How did the once-secretive, isolated People’s Republic of China become the factory to the world? Shelley Rigger convincingly demonstrates that the answer is Taiwan. She follows the evolution of Taiwan’s influence from the period when Deng Xiaoping lifted Mao’s prohibitions on business in the late 1970s, allowing investors from Taiwan to collaborate with local officials in the PRC to transform mainland China into a manufacturing powerhouse. After World War II, Taiwan’s fleet-footed export-oriented manufacturing firms became essential links in global supply chains. In the late 1980s, Taiwanese firms seized the opportunity to lower production costs by moving to the PRC, which was seeking foreign investment to fuel its industrial rise. Within a few years, Taiwan’s traditional manufacturing had largely relocated to the PRC, opening space for a wave of new business creation in information technology. The Tiger Leading the Dragon traces the development of the cross-Taiwan Strait economic relationship and explores how Taiwanese firms and individuals transformed Chinese business practices. It also reveals their contributions to Chinese consumer behavior, philanthropy, religion, popular culture, and law.
A leading authority on Taiwan, Shelley Rigger is Brown Professor of Political Science at Davidson College in North Carolina. She earned a PhD in government from Harvard University and has been studying and visiting Taiwan for nearly four decades. She has been a visiting researcher at National Chengchi University in Taipei and a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. Her books include Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse, and she consults for the US government on East Asian national security issues.
Preface: The Umbrella King
1 How Mao’s China became the “Factory to the World”
2 Taiwan’s “Economic Miracle”
3 “Second Spring”: Taiwan’s Traditional Manufacturers Discover Mainland China
4 From SME to ODM: Taiwan’s Integration into Global Manufacturing Networks
5 The 1990s: From Umbrellas to iPhones
6 The Rise of the Red Supply Chain
7 “Borrowing a Boat to Go to Sea”: Taiwanese Business Practices in China
8 Affordable Luxury: Changing the Way China Eats (and More)
9 Beyond Business: How Taiwanese Are Reshaping Chinese Society
10 The End of an Era?
A fascinating story of the Taiwan factor in making China the factory of the world. Shelley Rigger’s lively book is a must-read for those interested in the role of Taiwanese enterprises in globalization, past and present.
This is an insightful study—one that students and scholars seeking to understand the Taiwanese economic miracle and how it connects with China's role as a global manufacturing powerhouse will find immensely useful.
From umbrellas to iPhones and spanning history from the Ming to the present, Rigger offers a sweeping account of how Taiwanese business (Taishang) changed China profoundly over the last four decades. Taishang changed how, where, and what goods were produced in China, what Chinese people ate and even exerted a heavy influence on China's pop music. The Tiger Leading the Dragon, with its entertaining anecdote-filled narrative, provides the most comprehensive account of the multifaceted influence of Taishang on China's economic, social, and cultural transformation.