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William Kirby | Can China Lead?

  • Harvard Shanghai Center 5th Floor HSBC Building, Shanghai ifc No. 8 Century Avenue, Pudong New District Shanghai (map)
can china lead

The Harvard China Fund Presents:

Professor William C. Kirby, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard University speaks on findings from his new book: Can China Lead?

5:30 PM: Registration; Cocktail reception with light refreshments
6-7:00 PM: Professor Kirby's speak on findings from his new book: Can China Lead?
7-7:30 PM: Alumni Reception

Seats are limited. If you are interested, kindly RSVP immediately to Anna Li at [email protected] First come first served.

In this thought-provoking book, noted China experts from Harvard Business School and the Wharton School assert that while China has experienced remarkable economic growth in recent decades (nearly 10 percent for more than thirty years), it now faces major challenges--tests that could shift the country's political and economic trajectory. A lack of accountability, transparency, and ease of operating in China--combined with growing evidence of high-level corruption--has made domestic and foreign business people increasingly wary of the "China model." These issues have deep roots in Chinese history and the country's political system. Regina M. Abrami of the Wharton School and William C. Kirby and F. Warren McFarlan of Harvard Business School contend that the country's dynamic private sector could be a source of sustainable growth, but it is constrained by political favoritism toward state-owned corporations. Disruptive innovation, research, and development are limited by concerns about intellectual property protection. Most significant of all is the question of China's political future: does a system that has overseen dramatic transformations in recent years now have the capacity to transform itself? Based on a new and popular course taught by the authors at Harvard Business School, this book draws on more than thirty Harvard Business School case studies on Chinese and foreign companies doing business in the region, including Sealed Air, China Merchants Bank, China Mobile, Wanxiang Group, Microsoft, UFIDA, and others. "Can China Lead?" asserts that China is at an inflection point that cannot be ignored. An understanding of the forces that continue to shape its business landscape is crucial to establishing--and maintaining--a successful enterprise in China.

About Professor William C. Kirby

William C. Kirby is T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He is a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor. Professor Kirby serves as Chairman of the Harvard China Fund and served as Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies from 2006-2013.

A historian of modern China, Professor Kirby's work examines China's business, economic, and political development in an international context. He has written on the evolution of modern Chinese business (state-owned and private); Chinese corporate law and company structure; the history of freedom in China; the international socialist economy of the 1950s; relations across the Taiwan Strait; and China's relations with Europe and America. His current projects include case studies of contemporary Chinese businesses and a comparative study of higher education in China, Europe, and the United States.

Before coming to Harvard in 1992, he was Professor of History, Director of Asian Studies, and Dean of University College at Washington University in St. Louis. At Harvard, he has served as Chair of the History Department, Director of the Harvard University Asia Center, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. As Dean, he led Harvard's largest school, with 10,000 students, 1,000 faculty members, 2,500 staff, and an annual budget of $1 billion. As Dean he initiated major reforms in undergraduate education in Harvard College; enhanced Harvard's international studies at home and abroad; increased substantially financial aid in the College and in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; supported the growth of the Division (now School) of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and oversaw the construction of major new buildings in the Life Sciences, Engineering, and the Arts. During his tenure, the Faculty expanded at its most rapid rate since the 1960s.

Professor Kirby holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and (Dr. Phil. Honoris Causa) from the Free University of Berlin and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has been named Honorary Professor at Peking University, Nanjing University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Chongqing University, East China Normal University, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and National Chengchi University. He has held appointments also as Visiting Professor at University of Heidelberg and the Free University of Berlin. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.