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Asian eclipse:exposing the dark side of business in Asia

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"Asia can be a crazy place" and conducting business in this region often means "grappling with cronies, corruption and conglomerates" according to author Michael Backman. In his book Asian Eclipse, he takes us over the proverbial Chinese wall to reveal the bribery and corruption rife in the Eastern corporate world. Delving into what constitutes "Asianness," he exposes a highly complex corporate landscape--one where Confucian thinking pervades all aspects of business culture; bankruptcy is considered an affront to one's ancestors; the media are threatened with closure for reporting on "sensitive" issues; patriarchal management and nepotism are the norm, often ending in costly family disputes; and auditing and corporate governance are new concepts! With a thorough analysis of the different Asian markets, he lays bare the structurally inherent flaws that led to widespread economic crises from 1997 to 1998. In his view, "the real Asian 'miracle' is that the economic collapse didn't happen earlier". Packed with detail, this book should be the bible for anyone considering doing business in Asia, but is also accessible to the lay reader. The chapters end with excellent case-studies that provide rare and fascinating insights into some of the more shady corporate practices in the region, including President Soeharto's ventures, and also the contributors to Clinton's 1996 campaign funds. Backman recounts many incidents from firsthand experience, reflecting the wealth of knowledge he has accumulated from his extensive time in Asia. --Neelam Dongha
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