New Book Examines the Strategies and Success of Overseas Chinese Companies

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“New Asian Emperors: The Business Strategies of the Overseas Chinese” discusses the relevance of Overseas Chinese management techniques in today’s global economic crisis.

The global economic crisis is on the mind of business leaders everywhere, and a new book suggests that managers may be able to better navigate these treacherous times by looking at the management techniques of the Overseas Chinese.

“New Asian Emperors: The Business Strategies of the Overseas Chinese” examines the history and success of Overseas Chinese companies and discusses their relevance to today’s economic climate. The book, authored by George T. Haley, Usha C. V. Haley, and Chin Tiong Tan and published by John Wiley & Sons, is scheduled to be released in April 2009.

Overseas Chinese, ethnic Chinese who migrated over a period of two centuries, have for years dominated the economy in Southeast Asia, a region of more than half a billion people. A small group of approximately 40 families have expansive, diverse holdings that include everything from hotels to industrial goods. These companies have been expanding their reach into East Asia, despite recent turmoil such as the Asian economic crisis and the SARS scare.

With the global economy in the midst of crisis, the strategies of these companies may offer valuable lessons for managers.

“As global economic turmoil mounts, and searches for stop-gap and long-term solutions continue, the participants of the G-20 meeting could use a few lessons from the resilient Overseas Chinese who have often faced such crises and thrived,” Haley said. “As profiled in our recently published book, Sukanto Tanoto and other successful Overseas Chinese businessmen brought their companies, and their countries, back from the brink of economic and political collapse after the Asian financial crisis over a decade ago. Their current strategies, which exploit their strengths, including their flexibility, frugality and decision-making styles, will probably provide them with ammunition to ride this tsunami as well, and make them formidable competitors.”

“New Asian Emperors” analyzes their present-day management techniques in the context of the history, culture and philosophical perspectives of the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. It draws on in-depth, structured interviews with often elusive Overseas Chinese CEOs such as Li Ka-shing, Stan Shih, Victor Fung, Stephen Riady and Mr. Tanoto. Based on the insights of these executives as well as the strategic information their companies use, “New Asian Emperors” explains:

  • The sources and characteristics of Overseas Chinese management;
  • Whether Overseas Chinese management practices will spread in the same way that Japanese management did in the 1970s;
  • Whether Western management technologies have found themselves outmaneuvered in Asia’s post-crisis arena;
  • The Overseas Chinese managers’ strategies for the informational black hole of Southeast Asia and what Western managers can learn from them;
  • The implications for successfully co-operating and competing with the Overseas Chinese of Southeast Asia.

In the following excerpt from the book, Mr. Tanoto the founder of Indonesia’s largest company, RGM International, described the situation he faced in 1997:

“… I was in the middle of a US $ 2 billion expansion when the crisis hit. We were really hurt … and foreign investors feared civil war. The original funding plan collapsed – the local banks collapsed; the foreign banks walked away. Cash was king.”

“New Asian Emperors: The Business Strategies of the Overseas Chinese”, ISBN: 978-0-470-82334-7, is available via:

The Wiley Web site: (, (

Or the authors’ site:

George T. Haley


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