Young, single and what about it?

The  Economist reports: "In the decade to 2010 the number of single-person households doubled. Today over 58m Chinese live by themselves, according to census data, a bigger number of one-person homes than in America, Britain and France combined. Solo dwellers make up 14% of all households. That is still low compared with rates found in Japan or Taiwan (see chart), but the proportion will certainly increase. The better-educated under-30-year-olds are, and the more money they have, the more likely they are to live alone. Rich parts of China have more non-widowed single dwellers: in Beijing a fifth of homes house only one person. The marriage age is rising, particularly in big cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou, where the average man marries after 30 and the average woman at 28, older than their American counterparts. Divorce rates are also increasing, though they are still much lower than in America. More than 3.5m Chinese couples split up each year, which adds to the number of single households.""

Policy Makers in China simply follow what is happening on the ground

Consistent with Victor Nee and Sonjia Opper’s central thesis in "Capitalism from Below: Markets and Institutional Change in China",  Leslie Chang offers this observation of how change takes place in China: 

I lived in China from 1998 to 2007, and the longer I stayed, the more I felt that governance was a frantic effort to keep up with what was happening on the ground. The economic opening championed by Deng Xiaoping was actually set in motion in 1978 by a group of Anhui farmers who illegally split up their communal farmland into individual plots, which led to increased efficiency and the dismantling of the communes.


Review of “China’s Path to Innovation” by Xiaolan Fu

To date there are few research monographs that go beyond picking out striking cases of innovative companies. We clearly also need systematic analyses of China’s growing innovative capacity. For this reason, Xiaolan Fu’s book China's Path to Innovation (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is a welcome addition to the literature. Fu is Professor of Technology and International Development at Oxford and has written about innovation in China for more than ten years. China's Path to Innovation has 16 chapters (Table of Contents).  The book provides an excellent overview of scholarly literature on the development of Chinese innovative capacities. It deserves to be in the library of anyone working on China’s innovative capacity.  Read my full review on

Are recent crackdowns on VPNs and Academic Freedom Bad for China’s Ability to Innovate?

I am co-editing with Arie Lewin and Martin Kenney a Cambridge University Press book on the future of Chinese innovative capability. The opening of China in since 1978 has created stunning economic achievements. My hope was that China would prove that you do not necessarily need liberal democracy to continue its economic development and reach GDP per capita figures that are closer to the most advanced countries in the world.

But I am getting more nervous about the future of China after reading this series of articles.

  1. China Tells Schools to Suppress Western Ideas, With One Big Exception
  2. Ideology Matters: Parsing Recent Changes in China’s Intellectual Landscape
  3. China Further Tightens Grip on the Internet
  4. New Rules in China Upset Western Tech Companies

Victor Shih wrote fascinating book on how China has been able to keep inflation under control

I am presently reading Victor Shih's Cambridge University Press book "Fraction and Finance." In it he explains how despite periods of high monetary growths and inflation, China's politics allowed hyper-inflation to broad down again. China never experienced the 4000 percent inflation in Ukraine after communism. I publish here some interesting comparative data from the book. 

Surprise: In China electric toothbrushes are twice as expensive as in USA

The other day I forgot my electric toothbrush in my London hotel room. I figured that because of the great competition in many Chinese products markets, I would be able to buy one more cheaply when I would arrive in China the following week. I had read about price wars in microwave ovens, TV sets, etc.  And did not Chinese manufacturers bring down theprice of solar panels to such a low level that Westerns firms went out of business in larger numbers in the past few years.  So yesterday I set out to buy myself an electronic toothbrush. The prices at a large electronics store in my neighborhood in Shanghai was shockingly high. Next I went online. Even online the best deal I could find was substantially more expensive then in USA.  The same electric toothbrush (Oral-B Professional Healthy CleanPrecision 1000) on Amazon  USA  costs $39.99; on Amazon China it sells for US$  78.28 (RMB 480).   No wonder I am told exchange students are being asked to bring electronic gadgets back from abroad. I wonder if I can find any high quality Chinese imitations, as is the case in smartphones. In the meantime I bought the expensive one on