Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
—John F. Kennedy
American super consumers changed America and the world in the second half of the twentieth century. The same thing is happening in China today, in ways both subtle and profound, and anyone who is looking to the world's largest country as a potential market for goods and services needs to be aware of the massive shifts that are happening there.
At the beginning of this book, we wrote that it isn't a how-to guide for doing business in China. Rather, our real goal is to provide some context for what might well be the most important economic development going on in the world today.
Let's look at what this all looks like in the real world. A lot of Western pundits have written off Microsoft as yesterday's news, but in China the world's largest software company (still) has been able to accomplish what few other companies have—and it all comes back to Microsoft's ability to identify, reach, and sell to super consumers.
Of all the major American Internet players—Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon.com, Apple, and Microsoft—it is Microsoft that has managed to most effectively overcome specific hurdles and integrate itself into the fabric of China's Internet and high-tech infrastructure. Specifically, Microsoft has deftly navigated both the government's significant presence in Chinese high-tech ...