The Biggest Story of Our Time: The Rise of China’s Middle Class

I will be speaking at San Jose State University on November 8th, 2011. The topic of my presentation is “The Biggest Story of Our Time: The Rise of China’s Middle Class.” I will give an overview of the demographics of the emerging Chinese middle class and discuss what the rise of China’s middle class mean for entrepreneurs.

The event is hosted by International Business Association, a student-run organization. Please see the event details below:

When: Nov. 8, 2011, 6:00 pm

Where: Science Building 164 (SCI 164), San José State University, San José, CA 95192

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Jack Ma’s Real Intention: Yahoo! or Alibaba?

Soon after Jack Ma gave his keynote at the China 2.0 conference at Stanford University, the U.S. media was flooded with news that “Jack Ma is interested in buying Yahoo.” At a time when Yahoo!, one of the world’s first Internet pioneers, is struggling, a Chinese suitor sounds particularly alarming.

I was at the conference. Ma started his speech by assuring the audience that his appearance in the States has nothing to do with “getting to Yahoo.” But no one seemed to believe him. Most questions directed to him were in the vein of: “Do you plan to buy Yahoo?” “Have you approached Yahoo for a deal?” “How are you going to buy Yahoo and when?”

Jack Ma’s answer to these questions was, not surprisingly, politically correct: “I am very interested.”

People who speculate that Jack Ma’s aim is to acquire Yahoo! may have missed the point. His real intention may very well be to expand his Alibaba Group to the U. S. market. “I want to learn one thing here,” he said, “how we can help U.S. SMEs (small and medium enterprises). What value we can create between us, Amazon and eBay.”

That has always been Jack Ma’s ambition. People who have followed his story may know his famous line: “eBay may be a shark in the ocean, but I am a crocodile in the Yangtze River.” Now, the crocodile is testing the water in the ocean. Will the crocodile turn into a shark?

Read the full story by me on Forbes: Beware of Crocodile Entering the Ocean.

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The Chinese Dream Book Trailer for the Chinese Edition

This is a book trailer for the Chinese edition of my book The Chinese Dream, now available in China:

I really like this version. I think it is good for Chinese audiences. What do you think?

The Chinese edition of The Chinese Dream is available at and, a clone of Amazon in China.

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What Is the Chinese Dream?

A few months back, I wrote an article “What Is the Chinese Dream” here. In that article, I recounted an incident in which someone asked me: “tell me in one sentence or two, what is the Chinese dream?” I stuttered, and then said, “This is a simple question, but there are no simple answers.”

Since then, I have been thinking about this question, “what is the Chinese Dream?” I feel a little foolish that, having written a book titled The Chinese Dream, I still cannot articulate what the Chinese dream is.

When I speak to an American audience, I often say “the Chinese Dream is like the American Dream” (and this has even offended some of my Chinese compatriots). Yes, the Chinese middle class wants what Americans have – owning a big house, driving a luxurious car, and living a comfortable life.

But many would argue with me that that is not the essence of the American Dream. Continue reading

All the Jobs in China

I was quoted on The Daily, a new media for iPad, about Starbucks and PriceWaterHouseCoopers massive expansions in China: “All the jobs in China:  2 companies looking to hire from Asian giant’s huge middle class”:

Yesterday, accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers trumpeted plans to expand massively in Asia by hiring 15,000 people in China and Hong Kong over the next five years.

In fact, the firm said it will bring thousands of jobs to Chinese college graduates in the next few months, according to Dow Jones.

Starbucks, meanwhile, announced its own blistering expansion, vowing to more than triple the number of its mermaid- themed coffee shops in China by 2015. It’s aiming to get up to 1,500 locations in four years.

And here is where I was quoted:

Still, that doesn’t mean everything is gravy in China. According to Helen Wang, consultant and author of “The Chinese Dream,” even with companies bringing new jobs, China’s middle ranks are as worried about the future as we are.

“They have extreme anxiety because they don’t know how long this window of opportunity will be open,” she told The Daily. “They worry when the optimism will be gone, and if they don’t make enough money, the government won’t take care of them like before. So they grab what they can grab.”

Read the full article “All the Jobs in China” here.

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I Am on Weibo!

Since my book THE CHINESE DREAM is translated into Chinese and available to Chinese readers, I opened a Sina Weibo (Chinese Twitter + blog) account to interact with my Chinese fans.

Here is my weibo address: If you are also on Weibo, please connect with me. I look forward to interacting with you!

Until next time, live your dreams fully, everyday!

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How Asia Can Shape The World – Poorly Made in China or The Chinese Dream

I was very honored to be on a panel in a webnar hosted by Yinglan Tan, author of Chinnovation, with a group of distinguished China experts to discuss business trends in China and how companies can get China right.

Here is a description of the topics and discussions:

Asia will redraw the map of economic progress over the next twenty-five years. Growth is necessary to solve economic and social problems, but harder to achieve as the age of plenty gives way to the age of scarcities. China is obviously a key player.

  • What is the Chinese dream? How do the driven middle class and shows how the not-so-private sector operates
  • What is the possibility of democracy in China’s future
  • How can the idea of unity in diversity could help solve China and America’s growing energy, health, and environmental problems
  • However, what are the industry secrets, including the dangerous practice of quality fade—the deliberate and secret habit of Chinese manufacturers to widen profit margins through the reduction of quality inputs.

How can organizations that want to build effective strategies for China address each of these realities head on, just as GE, Yum Brands, Adidas, Nokia, IBM, Accenture, Microsoft, Cisco, and many other pioneering companies the authors describe have done. Shedding light on the brutal competition for today’s markets and resources in China?

About 120 CEOs and executives attended the webnar. Other people on the panel include Dr. Anil Gupta, Chair in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Robert H. Smith School of Business of University of Maryland, Paul Midler, author of Poorly Made in China, Joergen Oerstroem Moeller, visiting research fellow at Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. Host Yinglan Tan is a member of World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Fostering Entrepreneurship and has impressive backgrounds in business and academics.

It was a very stimulus and informative panel discussion.

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Helen Wang Speaks at Pasadera Country Club

I will be speaking at beautiful Pasadera Country Club on August 25 about my book The Chinese Dream.

Located within the Monterey Peninsula’s famed “Golf Capital of the World,” Pasadera Country Club is a 575-acre private gated residential community is secluded in a sun belt, only minutes from Pebble Beach and Carmel and accessible along the main corridor that links the coast to adjacent inland communities.

Free buffet dinner will be provided. Please join me if you can.


5:00pm Registration
5:30pm Buffet Dinner
6:00pm Book Talk and Q&A
6:45pm Book Signing

“In a mere two decades China has developed the world’s largest middle class. Helen Wang tells that story – and her own – in this wonderfully informative and readable book.”

Joseph Nye, Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University, the author of The Future of Power

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The Chinese Dream To Be Published in China

My book The Chinese Dream has been translated in Chinese and will be available for Chinese readers later this month. Shanghai Wen Hui Publishing House, my publisher in China, plans to launch the book at Shanghai Book Fair, August 17-23.

Here is the Chinese book cover:

Also, here is the full cover with back:

I am curious to see how the book is doing in China.

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