Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Rise of China's Yuppie Corps: Top CEOs to Watch

[Li Cheng is Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Government at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York and a Member of the Institute of Current World Affairs in Hanover, New Hampshire. Born in Shanghai, Cheng grew up during the Cultural Revolution. He came to the United States in 1985 and later obtained an M.A. in Asian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Political Science at Princeton University.]

The remarkable development of China's economy has been matched by the rapid rise of China's entrepreneurs. A group of young, well-educated, urban economic elites—China's "yuppie corps"—has recently emerged and taken the spotlight. Focusing on the CEOs of China's 100 leading enterprises, this article assesses the demographic characteristics, professional backgrounds, and career experiences of China's most prominent business leaders. Their relatively young age and the growing importance of their enterprises indicate that the most promising executives in China's flagship firms may broaden the way in which future political leaders are chosen. The rise of the yuppie corps in the business leadership of the People's Republic of China also suggests that Chinese firms in various industrial sectors may become even more competitive in the world market in the years to come.

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