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Business & Economics Entrepreneurship

East Asian Capitalism

Diversity and Dynamism

edited by Wendy Dobson & A.E. Safarian

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Oct 1997
Entrepreneurship, Economic Conditions, General
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    Oct 1997
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What price will North American business pay if it fails to develop an understanding of the role of East Asia in the transformation of global competition? Competition in this region has been intensifying as the pace of technological change speeds up and new competitors appear. Canada has major opportunities in its economic relation-ships with the rapidly emerging dynamic East Asian economies. But the diversity and dynamism of East Asia's capitalism must be understood by those who wish to meet their competitors there successfully. Understanding how and why businesses are organised the way they are, and how they are changing, will help considerably in penetrating East Asian markets.

Asian business systems should be understood for their remarkable diversity, across economies as well as within economies. The essays in this book explain the origins and prospects of East Asia's major business players - the Japanese keiretsu, Korean chaebol, China's emerging industry structure and business groups, and family networks in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. Most Asian businesses emphasize cooperative business relations, based most often on family and other informal ties, and cooperation with the state. To identify future business partners, Canadian firms must understand the strategies of other firms and governments: the linkages between trade and investment; and innovative business systems and how to work with them.

The purpose of the Hongkong Bank of Canada Papers on Asia series is to provide practical information, in the form of timely and readable works, to Canadian business and government decision makers that will help increase knowledge and familiarity with the distant markets of East Asia. This series establishes benchmarks against which Canada's future can be measured systematically.

Volume I, Benchmarking the Canadian Business Presence in East Asia explained Canada's relatively modest business presence in the region and outlined the high costs of entering into these dynamic markets. East Asian Capitalism: Diversity and Dynamism examines these systems as one aspect of reducing such entry costs. This volume is the first comparative analysis of Asian business systems published in Canada.

About the authors

Wendy Dobson, one of Canada's leading international economists, provides two unique vantage points based on her own experiences in the two countries and in the international system. One is top-down, informed by her role as Canada's Associate Deputy Minister of Finance responsible for international financial diplomacy in the G-7 in the late 1980s and more recently as a professor at the University of Toronto. The other perspective is bottom-up, drawing on her life and work in India in the 1960s, in a job that took her into politicians` offices and sent her into the villages, and her many visits to China starting in 1978, the year that its transformation began to emerge.

Since 1993 she has led research and teaching at the Rotman Institute for International Business at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. She has published twenty books and many articles on Asia and the international economy. Between 1995 and 2002 she was the managing editor of the Hong Kong Bank of Canada's Papers on Asia, published by University of Toronto Press. One of her books, Multinationals and East Asian Integration, won the Ohira Prize in 1998 for the best English-language book on Asia, and several of her other publications have been translated into Chinese.

Wendy Dobson's profile page

A.E. Safarian is a professor emeritus in the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

A.E. Safarian's profile page

Other titles by Wendy Dobson

Other titles by A.E. Safarian