Thursday, December 11, 2008

China Price comes to Kansas

I'm just about to go on air on the Heartland Labor Forum, an award-winning radio program about labor issues based in Kansas City that streams live at I'll be talking about shopping for Christmas in view of the kind of widespread labor and environmental abuses I observed in researching my book. As I've always said, the solution is not to boycott China, but to ask more questions about where and how the goods we buy are made. Listen to past programs here and listen to me live here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

China Price picked as a top read

Paul French, the respected China watcher, author and The Ethical Corporation's China Editor, has selected The China Price as one of his five top reads. "In light of the recent scandals over toys and milk as well as the impact of the global recession on China’s export-oriented manufacturing base," he writes on the Ethical Corporation blog, "this book is even more pertinent." Read his comments and suggestions for other good books on sustainability here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

China Price featured in Apple Daily

The Apple Daily, Hong Kong's leading daily newspaper, has run a profile of me and the book pegged to the launch of the Chinese edition. I'm in Tokyo to promote the Japanese edition, coming out this week, but if you are reading this in Hong Kong, the December 2 edition of the paper has a piece about me. The Apple Daily's website is here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

China Price named a Best Business Book of 2008

Strategy + Business, the magazine published by consultancy Booz & Company, has named The China Price one of the Best Business Books of 2008 in the category of globalization. "The China Price is a work of reporting," writes Marc Levinson, "and the reporting is extremely good." Noting that the book "carefully destroys many foreign fantasies about doing business in China," he continues, "Even as she vividly reveals the human damage done by China’s double-time march to capitalism, Harney also describes a rapidly changing society in which the abuses of early industrialization are no longer tolerated." All in all, a great review, and an honor to be included on the list. Read the discussion here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Weekly Standard Review

The Weekly Standard, the conservative American magazine, has run a review of my book, along with two others about China. Definitely worth checking out, though I can't because I don't have a subscription. The review is here.

Giving to Mozambique

We supported this group through our wedding gifts and have been thrilled to get to know the people involved. Have a look at what they're doing - it's such important work.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Worth watching: Toxic products in Australia

This evening, Australian broadcaster SBS will air a program that looks into the regulations and controls that exist to protect consumers from toxic or dangerous products - including both food and other goods. I'm on the program, via satellite from Hong Kong, along with victims of faulty products, consumer advocates, importers, and toxicologists. It's a rare intelligent look at these issues from an Australian perspective, one that for once doesn't fall down on political prejudices but focuses on the practical issues before us. Watch the program and read viewers' comments here.

Workers with attitude (日本語)

Nikkei Business Online (aka NB Online) has just run the third column in my China Price series, ahead of the publication of the book in Japan later this year. The latest piece is about workers willing to stand up for their rights, and the rise of Generation Y in China. Have a read (in Japanese) here.

Hot Talk on KSFO

I spent part of my Sunday morning talking to the lovely Barbara Simpson on KSFO-AM in San Francisco. Rare among talk show hosts, Barbara had actually read my book - and it clearly struck a chord. We talked about the human and environmental cost of the China price and a slew of other stuff - infectious diseases, coal, you name it. Barbara doesn't have a podcast of her show, so it seems our moment has passed, but you can read all about her here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The rise of factories that can say no

Ahead of Nikkei BP's publication of The China Price's Japanese language version in late November, NB Online, the online version of the excellent magazine Nikkei Business, is running a series of articles about the situation on Chinese factory floors today. The first story, which focuses on the rise of Chinese factories that can say no, soared to the "Most Read" category on their website on the first day of publication and remains there today. Read or at least see the story - and check out an extremely unflattering photo of me - here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The China Price in Fairfield, Iowa

It's not every day that I get a chance to talk to people in Iowa about China. So I'm thrilled to be appearing on 100.1 KRUU-FM, "the Voice of Fairfield" tomorrow Hong Kong time. I'll be on air with Stuart Tanner, a former BBC filmmaker who has made documentaries about ethnic and religious issues in China, and host James Moore. Listen online on their website or check out James Moore's blog.

Environmental responsibility

So I've been a bit distracted by getting married over the last few weeks. But I'm back and wanted to flag a piece I wrote for YaleGlobal Online. In the piece, which was picked up by the Daily Times in Pakistan, I argue that we should consider our own responsibility as consumers for the kinds of environmental damage we see in China. There is a lot of progress on environmental issues in China today, but a long way to go. And a lot of China that still isn't even on the map of the global supply chain. So it's fair to say that these issues will be around for many years to come. Read my piece here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

China Price in Top Three China Books

While I was out in the bush in Mozambique this week, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, was recommending The China Price as one of her top three picks to understand China on National Public Radio. "For every business book goggling at the rate and scale of China's growth," she says, "The China Price is a powerfully needed antidote." Slaughter has just returned from a year living in Shanghai. Listen to her recommendation here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Occup. health blogs and Indian reviews

Just back from Tokyo and tending to my favorite nezumi, I noticed a mention of The China Price in a blog about occupational health in emerging countries written by Jonathan Zuk out of San Francisco. The blog is filled with really interesting tidbits and superb links - I'm saving it for those alone. Read the mention of the book, only in passing, here. Jonathan appears to have found a review of my book that I had never seen (thank you, Jonathan!) in India's Newindpress on Sunday. I think that makes four reviews or articles about The China Price in India in about a week. Read that review, which is very positive, here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Three times lucky

In the third article on The China Price in India in a week, The Business Standard ran a review of my book last Friday, calling it an "absorbing read" with "meticulous reporting" and noting "this book is a contrarian offering from the dewy-eyed literature on the China phenomenon." The piece starts: "Nothing has altered global business models quite so dramatically as the Middle Kingdom’s extraordinary skills in manufacturing a vast number of goods at ever-lower prices — the phenomenon that is simply referred to as the China Price. This ability to leverage an enormous population into a competitive advantage has, in turn, created one of the fastest and most revolutionary social transformations in modern history." Read the positive review here.

The high cost of cleaning up

Isabel Hilton, editor of the excellent chinadialogue website, has posted an interview with me about China's emerging environmental issues. We talk about the environmental health crisis and the concept of a "beautiful" law - aspirational, not always respected. As I'm in Tokyo writing this, I'm struck by how few people realize the environmental damage that our passion for cheap goods is causing. Read the interview here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Women are changing China

World Pulse, a new online magazine about women and children who are changing the world, has done an interview with me for their edition about China. They feature Xie Lihua, a women who edits a magazine for rural Chinese women, AIDS researcher Lichun Tian, Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch and community development specialist Song Qinghua, the wonderful Lu Hongyan or Redbird, and me. It's a huge honor to be considered among such amazing women. Read the interview here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

China out of road with low-cost labor

On the eve of the Beijing Olympics, Business Line, which I now realize is a publication of The Hindu group of newspapers, has run an interview with me about The China Price, noting my comment that China has run out of road with its low-cost labor strategy. I can't stress enough how significant this is for so many industries - I was just talking to someone in the shipping industry who explained that part of the reason that more transshipments are now going to Hong Kong is because of rising labor costs in the mainland. Anyway, in Business Line's print edition, there is a very frightening picture of me, but fortunately, online readers appear to have been spared. Read the interview here.

Isabel Hilton likes The China Price

Isabel Hilton, the highly respected writer and radio journalist, recently recommended The China Price as one of her top three books to read on China in the Observer. She says: "If you want to know where your stuff comes from (luggage, shoes, socks, iPod) this will tell you - and what China"s industrial revolution has done to the environment and the lives and health of the people who make our stuff." Read her recommendation here.

The China Price comes to India

Daily News & Analysis, an Indian English-language newspaper, has run a big piece about The China Price on the front page of their Money section. The piece on the front page starts off with shadow factories, which is great, since few reporters seem to have picked up on this important aspect of the China price. And inside, the paper has devoted its "The Big Picture" section to an interview with me. Read all about it here and here. What's great about an Indian newspaper's interest in these issues is that India is next in line to absorb some of the export processing business. While India is very different from China, in governance, economic structure and culture, the high cost of competitive advantage in today's global supply chains is certainly an issue I would be thinking about if I were an Indian businessman.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The China Price in Women's Wear Daily

Women's Wear Daily ran a full-page interview with me yesterday, packed with quotes from me and the book. "Behind every $2 T-shirt lies the overworked, underpaid human face of a Chinese migrant worker," Lisa Movius, the reporter, wrote from Shanghai. The piece is aimed squarely at the people who really could make a difference in the lives of ordinary Chinese workers: the apparel brands. I would urge all the fashion companies to think about the global consequences of their pursuit of ever-lower prices. Eventually, they are going to run out of road with this strategy. In China, they already have. Read the article online here or pick up a copy on the newsstand.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Perfect Storm in China

U.S. News and World Report is running two pieces quoting me this week talking about the monumental changes going on in China's manufacturing sector. This is, of course, one of my favorite subjects, and one I don't think the rest of the world has fully digested yet. The author of the two superb pieces, Paul Mooney, quotes me talking about a "perfect storm" hitting Chinese manufacturers. Read the piece on manufacturers disappearing here and another one about the labor shortage in the world's most populous nation here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Green at what cost?

Conrad MacKerron, director of corporate social responsibility at As You Sow, has done a great piece on the "greening" of retailers' policies and its implications for workers rights. He touches on the labor abuses by Toyota mentioned in a new report by the National Labor Committee. "The urgency with which environmental groups, Al Gore, and the media have touted climate change as the defining issue of our time has resulted in related workplace safety and health issues getting brushed aside," he writes. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart: I believe that we have all become complacent about the human impact of our bargain hunting, even as we worry about the environmental consequences of our water bottles and flights to London. Read his great piece on here.

Beijing Uncensored

Jocelyn Ford, a journalist I've known and admired since I started studying Japanese, has started a fascinating project on YouTube that is well worth watching. The project, called China For Real, tells the stories of the people you won't see on your TV screen this summer during the Olympics - the people who helped build Beijing, among others. Jocelyn is about as swashbuckling and cool as journalists come - she knows everyone, and not just the CEOs and senior officials. She knows the really interesting people: the people inside the migrant's village, the independent thinker who arrives at parties with a 16-person Big Brother entourage. Her video is an eye-opening introduction to the sides of China you won't see on state-censored television. Check it out here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

If you are unsure whether or not you are a prostitute

I had to include this sign from a restaurant in Shanghai, as reported by Xinhua, the Chinese state-owned news service. All part of China's efforts to be a more rule-by-law country, I guess. Thanks to CSR Asia for pointing it out.

“Zapata’s Mexican Cantina does not sponsor prostitutes at our establishment. If you are prostitute please refrain from entering our garden or restaurant. If you are unsure whether or not you are a prostitute, please ask one of our friendly security guards to sort it out for you. Thanks.”

Access Asia cracks me up

The most amusing people writing about China today have got to be the guys at Access Asia in Shanghai. Paul French and pals never fail to crack me up, often because what they joke about is so true. The latest, from their weekly newsletter, I paste below:

And Finally...
Access Asia Travel Guide...
Looking for Somewhere Relaxing for the Summer?
Then why not opt for somewhere far from the madding crowds, where the traffic is light, there are no soap-dodging goatee-bearded backpackers to annoy you and hardly another foreigner in sight. Yes? Then you should try Beijing this August. Highlights include:

Wonderfully deserted hotels - many with less than 60% occupancy;
Traffic free streets - thanks to bans on cars;
No soap-dodgers - all students kicked out;
Airy, spacious... and completely empty shopping malls for you to enjoy the free air-con thanks to overbuilding;
A good chance of upgrades on flights as unfilled seats line the aisles;
Peaceful nights as all outdoor parties are officially banned.
So, why not get away from all the hustle and bustle and head to Beijing - you don't even need to bring a camera, as your idyllic holiday will be recorded on one of thousands of networked CCTV cameras providing a wonderful souvenir of your stay.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

From London's Tube to China's factories

Metal thefts on railways in London are the second-largest challenge to the British Transport Police after terrorism. That's a fascinating statistic, because it says so much about where the world is today. A lot of the metal - and the cast-iron manhole covers that are disappearing from London streets, road signs in Devon, stainless steel doors - is headed to China. And that's the subject of a piece in the Guardian by Aida Edemariam, which quotes me at length (whoo!). It's an interesting piece, well worth a read here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Evansville Courier & Press

The China Price has come to Evansville, Illinois. The book gets a write-up in a longer piece about books about China by Pam Locker, manager of Oaklyn Branch Library. She makes the point that "most of us have a very dated and incomplete picture of contemporary China" but that my book and others pull back the curtain on what's really happening in China. Read her article here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The China Price on The View From Here

Matt Driskill, an award-winning journalist based in Hong Kong who now works in publishing, did an interview with me about The China Price on his blog, The View From Here. Matt's interview was based on a talk I gave at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong recently. He gets great access to interesting people on his blog, which is well worth a read. Check out my interview here.

Primark Oped

While I've been on the road the last couple weeks, Primark, a UK discount retailer, announced that they were pulling orders from three Indian factories where the BBC (not Primark) had uncovered the use of illegal subcontractors and child labor. Glad they did that, though the decision to pull the orders without making any allowances for the child workers' education is far from ideal. I called Primark to chat about this, and surprise surprise, I still haven't heard back from them. I also called BHS, another UK retailer. Surprise, surprise, I still haven't heard anything from them, except a promise that they would get back to me as soon as possible. Ditto Reiss, previously one of my favorite clothing stores. Whistles, to its credit, at least tried to get in touch with me, but unfortunately has NOTHING on its website either about supplier conditions. Too many companies are pulling the wool over our eyes by telling us nothing about the working conditions in their factories - and crucially, what they're doing to improve them. Watch Primark's incredibly misleading video on its supplier network here. Read my oped on this issue that ran on Friday in The Times here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mr Tiffany, the world's coolest pet

I know this is supposed to be a blog about Chinese manufacturing, but I have to tell one personal story. A couple weeks ago, my fiance Colin and I were coming home from dinner in Hong Kong in the middle of a heavy downpour when we happened upon a blind, newborn rat drowning in the alley near our apartment. He was such a pitiful sight - soaking wet, his eyes still shut, barely able to walk. He had minutes to live, we felt sure, before someone came and stepped on him or worse. We were so moved that we decided to take him in, knowing all the while that he probably wouldn't make it through the night. We brought him upstairs and put him in a Tiffany box that we had lying around, and somehow, because he's a survivor and because Colin has extraordinary parenting skills, he made it through the night. And the night after that. Because we were leaving for the UK, we found a wonderful foster mom in Alainna Wrigley of Human Rights in China, who has been sending us regular updates about our little guy, now known as Mr Tiffany. She just sent us this picture, which I couldn't resist posting. I'm so grateful to Alainna, and to Sharon Hom of HRIC, who introduced us. You have to admit, Mr Tiffany is pretty cute.

Now Public likes the book

A reader from Canada has posted her thoughts on The China Price on a website called Now Public: "It should be read by anyone who buys Chinese made products. That would be all of us." We like it! Read her post and comments here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The China Price on

Sky Canaves, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal's China Journal, has done a nice, straightforward write-up of The China Price here. As is often the case online, the comments from readers are almost as interesting as the piece itself. The piece points out how The China Price is different from the row of China books on the shelves these days - it's about real people and how their lives have been changed by this modern industrial revolution.

The China Price on BBC's Radio 4

One of the things I keep thinking about is that what is happening in China's factories is a reflection of our shopping habits in the West. In a big chain store in London this morning, I saw three simple tank tops for £10. I don't have any inside information on how those shirts were made, but it did give me pause: could they really have been made under the kind of conditions that would make me feel good about my purchase? What kind of information do I, as a consumer, really have about how those shirts were made? The answer is: I have to trust the company that is selling them to me. Sure, we trust companies to tell us the truth about a lot of stuff: we trust them to tell us the truth about the way they use investor funds, to be honest in their accounting, etc. But there is a standardized framework, and several layers of regulatory bodies, to hold them to account if they lie to us or take unethical shortcuts. There is no such regulatory framework to hold them to their promises on social and environmental compliance. Listen to my BBC Radio 4 appearance here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Shenzhen raising minimum wage to US$144/month

The city of Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, has announced that it is raising its minimum wage to RMB1,000 a month in the center of the city. That's $144 a month or $1728 a year for the most basic factory salary, before overtime and benefits. Paltry, yes, by Western standards, and sure to be inadequately enforced, but quite significant by Chinese standards. I could be wrong, but I think that's the highest minimum wage in China right now. Thanks to CSR Asia for pointing it out.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thoughts on sloppy reviewers

I had dinner last night with a well-known author who made the excellent point that people who review your book don't always read it. It's been something that's bothered me for a while, ever since The Economist ran a mini-review of my book back in January, apparently WITHOUT EVER HAVING READ THE BOOK. If they had a copy of the book, they had to have stolen it, because neither I nor my publisher, Penguin, gave anyone at The Economist a pre-publication copy. Another pet peeve this author mentioned is that people who review your book sometimes SKIM it. This unfortunately seems to have been the problem with Le-Min Lim over at Bloomberg, who notes that I have neglected to mention the "hub effect" in Guangdong province. It's a shame she failed to read my discussion of the "hub effect", also known as the "cluster effect" on pages 9-10, 251, 280-81, and 282. Read these sloppy reviews and other more thorough ones in the Reviews section on the right.

Boston Globe reviews The China Price

The China Price is "journalism at its highest level", David Shribman writes in the Boston Globe. In a very positive review, the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls The China Price "thoughtful and provocative". He reviewed the book in combination with Fareed Zakaria's The Post-American World. Read the review here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The China Price on China Law Blog

Check out The China Price on the China Law Blog! Read all about it here.

The China Price on Dennis Prager

I woke up at 1:30am last night to do an appearance on the Dennis Prager Show, a radio program. Dennis has some pretty clear ideas about China: he avoids buying Chinese-made goods whenever possible, because he believes it is a repressive Communist regime, he's worried about all those extra men produced by the one-child policy and the widespread abortions of baby girls. My view is that we would have a lot more impact on the conditions of Chinese factories if we thought more about how American companies treat their overseas suppliers. Listen to the story here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sichuan migrants need money

CHENGDU, China, May 26, 2008 (AFP) - After rushing back to their families following China's devastating quake, many migrant workers are returning to their jobs in the industrial heartland to funnel desperately needed cash home.
Still grieving and in shock after the tragedy that killed more than 60,000 people in largely mountainous and rural Sichuan province, the young men and women from farming areas feel they have no choice but to head back to work.
Sitting on a curb outside the main railway station of Sichuan's capital, Chengdu, 34-year-old Li was contemplating the fate of her family in quake-hit Mianyang as she waited for a train to take her back to her job hundreds of kilometres (miles) away.
"The family home is too dangerous to live in so everyone is outside, and they'll have to build a new house though I can't imagine how long that will take or how much it will cost," said Li, who only gave her surname.
Li works as a sewing machine operator in a textile factory in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, China's premier manufacturing region.
She and her husband, who works in a Hong Kong-owned electrical goods factory in Guangzhou, had rushed home 10 days earlier after not being able to get through to their families by phone for two days.
They would have to work and save even harder now, Li said, as she counted herself lucky not to have lost her only child, a 12-year-old daughter.
Many parents were not so fortunate when schools collapsed after the quake hit at 2:28 pm, during nap time.
Like many Sichuanese working in Guangdong, Li took annual leave to return home.
If workers wanted longer than their statutory two weeks' leave, they could take leave without pay, said Liu Kaiming, an expert on labour movement at the Shenzhen Institute of Contemporary Observation.
He added that many factories had helped Sichuanese get home, and were holding their jobs for their return.
Two weeks after the 8.0-magnitude quake, China's government is spending vast sums of money providing for the millions of people made homeless in the disaster.
But many are also depending on money being sent back by the millions of young Sichuan men and women such as Li who comprise one of the biggest groups of migrant workers in China's industrial revolution.
The money they send home is always a vital source of income for villages and towns across Sichuan, but even more so now after the disaster, said Alexandra Harney, author of "The China Price," a study of China's manufacturing boom.
"Most who have come home after the earthquake would be encouraged to go back to their factory jobs to ensure the flow of remittances continues as the need for that money has been exacerbated by the tragedy," she said.
Sichuan is one of China's most populous provinces, with nearly 90 million people, and one of the poorest as it is mostly mountainous and largely agrarian.
As a result, millions of Sichuanese have headed out in search of work, with five million in Guangdong alone -- accounting for almost 20 percent of the workforce there, Wang Liwei, of Guangdong's labour department, told official media last week.
Harney said the earthquake damage would have exacerbated the poverty of many people in the stricken region, and could potentially lead to an even greater exodus of Sichuanese looking for high-paying jobs.
"What drove them to Guangdong in the first place was a desperate need to make money and that need is now even more desperate," she said.
"If I'd lost my home and my family, I would know that I could find a place to live in a dormitory and earn a steady wage in a factory in Guangdong."

More ways to help Sichuan

Since I posted links to groups that are helping the rescue and recovery efforts in Sichuan, I have received a number of responses which, hearteningly, indicate that there is a lot of demand out there for more ways to give. One organization that looks really interesting is GlobalGiving, which makes giving money and time easy and transparent. They have been supporting Half the Sky's earthquake relief fund and created their own. Crucially, GlobalGiving makes sure that 85-90% of the funds you give are on the ground where you want them to be within 60 days, and they provide regular updates on how your money is being used. Very impressive stuff. Check out their website here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ethical Corporation Podcast

While I was in Shanghai, I did a podcast with Paul French, the super-duper Asia editor for Ethical Corporation. He knows his stuff. The podcast is available here.

How to help Sichuan

There has been an incredible international response to the earthquake in Sichuan, and that is heart-warming given the scale of the disaster. Fortunately, all of my friends from and in Sichuan, including Tang Manzhen, Deng Wenping's widow, are okay. But there are many more who really need our help.Here are a few of the places I am hearing about for donations. Of course, there are many, many more:

Half the Sky Children's Earthquake Fund
If you would like to donate to Half the Sky's Children's Earthquake Fund
you can do so through Global Giving:

Or directly to Half the Sky. You can donate by calling Half the Sky
(+1-510-525-3377) or on our website:'s+Earthquake+Fund

Also check out the National Committee on US-China Relations' excellent list of organizations here. This relief effort will no doubt be going on for years, so they will need all the help we can provide.

Earthquake Aftershock

The Carnegie Council magazine Policy Innovations did an interview with me while I was in Shanghai last week about the policy implications of the earthquake in Sichuan. The interview seems to be getting quite a few hits, which is great, though the subject matter is really sad. Read the interview and my responses here. More to come on places to donate money for the earthquake relief and rebuilding effort shortly.

Taiwan's China Post on The China Price

The China Post ran a story about The China Price earlier this week, picking up a story by Guy Newey that ran on the AFP wire. The story talks about how workers are becoming more empowered, learning about their rights and standing up to their employers. It's one of my favorite themes, and I am hoping more people will start talking about this issue. Slowly but surely, Chinese workers are changing China, and they will change the world. Read the story here.

The China Price on NPR

I was in China last week during the devastating earthquake, and it was an extremely sad, moving week to be there. It was extraordinary watching the Chinese television coverage, particularly as more reporters went deeper into the quake zone than I had expected. Wen Jiabao, in particular, made some very moving appearances in Sichuan, which were of course broadcast nationally. While I was there, I did an interview with Renee Montagne of Morning Edition on NPR. Listen to the interview here.

The China Price in AdvertisingAge

Last week, AdvertisingAge, the advertising industry's must-read, ran a piece I wrote offering some advice to executives sourcing from China who would like to know what's really going on in their factories. It generated a spicy little debate on the website, starting off with a comment from a man based in Shanghai accusing me of "cheap self-promotion" and concluding, as we hear increasingly, with someone trying to avoid buying Chinese-made goods entirely. Read the story, and its mouth-watering commentary, here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Barnes & Noble Features The China Price

If you're in New York city or planning to be, the Barnes & Noble at 5th Avenue and 46th street have devoted an entire window to The China Price. I don't have a picture yet, but when I do, I'll put it up here so you can see how cool it is.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

China Price rising for computers

You heard it here first. The Financial Times is reporting today that the prices of computers are about to go up because of rising raw material and labor costs in China. I first wrote about this in my book, The China Price, and then in Slate last month. As Kathrin Hille writes in the FT, "The Taiwanese manufacturers have called for price rises following past surges in cost, but never managed to get their customers to agree. Now, however, several of the branded PC companies have agreed to share part of the burden, recognising that the entire supply chain is clamouring for price rises, according to executives at the notebook manufacturers." Read the FT story here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

TimeOut Hong Kong on The China Price

"Harney has delivered the most important book on the mainland economy of the year." That's what TimeOut Hong Kong reviewer Nick Walker had to say about The China Price in the fabulous first edition of TimeOut Hong Kong (which is awesome, a major improvement to the Hong Kong cultural scene). He gives the book five stars out of six - and the only other book to merit that high a rating in the section is one by Kurt Vonnegut. Check out the review online here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The China Price is recommended reading

ThomasNet, an online resource for industrial companies, has recommended The China Price to its readers. Check out their recommendation here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The China Price a must read for consumers

The China Price "should reside on a bookshelf in every household where the words “Made in China” appear." That's from a great review of the book in Cairns Media Magazine. Cairns says the book is the exception to the rule that business books are "as fascinating as dog droppings." High praise indeed. Read the review here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The China Price on Fox Business Network

For those of you with enough patience to navigate through this page, my appearance on Fox Business Network talking about the meaning of "the China price" to all of us and the issues in product safety is available here.

The China Price on WNYC's Leonard Lopate

I was on WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show a few days ago and really enjoyed it. Check out the lively debate about China and its manufacturing sector that sprung up on the website afterwards. Listen to the show and read the online debate here.

The China Price on Voice of America

The China Price made it onto the Voice of America, quoting me speaking in Washington about rising prices from China - a theme I've been repeating in my talks here, and one I'm quick to stress is not such bad news, as long as it means that workers in China are getting a better deal. Check out the article here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The China Price in the Dallas Morning News

Greetings from New York! The China Price made it into two big newspapers today. The Dallas Morning News ran an excerpt from the Slate piece I wrote a few weeks ago about rising Chinese prices - clearly a big issue at a time when everyone in the US is already worried about rising gas prices. Read the excerpt here. Separately, The Washington Post Outlook section ran a charticle I compiled about Chinese and Americans' varying use of language to describe the same concepts. It's not online, as far as I can tell, but if you get a copy of Sunday, April 20th's Washington Post, it's in the Outlook section.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cairns Media Magazine on The China Price

Cairns Media Magazine, an online magazine founded by Canadian John Cairns, has done a piece on The China Price. Check out the feature here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Great column by Howard French on China

Howard French, perhaps my favorite columnist, has a great piece on China and the recent international criticism over Tibet today in the International Herald Tribune, and therefore perhaps the New York Times. He talks about how Chinese people are the real victims here - not because they are being criticized, but because such open criticism is not permitted in China. A great piece. Read it here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The China Price on French radio

The book made its first cameo in France yesterday during an interview I did with Shanghai-based French journalist Carrie Nooten. The piece, which aired on France Inter, is about Chinese migrant workers, the 200 million people who have moved from the countryside to the cities in search of better paying jobs and whose herculean efforts are at the heart of The China Price. The name of the show is "et pourtant elle tourne". Just in case you were thinking of listening to the broadcast but were dreading hearing me speak that beautiful language poorly: I speak English, not French. Listen to the interview here.

Ethical Corporation reviews The China Price

"'The China Price' is a must-read for anyone sourcing or operating in China as well as those engaged in corporate social responsibility initiatives in the country. It’s also a book anyone who considers themselves an ethical or concerned consumer should read." So says Paul French in The Ethical Corporation magazine in a very positive review. Read the review here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Excellent point from a reader of Slate

Someone wrote in to ask what the renminbi has appreciated 16 percent against this year. Great point! That would be the US dollar.

The China Price Q&A on

I just did an hour-long live Q&A session on FT readers are really smart! They asked great questions. Check out the session and my responses here. Before that, I did a signing at Bookazine here in Hong Kong where we sold out of all of their copies of the book within an hour or so!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The China Price on Slate

Slate has published a piece I wrote about rising Chinese factory prices and what they mean for American consumers (hint: it means we're all going to be paying more for everyday goods for some time to come). Check out the piece here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The China Price on John Batchelor

I just did a live appearance with John Batchelor, the radio show host, on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles. John really enjoyed the book, and was a big fan of the You Tube trailer. Check it out in the links section below.

The China Price at Powell's in Oregon

The wonderful Holly McHugh sent in this picture of The China Price on the shelves at Powell's - the favorite bookstore of everybody I know in the Pacific Northwest. It's a little bit Where's Waldo, but if you're reading this blog, you know the cover of my book well. Now, if only we could get them to move the book a little higher on the shelves, closer to eye level ...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The ad from the FT

I had to post it! It was just too cool. This is from Friday's paper, so chronologically, things are a little bit out of order. But you forgive me.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Excerpt of The China Price in the FT

The Financial Times ran an excerpt of the book in today's paper. The selection is about Li Luyuan, a factory worker turned real estate agent. The piece ran on the front page of the Life & Arts section internationally and in the magazine in the UK. You can find the excerpt here.

The FT runs an ad for its excerpt of The China Price

Check out today's edition of the Financial Times (Friday, April 4, 2008) for a beautiful advertisement for The China Price excerpt. The excerpt will run in the Saturday, April 5 paper in the Life & Arts section internationally and in the FT magazine in the UK.

The China Price on NPR

Yesterday morning, National Public Radio in the US ran a discussion between me and Frank Langfitt, an NPR reporter who used to be based in China and recently went back to visit some factories in the south. Listen to the seven-minute story here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bookazine event in Hong Kong April 9th

The bookstore Bookazine has put together this flier to promote my signing at their shop in Hong Kong's Prince's Building on April 9th from 6:30pm onwards. I believe there are even free drinks.

Good review in the Financial Times

"Anyone running a company that outsources manufacturing to China, or is thinking of doing so, needs to read this book."

So says Morgen Witzel in this morning's FT of The China Price. Calling the book "well-written", Witzel concludes that "Harney provides a valuable insight into the worst problems of outsourcing and how they occur. Change is needed, and change will come; we must begin to prepare for it."

Read the review here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Review in the Ethical Corporation Magazine

Paul French of Access Asia, the market research consultancy in Shanghai, has written a review of The China Price in the next issue of Ethical Corporation magazine. More on that to come once the magazine is published ...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Updated calendar

I've updated and expanded the calendar so hopefully it's easier to read now ... please check out the calendar at the bottom of the page.

The China Price trailer on YouTube excerpt published an excerpt from The China Price today. The selection is about Sam, a young businessman in Hunan, central China. Sam's towel factory is not as competitive as it used to be, and his predicament is emblematic of what is happening at factories across China today. Read the excerpt here.

Where to find me and The China Price

Most of my confirmed media appearances and book talks are now up on the calendar to the right. Check in later for more, as I'll be updating the calendar regularly.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The China Price at Kramerbooks

Another spotting of The China Price at one of my favorite bookstores - Kramerbooks and Afterwords in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of my brother Brendan. Again, I believe we are looking at another co-op, which is cool. Another piece of good news is that I've been invited to talk about The China Price on CNBC's Squawk Box Asia, here in Hong Kong. More to come on that soon.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The China Price on shelves now!

Just in from Washington, DC: The China Price is actually on the shelves of bookstores! This picture, courtesy of my brother, looks to be evidence of what I think they call in the book publishing industry a "co-op", where the publisher arranges to have a book placed on the tables where it is easier to see, rather than tucked away on some dark and dusty shelf. So it's official: copies are available on shelves now!