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Dragon Suit Book

Few books address the experience of living in China as a foreigner, and those that do are either subjective diary-style memoirs or books on specific business-related topics.

By showing China through the stories, headaches and successes of multinational managers based in China, Dragon Suit closes the gap between well-researched but unentertaining monographs on foreign business in the world’s most populous country, and delightful but scarcely researched expat memoires.

"Informative, authentic and entertaining―this book is a treasure chest of facts and stories on China and Chinese business behavior for everyone who strives for business success and personal happiness in the land of the dragon!"

--Dr. Hans Werner Hagemann, author of The Leading Brain

"An excellent guide for the next generation of expats in China."

--Chen Wu, Managing Director, The Economist Global Business Review

Dragon Suit: The golden age of expatriate executives in China
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Worldwide business leaders who try to comprehend China’s unavoidable impact on their livelihoods often ignore the most important voices: those of expatriate managers with years of experience in the country. Based on interviews with China-based corporate executives over five years, Dragon Suit brings to life the country’s swarming cities, recent economic tsunami, unstoppable middle class, endemic pollution, intermittent Internet, confusing culture, and endless opportunities.

This book is a rare insight into the way global firms select, relocate, manage, motivate, and reward top managers in the world’s most populous market. CEOs, C-suite executives, and senior managers recall their careers since China’s early 2000s reform period until a notable 2014 policy paper declared “the end of a golden age for foreign business in China,” and beyond to the present day.


Dragon Suit addresses crucial questions for international business:

  • How did China become a key market for global firms?

  • Why are most foreign managers unprepared for its challenges?

  • Why did the country’s near-million foreigners begin to leave

  • in the mid-2010s, and who will replace them?

Most importantly, how can managers, entrepreneurs, experts, and students prepare for an increasingly China-facing future in business?

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Chapter Four: Stepping Up

Leading others as a foreigner in China

Assuming roles and responsibilities

Networks and kinships

The politics of leading businesses in China

Going with the flow, turning with the tide


Chapter Five: Moving On

Localising leadership

Foreign business beyond ‘decoupling’

Thriving in China’s walled garden

Upcoming dragon suit trends

Epilogue: new dragon suit patterns



About The Author

Table of Contents


Foreword by Joerg Wuttke


Introduction: Why ‘Dragon Suit’?

Chapter One: Signing Up

The golden age of foreign business in China

Why go to China?

Ages and voyages

Why not go to China?

How expats end up in China

Chapter Two: Settling In

First impressions

Expat islands in ‘real China’

The air is everywhere

China’s intermittent internet

Bracing for culture shock


Chapter Three: Gearing Up

First days at work

Cultures of collaboration

Work, life, balance

Culture-mapping matches and mismatches

Strategies and tactics of cultural adaptation

Some of the executives, experts and authors interviewed for Dragon Suit are:

Richard Eardley, Asia Managing Director, Hays

Henrik König, CEO, ThyssenKrupp System Engineering China

Angelo Puglisi, Asia Pacific Head of HR and Marketing, Benteler Automotive

Tony Shi, Asia-Pacific Executive Vice President, Benteler

Attila Hilbert, Human Resources Vice President for Greater China and North Asia, Danone

Fernanda Barth, Human Resources Manager, WEG China

Markus Baumgartner, General Manager, Miba Holding

Kurt Yu, Regional President, Voith Group

Christian Eh, Senior Vice President, Covestro China

George Hu, Chief of Mental Health, Shanghai’s United Family Pudong Hospital

Bronwyn Bowery-Ireland, CEO, the Lissom Group

Laurie Underwood, author, China CEO

Shaun Rein, author, The End of Cheap China

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