The Chinese Strategic Mind

The Chinese Strategic Mind

Hong Liu

This book addresses the fundamental issue: does the Chinese strategic mind have its own idiosyncrasies which differ considerably from those of the Western mind? It expounds and unravels the particular characteristics of the Chinese strategic mind: what they are, how they are evolved and what strategic implications they have. This book adopts a holistic approach to an analysis of Chinese strategic thinking, drawing upon the fields of literature (including the sources of both the Chinese and English languages), military studies, political science, history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, linguistics and business strategy. It combines a detailed consideration of these disciplines with a series of case studies to elucidate the formation, nature and crucial managerial implications of the idiosyncratic Chinese strategic mind.

Chapter 6: The Chinese strategic mind at work: the case of Mao Zedong

Hong Liu

Subjects: business and management, asia business, business leadership, organisational behaviour, strategic management


Mao Zedong, the late leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the founding father of People’s Republic of China, which was established in 1949, may be considered as the best Chinese wartime strategist. A countless number of books, journal articles and doctoral dissertations, both in China and abroad, can be found on various aspects of Mao Zedong’s thought. In particular, there has been a resurrection of interest in reassessing Mao’s role in China’s history. Metaphorically, if research on Mao Zedong is seen from a marketing point of view, there are the researchers (marketers) who undertake ‘mass marketing’, studying Mao Zedong’s whole life; there are those who conduct ‘differentiated marketing’, looking into a major aspect of his life’s work such as his dialectic, poetry, philosophy or military thought; and there are those who carry out ‘concentrated marketing’, focusing on a particular point of his thought or action, examples being his thought about ‘the Cultural Revolution’ or ‘class struggle’. It is the concentrated marketing approach that this chapter uses, tapping into Mao’s strategic mind: how it has been formed and put into practice successfully. It is an area into which few researchers have ventured. Why is Mao Zedong’s mind chosen as a case study for Chinese strategic thinking? Mao Zedong represents the best indigenous Chinese strategic mind: embracing Tao, skilfully utilising stratagems, manipulating enemies, demonstrating Chinese dialectic, riding, creating and borrowing shi to the fullest and leading with the maximum of agility.

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