Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2012 (Revised September 2015)

Doing Business in China

by Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Michael Shih-ta Chen, Nancy Dai and G.A. Donovan


This case examines the challenges and opportunities of doing business in China. It highlights China's remarkable economic transformation in the decades leading up to 2012 in the context of its history, culture, and politics. The case summarizes the main obstacles faced by businesses operating in the country—rising costs, human resource constraints, and increasing competition—with examples provided by HBS alumni working in Greater China. These lessons are brought home in the experience of one alumnus who is looking to expand his cosmetics company in China's rapidly changing business environment. Among other pressures he must manage intense competition, restrictions on access to capital, and product safety and quality concerns.

Keywords: emerging market finance; emergent countries; strategy; business history; Economic History; Emerging Markets; Business Ventures; Strategy; China;


Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, Michael Shih-ta Chen, Nancy Dai, and G.A. Donovan. "Doing Business in China." Harvard Business School Case 713-428, September 2012. (Revised September 2015.)