What Is the Chinese Dream?

Forbes: Helen H. Wang

In an event in Silicon Valley, someone asked me: “In one sentence or two, would you tell me what is the Chinese dream?” (as he learned I wrote a book called The Chinese Dream).

A simple question, but no simple answers.

When I left China 20 years ago, there was no Chinese dream. I had to leave my country and come to America to pursue my dream of a better future. But today, many young people in China can start their own business and have a lot more opportunities. Even many of my American friends are going to China because of the tremendous opportunities presented there.

As a Chinese magazine editor told me bluntly, “The Chinese Dream is a copy of the American Dream.”

Many middle class Chinese are influenced by the American way of life. They are bombarded by many material temptations and proliferating choices. TV commercials, the Internet, and Hollywood movies give them a rosy picture of the American middle class.

One Chinese blog described it this way: “American middle class people live in a villa with a two-car garage in the suburbs. In front of the house, there is a green lawn. They have 2-3 children, and a dog. The husband goes out to work, and the wife stays at home taking care of the children. On weekends, they drive their SUVs to the countryside for barbecues and camping.”

That is the picture in most Chinese people’s minds of “the American Dream”— owning a big house, driving a nice car, and having a comfortable life. The Chinese middle class wants it all. Continue reading

News Release for The Chinese Dream in CBS, ABC, Boston Globe and Major Media

Press Release Headline:
Chinese-American author breaks ground on China’s middle class growth explosion

‘The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World’s Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You’ (ISBN 1452898049) by Helen H. Wang brings a fresh paradigm on how we view U.S.-China relations.

PALO ALTO, Calif. / In her new book, ‘The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World’s Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You’ (ISBN 1452898049), Helen Wang examines the impact of a growing Chinese middle class on the United States and the world. As a Chinese native and American citizen, Wang challenges readers to recognize that some of our fears about China are misplaced.

Over the next 15 years, Wang estimates Chinas middle class to reach a population of 800 million, more than double todays number. While some people in the West may fear the fast growth within China poses a global threat, Wang presents readers with information and research in an effort to show how this rising middle class will provide enormous opportunities for Western companies and become a balancing force that could help with Americas economic struggles. The Chinese Dream offers a fascinating look at one of the most dynamic forces shaping our world today, says Gady Epstein, Beijing bureau chief, ‘Forbes.’ A truly valuable read for anyone who wants to do business in China.

The author also argues that the United States and China complement each other in culture, technology, and manufacturing, which, when adopting a spirit of mutual learning and collaboration, could help solve environmental problems facing both countries and achieve a major leap in clean energy that neither could make alone.

I believe that the worlds stability and prosperity will depend on how well China and the West understand each other, trust each other and learn from each other, Wang said.

Wang hopes readers will realize both the unexpected similarities and the complementary differences between the Chinese and Western middle classes. Wang aims to deliver readers to the world of the Chinese entrepreneurial middle class through in-depth interviews, personal stories, and an exclusive perspective into how a growing global mindset may pave the way to a saner and safer world.

Whether China will become a more liberal and democratic society, whether it will retain the creative talents of people who in past generations have chosen to emigratethese and other questions are answered in Helen Wangs fascinating book, says James Fallows, a national correspondent for ‘The Atlantic Magazine.’

‘The Chinese Dream’ is available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels.

About the Author: Helen Wang is a ‘Forbes’ contributor and consultant on Chinas middle class. Originally from China, Wang has lived in the United States for more than 20 years. After finishing her masters degree at Stanford University, she worked in Silicon Valley, holding a variety of jobs, from consultant to Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneur at Internet start-ups. A sought-after speaker, Wang now divides her time between consulting for companies doing business in China and helping non-profit organizations make a difference.

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Chinese-American author breaks ground on China’s middle class growth explosion

“The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World’s Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You” by Helen H. Wang brings a fresh paradigm on how we view U.S.–China relations

PALO ALTO, Calif. Nov. 29th, 2010 – In her new book, “The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World’s Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You” (ISBN 1452898049), Helen Wang examines the impact of a growing Chinese middle class on the United States and the world. As a Chinese native and American citizen, Wang challenges readers to recognize that some of our fears about China are misplaced.

Over the next 15 years, Wang estimates China’s middle class to reach a population of 800 million, more than double today’s number. While some in the West fear the fast growth within China poses a global threat, Wang presents readers with information and research showing how this rising middle class will provide enormous opportunities for Western companies and become a balancing force that could help with America’s economic struggles. Continue reading

THE CHINESE DREAM Book Launch – A Huge Success

More than 150 people attended my book launch event in Palo Alto on December 10th.  The conference room at DLA Piper law firm was filled with people, enjoying Champaign and fine hors d’oeuvres while networking with each other.

As usual, there are always last minute details that need to be attended to before an event. I was running around to help set up the book signing table, greeting friends who showed up to support me, and answering questions from fans.

As usual, there are always things that don’t work as they are supposed to.  At the last minute, we discovered that the book trailer video, which was supposed to be projected on the background screen, did not work. Oh well.

At about 7 pm, Sara Rauchwerger, the president of Chamber of Commerce International Consortium for Entrepreneurs (CCICE), opened the meeting. Then, Gerald Brady, managing director of Silicon Valley Bank, introduced me and Forbes Beijing Bureau Chief Gady Epstein, who flew in from Beijing to attend the event.

The format of the evening was that Gady and I had a fireside chat about my book and China’s middle class. Continue reading

Nationalism and Westernization: China’s Place in the World?

Forbes: Helen H. Wang

Chinese New Year
Image by yewenyi via Flickr

The latest The Economist ran a 14-page special report on China’s place in the world. One analysis points out that China’s increasing nationalism could pose a threat to American power and undermine global stability.

The report cited that many Chinese scholars do not believe a partnership with the U.S. is realistic. As Wang Jisi, dean of the School of International Studies of Peking University, was quoted as saying: “Most Chinese would say the U. S. is the enemy.”

I do not want to doubt the source or accuracy of The Economist article. After all, it is one of the best publications that I routinely read – a publication with the most sensible arguments and balanced views.

However, in writing my newly-released book, The Chinese Dream, I traveled all over China and spoke to hundreds of people. They are entrepreneurs, students, government officials, businessmen, office workers, migrant workers, scholars, etc. Not a single person told me that they considered the U. S. as the enemy.

In fact, many people I met looked up the U. S. as a model and admired the American system. Continue reading