IXP Course: China; Current Challenges, Future Opportunities
Course Number 6045
Associate Professor Christopher Marquis
On-Campus meetings during the Fall Term: Wednesdays 10/23, 11/13, 12/04 from 5:30 - 7:30pm
Program fee & travel costs (see details on financial aid eligibility)
January Term travel (Wednesday, January 8 through Sunday, January 19)
1.5 credits applied toward Winter term requirements
Enrollment: Limited to 40 students
The goal of this IXP is to provide students with insight into the key future business opportunities in China that follow from its current economic, political and social challenges. Like the Chinese word for crisis which famously combines the two characters for "danger" and "opportunity," the course identifies business opportunities at a key transition point in the country's business environment. At stake is China's future growth trajectory and economic position in the global economy. Understanding China's economic model, growth prospects and the strategies of companies operating in China is perhaps the most important globalization issue facing future business leaders - both entrepreneurs and executives.
This IXP will focus on understanding the economic challenges and business opportunities created by the shift in Chinese policy from "growth at all costs" to "balancing growth with social and environmental stability." The course will therefore include visits with leading domestic Chinese and multinational companies in key industry sectors like information technology, venture capital, manufacturing, and real estate. It will also offer interview opportunities with both Chinese and multinational managers and entrepreneurs with different functional backgrounds. Examples of specific questions that we will examine in the IXP include:
Examples of specific questions that we will examine in the IXP include:
- China's economic success has been built on its labor supply and ability to produce goods at low cost. But recently other countries have begun to out-compete China on price. How can China stimulate domestic demand to replace volume lost to lower cost competitor countries? Related to China's production system, how should China address the serious labor issues that have emerged recently?
- What is China's role in the global economic and political system, both today and looking forward? China's rise has created significant controversy and debate in the United States, as political and business leaders raise question about China's production and economic model. How should multinational companies successfully deal with the constraints of the Chinese business environment? How do these uncertainties impact the success of doing business in China?
- How is a state-driven economy fostering innovation and entrepreneurship as a solution to China's future challenges? How do start-up and established entrepreneurial firms compete with state-owned firms that are backed by the extensive resources of the Chinese government?
- How can China balance its new focus on growth and sustainability amid massive environmental degradation? How is the government fostering environmental innovation and entrepreneurship as a solution to China's environmental problems?
Course Content and Organization
This China IXP has the following three elements:
- There will be three two-hour class sessions on October 23, November 13 and December 4 from 5:30-7:30pm. During these class meetings, we will read background materials to understand China's contemporary economic, political and social situation to lay the groundwork for the IXP experiences. The class sessions will consist of interactive exercises, films and case discussions.
- From January 8-19, 2014, students will accompany the faculty on an immersion experience trip to China. Students will undertake their fieldwork in the following cities: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The IXP will start in the financial and commercial center of Shanghai where students will engage with leading multinational, professional services, investment management firms. Students will then travel south to the economic engine of China's growth. In Guangzhou and Shenzhen students will walk factory floors of cutting edge manufacturers and visit key firms in China's real estate and high tech industries. Finally, in Hong Kong, historically China's global gateway, students will meet with leading corporations and financial institutions working to better connect China into the world economy.
- Students will be placed in teams based common interests as they relate to the IXP and conduct related fieldwork interviews with entrepreneurs and managers throughout the IXP. The teams will present their fieldwork results in China at a capstone event in Hong Kong. After returning to HBS, student teams will turn their field projects into a final paper. The final grades will incorporate their final paper, fieldwork in China as well as engagement during the IXP learning.
There are no educational prerequisites for this course.
The IXP ModelIn contrast to FIELD 2 Global Immersions, IXPs are customized according to individual faculty research and are designed to enable students to take an active role in the construction of their learning. In many instances, IXPS are built with a specific focus in mind and teams of students are called upon to collaborate directly with local company partners to scope projects, collect data and organize work plans before and during the immersion. Alternatively, some IXPs are designed to provide a more macro-level understanding of business practices in a specific country, and require students to prepare for engagement with a number of firms representing multiple industries. Longer in duration than FIELD 2, IXPs also tailor learning via field-based exercises, panel presentations, guest lectures, alumni events and plenary visits to relevant companies and organizations.
Course Credit and Fees
Students who successfully complete this IXP will earn 1.5 course credits, which will be posted in the Winter term.
HBS will provide in-country logistics for IXPs (including accommodations, select meals, and local travel) but students will need to contribute a fee of approximately $1,700 towards defraying a part of these costs. In addition, students are responsible for their international round-trip air travel to China and any costs associated with required visa documentation and immunizations. Students who have an existing financial aid application on file may submit for additional financial support to participate in this IXP. Please see the Financial Aid website for more information on financial support for IXP courses.
For detailed information about what the IXP program fee includes and excludes, as well as information about student accommodations, please visit the GEO website.