Adaptation and Context
Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Anders Örtenblad
With a population of 1.3 billion, China has recently become the second largest economy after the USA since 2010, and is increasingly playing an important and influential role in the global economy (Bergmann 2014; World Bank 2014). Since the economic reforms started in 1978, China has shifted from being a centrally planned to a market-based economy and experienced rapid economic and social development. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging about 10 per cent a year has lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty. On the other hand, China remains a developing country with incomplete economic reforms. According to official data, about 98.99 million people still lived below the national poverty line of RMB 2300 per year at the end of 2012, which is the second largest number of poor in the world after India. Therefore, poverty reduction remains a fundamental challenge for China’s economic development (World Bank 2014) and the resources for economic development have become imperative for China. According to Drucker (1992), land, labour and capital – the classical factors of production – have become secondary to knowledge as the primary resource for the new economy. Knowledge has been referred to as the only meaningful economic resource of the post-capitalist or knowledge society by Drucker (1993). Some even assert that the most valuable add on commodity is not physical resources but professional knowledge by which commodities serve customers well (see Løwendahl et al. 2001; Patterson and Marks 1992).
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