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China's Great Wall of Debt

Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans and the End of the Chinese Miracle
Narrated by: Dinny McMahon, Roger Davis
Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The world has long considered China a juggernaut of economic strength, but since the global financial crisis, the country's economy has ballooned in size, complexity and risk. Once dominated by four state-owned banks, the nation's financial system is a tangle of shadow banking entities, informal financial institutions and complex corporate funding arrangements that threaten growth, stability, and reform efforts. The country has accumulated so much debt so quickly that economists increasingly predict a financial crisis that could make 'Brexit' or Greece's economic ruin seem minor and could undermine China's ascent as a superpower. 

Earlier this year, President Xi Jinping issued an urgent call for reform that gives the country until 2020 to transform its economy - a vaguely defined objective that most economists agree is unrealistic. Whether or not China will be responsible for the next global recession, as some experts forecast, the fate of its economy will have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world. Yet the inner workings of China's financial system are still very much a mystery to most outsiders. Now more than ever, as the country's slowing economy is being felt around the globe, it is essential to understand how China allowed its economy to become so mired in debt. 

China's Great Wall of Debt is a penetrating examination of the country's opaque financial system and the complex factors - demographic shifts, urbanisation, industrialisation, a pervasive over-reliance on debt-fuelled investments - that have brought the country to the brink of crisis. Anchored by stories of China's cities and its people, from factory workers and displaced farmers to government officials and entrepreneurs, the narrative will take listeners inside the country's ghost cities, zombie companies, start-ups and regulatory institutions as McMahon explains how things got so bad, why fixing the problems is so hard and what the economic outlook means for China and for the rest of us.

©2018 Dinny McMahon (P)2018 Hachette Audio UK

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-12-2018

A book for foreigners

A book for someone who lives outside China. If you live in China, 80% of the content is something you easily pick up in daily news (well, the author did a good job putting together these news).

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • William.Egan
  • 22-08-2018

Great facts, lacking the story

This book contains a number of very interesting facts and anecdotes about China’s economy. However, it lacks an underlying contention.

The author tells many great stories, but the narrative meanders quite considerably, and never really concludes with an overarching link back to any main hypothesis.

My take aways were therefore rather unclear. Three stars.

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  • Mr. T. P. Bedingfield
  • 24-06-2018

Made it all boring

They had all the ingredients for a thriller, corruption, secret police, the military, hacking and crime. Yet I was bored, the narrator is about as interesting as ditch water. So yes this book is interesting and has some useful points yet they are delivered in the most boring way.

So yes buy it but make sure you are really alert for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • without recourse
  • 30-09-2019

Informative and well written

very useful anecdotes and broad analysis. Leaves the reader to self summarize and project the future for China's rather odd situation

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  • Vibin Joseph
  • 13-02-2019

A great deal of information

You would get a great deal of information about the Chinese economic miracle in one place. There are not many 'aha' moments during the course of listening to this book; may be because I have come across similar stories in many articles and podcasts in the recent past.

I'm not very happy with the narration because of his constant variation in the volume along with the tone. Some words are not audible if I the volume to my normal listening taste. When I increase the volume after rewinding he shouts the very next sentence. Not very comfortable listening to in a busy metro.