The Business of Lobbying in China

The Business of Lobbying in China

by Scott Kennedy
Pub. Date:
Harvard University Press
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The Business of Lobbying in China

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674015470
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2005
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents


List of Tables and Figures


1. Introduction: The Puzzle of Lobbying in China

The Puzzle and the Project

Alternative Patterns of Government-Business Relations

Previous Research: Fulfilling Expectations

(Not) Explaining Variation

The Consequences

The Significance of Economic Factors

China as a Critical Case

The Research Design

Outline of the Book

2. Organizing Business in China


The New Basis for Government-Business Interaction

Mapping China's Association System

The Limited Autonomy of Business Associations

The Missing Structural Components of Corporatism

Pluralism: A Mixed Picture

Beyond Clientelism

Conclusion: Explaining Variation

3. The Steel Industry: Walking on One Leg


The Economics of Steel

The Weakness of China's Steel Associations

The Dominance of Direct Interaction

The Gap Between Connections and Clientelism

Cartel Calamities

Steel Trade Warriors

The Exception: Environmental Protection Policy


4. Consumer Electronics: Sending Mixed Signals


The Economics of TVs and VCD Players

The Uneven Growth of Consumer Electronics Associations

Direct Contact: Taking Offense

The Price of Competition

Fighting Off the Tax Man

The Standard of Influence


5. Software: Approaching Pluralism


The Economics of Software

The Growth of Software Associations

Other Signs of Pluralism

The "Normalization" of Relationships

The VAT: Revaluing the Industry

Copyright Protection: Joining the Fight

Standards: Erecting and Dismantling Barriers to Entry


6. Conclusion: China's Political Economies


Linking Economics, Interaction, and Influence

Chinese Politics: Adapting Models and Integrating Sub-Fields

Incremental Democratization?

Reform Alternatives: Beyond Liberalization

Appendix: Case Selection and Interviews



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