating and competingwith the Overseas Chinese of Southeast Asia.

New Asian Emperors offers key insights into the Overseas Chineseand the important role that cultural roots play in their dominanceof Southeast Asian business.

Much has been written about the rise of the Asian economies in recent decades, and their coming economic dominance in the next century. The New Asian Emperors shows how and why overseas Chinese companies are achieving dominance in the Asia Pacific. In the wake of the Asian Currency crisis, this book takes a fresh look at the role of the overseas Chinese as they continue to create some of Asia's most wealthy and successful companies.

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Editorial Reviews

Ingo Walter
The Overseas Chinese represent what is arguably one of the most important economic and financial groups in the world, whose actions in the Pacific Rim and in other parts of the world have had profound effects on economic development, financial stability and instability, and the evolution of a wide range of industries in a global economic context. They also represent what is often a controversial economic and political force in countries dominated by other ethnic groups. This book provides a thoroughly authoritative and balanced assessment of the Overseas Chinese in terms of their roots, the role of family structures, management practices, and approaches to dealing with the Overseas Chinese business groups-which themselves will have to evolve rapidly in the years ahead if they are to succeed as true multinational enterprises. (Ingo Walter, Charles Simon Professor of Applied Financial Economics, Sydney Homer Director of the NYU Salomon Center, and Professor of International Business, Economics and Finance, Stern School of Business, New York University & Swiss Bank Corporation Professor of International Management, INSEAD)
Philip Kotler
Westerners have long assumed that there is one right way to organize and conduct large-scale business, on a foundation of rationality, individuality, and impersonality. This excellent treatise on the business philosophies and practices of the powerful the Overseas Chinese cannot fail to open Western minds to whole new ways of business thinking. Finally, a book to help Western business leaders understand the business philosophies and practices of the Overseas Chinese. Many practices of multinationals need to be altered if they are to compete with, or work with, the Overseas Chinese. This book is a must reading for any business that wants to succeed in Asia. The authors have presented a masterly picture of how business is done by the Overseas Chinese. (Philip Kotler, S. C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University)
Ho Kwon-Ping
This book is very timely as it examines in a serious but readable manner both the strengths and weaknesses of the Overseas Chinese business community, and provides a framework for understanding how this vibrant community will resurrect itself from the current crisis.

Most books on the the Overseas Chinese business community have veered between extremes: either gushing with adulation, or portraying them as a semi-conspiracy. This book takes a balanced and holistic view, and weaves in the ethical and cultural traits of the Overseas Chinese with their management practices. (Ho Kwon-Ping, President, Wah Chang Group, Owner of Banyan Tree Resorts and Chairman, Singapore Institute of Management)

Hermawan Kartajaya
In the new Asia, especially after the crisis, there will be more and more Overseas Chinese marketers. This book is very important for those who want to deal with them successfully in the true market-based global economy. (Hermawan Kartajaya, President, Asia Pacific Marketing Federation)
Bruce W. Stening
The Overseas Chinese are among the most important groups of entrepreneurs in human history. Their contributions in the forthcoming economic reconstruction of much of East Asia will necessarily be immense. The New Asian Emperors provides a concise, highly readable and insightful analysis of why they are so critical to the future of the region and how their contributions are likely to be made.

This book should be core reading for anyone doing business in Asia at this crucial time. (Bruce W. Stening, Professor and Executive Director, Australia Asia Management Centre, The Australian National University)

The biggest effect of the Internet on the local business culture] would be to fill South-East Asia’s “informational black hole”, a phrase coined by George and Usha Haley and Chin Tiong Tan in an important study of overseas Chinese tycoons, New Asian Emperors (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998). Developed economies are awash with public data to be crunched and pored over by analysts and market researchers. South-East Asia, by contrast, is conspicuously devoid of public information. That makes it hard for foreigners to do business there, but suits local tycoons splendidly. In the absence of public sources, information of any kind becomes private and privileged. It creates opportunities without risk. That is why the “bamboo network” of whispers and winks has proved so successful in the past.

Finding public information about the lack of public information is tricky, but Mr Haley and his colleagues had a good try. They used articles written about business in the region as a proxy, and found that in the late 1980s, when foreign investors were getting interested, Asian business received only 5% of the coverage of American business. In the early 1990s, as the tigers became more fashionable, coverage of Asian business went up, but not by much; and, surprisingly, when the tiger bubble was at its biggest, the number of articles declined. What little coverage there was, moreover, was mostly of tiny but developed Singapore.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470823347
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/29/2009
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

George T. Haley (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) isProfessor of Marketing, University of New Haven and FoundingDirector, Center for International Industry Competitiveness. He hasbeen faculty at ITESM-Monterrey (Mexico), National University ofSingapore, Queensland University of Technology (Aus.), DePaul,Fordham, and Baruch College. He has presented seminars tomanagers/policymakers on four continents, including for theNational Intelligence Council, and the United States InternationalTrade Commission and testified before the US-China Economic andSecurity Review Commission. He has over 100 articles, presentationsand books including The Chinese Tao of Business. He consults withseveral multinational companies and governments in Asia, Australia,Latin America and the USA and serves on the Boards of Directors oflisted companies, manufacturing organizations and governmentagencies.

Usha C. V. Haley (PhD, New York University) is AsiaPrograms Fellow, Ash Institute for Democratic Governance andInnovation, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University and ResearchAssociate at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Shehas been Professor at the University of New Haven and prior atUniversity of Tennessee-Knoxville, New Jersey Institute ofTechnology, Australian National University, National University ofSingapore and ITESM-Monterrey, Mexico. She has more than 150publications, presentations and books including MultinationalCorporations in Political Environments and The Chinese Tao ofBusiness. She has testified before the Congressionally mandatedUS-China Economic and Security Review Commission and the Committeeon Ways and Means, and presented before the US International TradeCommission. She serves on several corporate and governmentboards.

Chin Tiong Tan (PhD, Pennsylvania State University) isthe Deputy President of Singapore Management University. He was afounding member of SMU and was its Provost from 1999 to 2008. He isactive in management development and consulting. He designed andtaught in many executive programs around the world, and is aregular speaker in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia andSouth Africa. He was the Academic Advisor to Singapore Airline'sManagement Development Centre for more than 15 years. He is on theBoards of Directors of several listed companies and served asstrategic and business advisor to many organizations. He is theco-author of Marketing Management: An Asian Perspective, 5thEdition, 2009, Prentice Hall (with Philip Kotler).

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Table of Contents



PART 1: The Foundations of Understanding.

Chapter 1: Introducing the Overseas Chinese of SoutheastAsia.

Patterns of Chinese Migration.

The trader pattern.

The coolie pattern.

The sojourner pattern.

The re-migrant pattern.

Who Are the Overseas Chinese?

What Is a Network?

The Role of the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia.

The Role of the Overseas Chinese Worldwide.

Following Chapters.

Chapter 2: Confucianism Plus: The Philosophical and CulturalRoots of the Overseas Chinese.

Confucianism’s Influence on Chinese Trade andEconomics.

The Family.

The Relationships and Ethical Behavior.

Differing Ethical Concepts.

Chapter 3: The Overseas Chinese Today: Not the FamilyBusiness, But the Family as a Business.

What Is a Chinese Network?


Hierarchical and dyadic ties.


Contextual morality.

Flexible boundaries.

Historical and Environmental Effects on the Overseas.

Chinese Business Networks.

Distinguishing Cultural Traits.

Firm-related attributes.

Loyalty-related attributes.

Trust-related attributes.

How Networks Permeate Formal Structures.

PART 2: The Foundations of Analysis.

Chapter 4: Introduction to an Informational Void: The BlackHole of Southeast Asia.

The Informational Black Hole of Southeast Asia.

Operating in an Informational Black Hole.

Hands-on experience.

Transfer of knowledge.

Qualitative information.

Holistic information processing.

Action-driven decision making.

Emergent planning.

Chapter 5: Strategic Management of the Overseas ChineseBusiness Groups: Deciphering Patterns.

Tacit Knowledge and the Informational Black Hole.

Strategic Planning and the Networks.

Planning, classically.

Developing core competencies.

Crafting strategies.

A Summary of Overseas Chinese Management Practices.

The Overseas Chinese and crafting strategy.

How the Overseas Chinese plan.

The Overseas Chinese and their core competencies.

PART 3: The Implications for Business.

Chapter 6: In the Aftermath of the Asian Crises: Revolutionor Evolution?

The Path of Destruction.

The 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis.

The 2002–2004 SARS crisis.

The Post-crises Evolution of Overseas Chinese BusinessGroups.

Competitive Advantages of the Overseas Chinese.





Competitive Disadvantages of the Overseas Chinese.

Home turf only.

Susceptibility to blind-siding.

Poor proprietary capabilities.

Family limits.

Lack of professionalization.

Chapter 7: Competitive Implications of the Overseas Chinese:Doing Business with the New Asian Emperors.

General Implications for Multinationals.

Specific Implications for Multinationals.

Strategic competitiveness.

Human resource practices.

Product and technology.

Contract flexibility.


Promotion and pricing.

Implications for Regional Governments.

Implications for Researchers.

Speculations About the Future.

The Adaptive-Action Road Map.

The road of knowledge.

The road of speed.

The road of action.

The road of results.

The road of relationships.

The road of quality.

The road of passion.

The road of legacy.


Appendix: List of Interviewees.


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  • Posted June 5, 2009

    Excellent book on SE Asian business

    I bought this book because of it was mentioned as a resource in Business Week's June 8 2009 article on the Asian comeback from the global crisis. I agree. The book does help to explain how business works in Southeast Asia and why so many foreign companies fail there. The authors spoke to senior managers and heads of Overseas Chinese companies about their strategies, styles and relationships, especially with governments. The Chinese family businesses contol most of the busines in Southeast Asia and have a unique style of operation, Most inrteresting was how so little has changed since the Asian Financial crisis about a decade ago. The authors have an easy and accessible style, even when dealing with complex matters. The book is both timely and provocative as it raises questions on how business can be changed and whether it should.

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