China Fast Forward: The Technologies, Green Industries and Innovations Driving the Mainland's Golden Future
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More About This Title China Fast Forward: The Technologies, Green Industries and Innovations Driving the Mainland's Golden Future


Will China Surpass the United States as an innovation nation?

China is tirelessly working to overcome its technological deficiencies by driving R&D initiatives in government and business and adapting Western Internet platforms for domestic use. It is extending its technological reach through a major drive to rival India as a services outsourcing leader and projecting its high-tech brands into the companies and homes of other countries. But whether China succeeds will depend on how it handles such issues as demography, energy dependency, and resource limitations.

The environmental challenges posed by China's vast manufacturing sector are well documented, but what isn't widely realized is that China is actually outstripping the West in all manner of green initiatives, renewable energy investments, research and development funding, and other areas essential to improving the health of the planet. However, omnipresent government intervention, environmental degradation, natural resource exhaustion, and other issues threaten to derail China’s rise to superpower status. As the country meets global challenges on a scale that few nations can match, China Fast Forward takes a look at what lies ahead and why China’s success is important to us all.

In this book, Bill Dodson explores China's reincarnation from a closed, agrarian nation into a modern, high-tech superpower bent on literally cleaning up its act.

  • Presents an on-the-ground survey and analysis of China's renewable and clean energy sector that identifies the kinds of projects and technologies Chinese enterprises and local governments are hungry for
  • Includes a discussion on how successful Chinese companies are developing their brands to go head-to-head with the world’s best-known companies
  • Discusses how central government conflicts of interest are actually foiling corporate and official drives to innovation across a range of sectors

Taking a look inside China's march toward becoming a sustainable superpower through innovation, China Fast Forward presents a balance sheet of the country's technological and social progress on its path to becoming a world leader.


Bill Dodson has been an industry analyst, advisor, and business manager in China since 2003. He has been quoted on China-related topics in Newsweek, National Public Radio, Bloomberg, the BBC, The Economist, Shanghai Business Review, China Economic Quarterly, and other international media outlets. A graduate of Cornell University, he is a columnist for the China Economic Review on the China energy sector. He makes his home in the Greater Shanghai area with his wife and son. Follow daily discussions on China innovation at


Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 Innovation Nation 1

Impure Research 4

The Patronage Party 5

Gimme a Big “I”! 7

What’s a Little Intellectual Property Theft between Friends? 10

Education 11

Grafting Innovation 13

A Cautionary Tale 16

The Glory That Was Ours 18

Chapter 2 The Fractured Web 21

Finger on the Button 24

Filtering for Profit 25

Just the Internet, Please; Hold the Coffee 27

Into the Fray 29

If You Can’t Beat ’Em 33

China Scrums 34

Chapter 3 The Silicon Paddies of China 39

The Hi-tech Face of China 42

If You Build It, They Will Outsource 44

Crouching Dragon, Leaping Elephant 47

A Tale of Two Outsourcers 51

On the Hunt for BPO in Deepest China 55

Chapter 4 Heavy Metal 59

Ships Ahoy! 61

Fast Car 65

A Ticket to Ride 69

Selling into Developing Countries 73

Chapter 5 Brand China 77

A National Image Made in China 79

When Being a Chinese Company Isn’t Cool 81

Beyond Cheap 83

Management Innovation 85

The Operation Was a Success. . . 87

What Was the Plan Again? 90

Red Flags 93

Branding Beyond Nationality 94

Chapter 6 Declaration of Energy Independence 97

Coal in China’s Stocking 101

Cleaning Up Coal’s Act 104

Economics Rules 106

Oily Risers 108

What a Gas 109

Breaking the Addiction 111

Chapter 7 Consider the Alternatives 115

Wind at My Back 116

A Little Ray of Sunshine 119

Damming Neighbors 124

Nuclear Deterrents 127

Welcome to Electric Avenue 131

A Battery of New Energy Technologies 134

Chapter 8 Errors of Emission 137

The Dark Side of the Sun 138

Get the Lead Out 141

Rare Earths, Common Pollution 145

When There Is No Longer a Backyard 149

Chapter 9 Dragon on a Diet 153

Watergy 155

Turning Water into Oil 156

Manufacturing Water 158

Building Sustainable Cities 159

Building Energy Effi ciency 161

Green Shoots 165

“Dunno Where It Came From” 167

Chapter 10 Assembly Required 171

Can’t We Be Civil? 173

“For We are Living in a Material World . . .” 177

Onward Christian Soldiers 178

A Charitable Streak 180

The Final Innovation 184

Hot House Innovation 186

Afterword The Curse of Steve Jobs 189

Indigenous, not Ingenious 191

The Scramble for Energy 196

Free Exchange 198

Oops! 199

A New Dialog of Discovery 201

Notes 205

About the Author 219

Bibliography 221

Index 223