Unlock the Power of Doing Business in China:

The Ultimate Resource for Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and C-Suite Executives.

“Atkeson’s evocative memoir brings to life an extraordinary passage of China’s history. It gives the reader a fully sensory account of what living this journey was like.”
— James Kynge, Global China editor, The Financial Times

What readers are saying about

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Atkeson beautifully portrays the rise of a nation in all its craziness — providing a ringside seat for the greatest event of the last 40 years.

Rich Robinson
Professor, Guanghua School of Management, Beijing University

Mark has captured every nuance of a fascinating and thrilling chapter in China. His story both captures the past recent decades and foretells the next ones.

Elle Carberry
Co-founder, China Greentech

There are far too many books about China, but too few books like this in which an author helps you understand Chinese culture, business environment and Chinese people by sharing his years of experience across different industries in China.

James Li
General Manager in China’s automotive industry

Mark is hands down one of the most recognized Americans doing business in China. He is equal parts anthropologist, businessman and comedian as he describes the economic miracle and huge social changes that have taken place during his watch. His memoir/adventure is an easy and fun read.

Fritz Demopoulos
Cofounder of Qunar.com, China’s largest travel internet company, and Shawei.com, China’s largest sports internet company

Atkeson loves China, but doesn’t always like it. He views today’s China with dexterous clarity, in-person bravado and no small amount of humor.  A must-read for all, as we strive to write a new chapter in superpower relations.

Thomas Kirkwood
entrepreneur and investor in China for more than 35 years

Anyone wanting to experience China should read Mark’s experiences to
save themselves time, heartbreak, and money. He understood the language
unfiltered through an interpreter, so had an uncensored interpretation of what
was said and what was really meant. Even today when I hear the expression
‘no problem,’ I prepare myself for a problem!

William Gormley
former operations manager, Pratt & Whitney

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About the Author

Mark Atkeson is an international business leader, investor, entrepreneur, and author. A foremost expert on doing business in China, Mark managed, partnered in or provided services to Chinese-based companies for more than three decades in industries ranging from machine tools to aircraft engines, automotive manufacturing, mobile technology, startup venture investing, and aviation asset trading.

Book Chapters


Chapter 1: Taking a Leap of Faith into an Alien World

A trip to China in winter of 1982 reveals a destitute world of stoic Chinese dressed in threadbare Mao suits riding black bicycles in desolate low-rise Beijing devoid of cars and neon with only occasional sightings of budding entrepreneurs vending goods on the streets of the cities.


Chapter 2: Trading Knowhow for Uncertain Sales

Fresh out of college and equipped with rudimentary Chinese and three months of machine tool training, I dive into China to manage the transfer of equipment know-how to a Chinese partner while traveling to China’s frontiers to sell and install U.S. built computer-controlled machines in dilapidated factories.


Chapter 3: Beholding Bubbly Japan

The lure of the Japanese economic juggernaut storming world markets with cars, consumer electronics and computer chips tugs me into Sony Corp. in Tokyo, where I witness firsthand Japan Inc.’s brash drive to become the world’s number one economy at the end of the 1980s.


Chapter 4: Pursuing Alternatives to China

The Tiananmen Massacre in 1989 banishes China to the penalty box of outcast nations, convincing me to seek new business opportunities in Fortress Europe, where I work to cajole businesses from multiple European countries, cultures, and languages to collaborate in a consortium for 3D Printing operations.


Chapter 5: Lurching Toward a Bumpy Takeoff

China emerges from outcast status to gold rush, thrusting me into the hot seat as a representative of Corporate America to introduce sophisticated commercial aircraft and engines to state-owned airlines that are evolving from fleets of Soviet clunkers to shiny new Boeing aircraft with Pratt & Whitney engines.


Chapter 6: Going Down to the Countryside

Drafted as general manager of a newly formed joint venture between Pratt & Whitney and a state-owned MIG engine company, I travel to distant Sichuan Province, where the mountains are high and the emperor is far away, to build a factory, equip it with automated machines, hire and train workers and produce complex aircraft engine parts for export to the U.S. market.


Chapter 7: Combating Corruption

On my return to Beijing, I become a hired gun for a private equity firm to clean up and turn around their portfolio company producing diesel automotive parts, despite rampant corruption in the top ranks ranging from bribes and kickbacks to stealing our products out the factory door.


Chapter 8: Leaping into Risky Ventures

Having tired of factory management, I join two other partners to re-invent ourselves as venture capitalists investing in Chinese entrepreneurial teams importing successful mobile technologies and services into China, to customize them for China’s rapidly growing mobile-subscriber population.


Chapter 9: Chasing Pennies

I join the local operations of Chinese Internet companies recently acquired by a U.S. tech firm and work side by side with self-made Chinese entrepreneurs to navigate newly emerging markets in entertainment, gaming, information services, e-commerce and payments, while dodging restrictive regulations from the central government.


Chapter 10: Creating the People’s EV

China’s emergence as a powerhouse in lithium-ion battery production and low-cost automobile assembly sets the stage for our attempt to outsource an affordable highway-speed and long-range EV in China meeting stringent U.S. quality and safety requirements, and destined for export to U.S. consumers.


Chapter 11: Salvaging the Good

Waking up to the realization that foreigners are getting squeezed out of China by local talent, I re-invent myself as an aviation asset trader acquiring mature commercial aircraft introduced into the China fleet at the start of my career, and now ready for end-of-life salvage.


Chapter 12: Coming Home to America

Diminishing returns on the expat life in China — from snarled traffic to suffocating pollution to blocked access to the worldwide Internet — and the graduation of our children into U.S. schools lead my family to migrate home to America to a new chapter of finding friends and setting down roots in the community.


Afterward: The Youth Are Key to China’s Prosperity

China’s younger generations have grown up in a radically modern China, and when they finally assume control of the central government, they will plot a more positive course for their nation than the old-guard authoritarians currently wielding power.

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