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Jim McGregor: Nationalism, Trade, and China

by Steve Stine

Author, China expert, senior corporate advisor Jim McGregor on how to do business with the Party, the shifting shape of innovation in China, global ambition, and his visit to a rat restaurant.

When I started putting together the list of people and personalities I wanted to feature on this podcast Jim McGregor—acclaimed author, China expert, Senior Corporate Advisor—was at the top of it.

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that Jim knows China better than anyone. The second is that I love talking to him. He’s a born storyteller and he always finds a way to make me laugh.

I first met him years ago, back when we were both journalists working an Asian beat. Since then he’s gone on to be one of the most respected China experts in the world. During our conversation he tells a mesmerizing story about a sit-down he had with Chinese and American diplomats. The Americans had turned to Jim to tell it like it is, and he did exactly that. His thoughts on the Trump presidency and what it means for Chinese-American economic and other relations are here as well.

Like all my interviews on Inside Asia, this one was not done in a studio. I’m on the ground. This episode finds me and Jim in the executive lounge of the Marriott Hotel Northeast, one of the first global hotels in the capital of Beijing, just a stone’s throw from the US Embassy. We sat in a darkened corner of the lounge drinking scotch.

One last thing. This is a candid conversation. Not exactly NSFW, but if you have little kids around, you might want to listen to it with the headphones on. That’s all I’m going to say.

If after you hear this you’re looking for more McGregor, check out his recent article on the “Art of the Deal” in China and his perspective on how Trump can with with China. While you’re at it, you might also want to get hold of Jim’s crucial book No Ancient Wisdom, No Followers: The Challenges of Chinese Authoritarian Capitalism.