15.225 China at a Crossroads: China Lab
Spring 2021, 12 credits.
Since opening its economy in 1978, China has been the world’s fastest growing economy and is likely to become the world’s largest within the next decade. This remarkable growth has lifted over 850 million out of poverty, built the world’s largest middle class, created a dominant export-oriented global supply chain, and launched remarkable platform business models and technology giants. Despite this, China today is still a work in progress, with a per capita income about one quarter of developed countries, high levels of income inequality, and significant environmental pollution. Adding to this landscape, China currently faces the internal political dynamics of increased control of society and the economy by the Chinese Communist Party, deteriorating trade relationships with much of the world and the strains of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
This class will explore current issues in China’s political economy and corporations with a focus on key issues that global managers need to consider as they navigate their China relationships and business strategy. The course will use case studies, lectures, class discussion, guest panelists and team projects to characterize the landscape and explore lessons for multinational and domestic businesses in China. Topics will include:
- Government policy and its implications for business strategy
- The U.S./China Trade War
- Covid-19 and its impact on China’s world status
- Hong Kong’s future and the Greater Bay Area
- China’s supply chain challenges
- The One Belt, One Road initiative
- Platform models and big tech – domestically and globally
- Intellectual property and technology transfer
- Innovation and new ventures
China Lab provides an opportunity to understand China through an Action Learning project in addition to class sessions. Projects are divided into two tracks: issues involving political economy and those of corporate management. Political economy teams will conduct research and analysis, and then recommend policy positions in consult with faculty, NGOs and think tanks. Corporate management teams will address issues or management challenges with an entrepreneurial Chinese company and produce actionable recommendations to the host company. A unique feature of the corporate management track is that many of the projects are composed of mixed teams with Chinese IMBA students, adding additional learning opportunities of cross-cultural and remote teamwork.
Projects focus on dynamic vertical markets such as artificial intelligence, the sharing economy, social media, health care, energy, fintech, and manufacturing. The content scope includes business strategy, market entry, new business development, marketing strategy, competitor analysis, operations management, and financial strategy. Under current MIT COVID-19 restrictions, projects will be conducted via remote engagement.