China 2019

Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu

August 24-September 6, 2019

China’s economy has grown very rapidly (growth rates over 10% for most of the past 30 years). China is now the second largest economy measured in terms of nominal GDP; it is the world’s largest exporter, the fastest growing consumer market, and the focus of the Trump administration’s trade war. Understanding the Chinese economy and U.S.-China interactions are both essential in business today.

We have planned a China study tour for 2019 again in partnership with the Beijing Center; we will visit Beijing (the historical center of China), Shanghai (the center for finance and business), and Chengdu (a manufacturing center in the interior).

The 2018 itinerary included visits to (an e-commerce retailer with $55bn in revenue in 2017); ROKID (which makes a device like Amazon’s Alexa and also AR glasses, and just received over $165mm in Series B financing); two manufacturing firms; and one of the ports in Shenzhen. Cultural visits included Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Great Wall, and a walking tour of the French Concession in Shanghai.

Shanghai skyline

The Shanghai skyline.


MGMT 4940/5940:
The Cultural Context for Business in China: Trust, Political Institutions, and Confucianism

Instructor: Dr. Marc Cohen

This course is organized around four challenges facing both Chinese and multi-national businesses operating in China—(i) a rapidly changing social-political environment; (ii) a narrow disposition to trust in Chinese society (which is well-documented in the empirical literature); (ii) non-democratic social/political institutions (along with heavy state involvement in business); and (iv) the on-going need for economic development.

Each of these challenges affects organizations and shapes the overall business climate; the first two are connected with the Chinese Confucian heritage; and each issue has what philosophers would call a normative dimension—meaning a dimension that raises ethical issues. We study these challenges relying on material from both Chinese and Western academics, from journalists working in both locations, and in presentations from Chinese business managers on the tour itself.

The course will require a set of preliminary readings, discussed at pre-departure meetings, and then each student will choose a topic for a research paper (with input from the instructor). This research paper is the central assignment for the course. Papers could address particular business cases (particular businesses or industries); or they could address some aspect of the four themes above (for example, a student could look at the literature on trust in China; or do research on organizational structures); or papers could be more independent—and address some other question or some idea of interest related to business in China.

INBU 4940/5940:
Global E-Business in China

Instructor: Dr. Ben Kim

This class concerns China’s e-business strategies and practices as well as the Chinese business environment and culture. China’s e-business is having a global impact: it is growing exponentially, many Chinese companies are using the Internet for their global operations, and several Chinese companies (such as Alibaba) had very successful IPOs at the NYSE. Student will write a research paper about operational, financial, technical, legal, social, or political aspects of Chinese e-business. The specific topics of study depend on the students’ interests. Before the trip, students will select areas of research and will be required to do a review of relevant literature. After the tour, students will submit a paper and present it in class. The instructor will collaborate with students to submit the paper to a journal or conference.

Program Cost

Expected cost per student: $2,950 (excluding airfare, visa, and some meals)


Opens: January 21, 2019

Deadline: February 10, 2019 at midnight