Chapter 1

Guangdong's Transformation Strategy

Chapter 1 introduces Guangdong's new headline strategy with a more general discussion on the role of political slogans in modern China, a subject that can be a source of considerable mystery to Western China-watchers.

Chapter 2

Reform and Opening up – the Keystone to China's Rapid Development

Chapter 2 provides a more general introduction to the background to Guangdong's development through a brief overview of China's reform and opening up, the period that started with Deng Xiaoping's reforms following the end of the "cultural revolution" in the late 1970s.

Chapter 3

Introduction to Guangdong

Chapter 3 takes a more detailed look at Guangdong's development at provincial level, and some of the measures and projects that are in place or under way.

Chapter 4

The Major Pearl River Cities, and Some Typical Guangdong Companies

Chapter 4 introduces six of the principal cities of the Pearl River Delta, and some of the traditional companies that have grown and been part of their development.

Chapter 5

New Developments in the Pearl River Delta

Chapter 5 looks forward to future developments, again through the eyes of some of Guangdong's key companies, and also the structures that will support their development, the services, facilities, infrastructure and economic zones.

Chapter 6

The Government Contribution

Chapter 6 provides an overview of the political dimension, through interviews with some of the key departments at city and provincial level.

Chapter 7

All About Image

Chapter 7 reviews the question of China's image as presented by the Western media.

Chapter 8

Conclusion: Guangdong's Transformation Strategy – Prospects for Success

Chapter 8 offers the author' own conclusions on the impact and the prospects for success of Guangdong's transformation project.

"The world needs to watch Guangdong"

--David W. Ferguson, Author, "From 'Made in Guangdong' to 'Created in Guangdong'"

Scottish author David W. Ferguson has spent most of his adult life living and working in dozens of foreign countries in almost every continent around the world. He first came to China with his Chinese wife in 2006 and realized that China was unarguably the most misunderstood and misrepresented place he have ever visited.

In his book "From 'Made in Guangdong' to 'Created in Guangdong'", Ferguson challenges Western misconceptions of Guangdong's present and future and says the province is exploding with ambition, innovation, and technology and rivals anything the West can offer.

The following is Newsgd's exclusive interview with Ferguson:

[About the Book]

Newsgd: Can you briefly introduce the book "From 'Made in Guangdong' to 'Created in Guangdong'"?

Ferguson: The book is a part of the China Cities Series. It is quite different from other books in the series. It's about a province rather than a city. It's also different in terms of style, because it's a more serious book. The book deals with the economic, political, industrial and social transformation strategy, which the provincial authority is trying to implement. It's different in terms of style and has a different readership too. It is for those who are more interested in the business side of China.

Newsgd: What views do you mostly want to express in this book? Which part of the book do you think will attract readers?

Ferguson: I present an introduction to the transformation strategy itself. Westerners have a low opinion about the political slogans. I think it's a fundamental difference between China and the westerners' common sense. Because slogans have a long history in China and Chinese politicians do take slogans seriously. So when you talk about “Accelerating Transformation and Upgrading; Building a Happy Guangdong", in the west, you would tend not to take it seriously but for Chinese listeners – I believe there is considerable substance to it.
An important aspect that I am trying to highlight is that the “image" is of vital importance to the “Transformation Strategy". If Guangdong does not succeed in communicating that with the wider audience then the transformation strategy will only be half successful.
China is facing a struggle, because most of the coverage that it gets in western media is negative and hostile. People or journalists who work in China seem to spend all of their time looking for negative stories or stories that portray China in a poor light. There are a lot of journalists digging for the wrong things and highlighting them.
China has to find a way to respond to this unbalanced criticism. The Chinese will have to learn to compete with the Western media machine on its own terms. So, I think China has a huge job to present a complete image and Guangdong has to be in the forefront of tackling that problem.

Newsgd: Can you describe the image of China and Guangdong in most westerners' eyes?

Ferguson: Business people who come to Guangdong know perfectly well that Guangdong has a successful economy and is on the road to modernization and high-tech innovation.But a huge number of audiences are not familiar with Guangdong, and what's happening here. There are still a large number of people who dismiss the whole of the Chinese and Guangdong's industry and economy as making cheap products, cheap labor, using poisoned paint for export. You can see dozens of comments disparaging the Chinese industry and dismissing the Chinese economy from a position of complete ignorance. They have a picture of China that is almost 20 years old and a picture of Guangdong that is 30 years old.
A vast majority of people in the west have never visited China. Their only knowledge about China is from what they are told by the media. If the media tells them nothing but negative stories then the overall picture is not true.

Newsgd: Are there some western media who deliberately distort the image of China and avoid talking about China's progress?

Ferguson: There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that some media have a deliberate strategy to dismiss or distort the picture of China. Even new journalists when they come in to China know almost nothing about the country but just go straight into the negative stuff, strait into the hostile stuff.

Newsgd: Why do they focus on the negative or hostile stuff about China?

Ferguson: I think there is a huge tendency in western media for journalists to think their job is to only criticize rather actually report information. That's what people like to read.
Also, the position of developed western countries is threatened by China's rise and they do not like it. So, there is very clearly a political agenda to keep China in its place.
Western countries are currently going through domestic and international tension and a typical reaction is to find some target to distract people's attention. Unfortunately, China is the perfect target, because most of the people have never been there and the western public knows nothing about it.

Newsgd: Do you think this book can actually influence western readers' views about Guangdong?

Ferguson: This book is going to challenge a lot of misconceptions and a lot of prejudices; it won't necessarily be welcome for that reason but I hope it can at least create some kind of reflection in people's minds.

[A true reflection of Guangdong]

Newsgd: How did you collect the data and examples in this book? Do you think these examples are typical in Guangdong province and are a true reflection of the province's current situation?

Ferguson: The data was collected by my traveling around the Pearl River Delta, visiting different cities and visiting individual companies and development zones and talking to politicians and administrative departments. All of my information was collected by direct and face to face contract.
We tried to have a very wide range of companies so we looked for large companies, privately own businesses, SOEs, and companies involved in very high-tech and innovative businesses. But what we focused on were successful companies and companies that took part in the transformation progress. I didn't spend time looking for old fashioned, low-tech, low-quality type businesses. It's wasn't necessary because what the book is about is the future, rather than the past.

Newsgd: What stage do you think that Guangdong's transformation and upgrading is in compare to the whole process?

Ferguson: The “transformation and upgrading" strategy started last year, but it the process can be traced back quite longer than that. There were a number of complementary strategies that had been implemented and have been developed, such as the “double shift" strategy.
Guangdong's new transformation strategy, which has grown out of the “double shift" strategy, emphasizes social development, environmental protection and quality rather than quantity. It's hard for me to say what stage Guangdong is in at the moment, but I would say that the strategy is moving in the right direction and things are actually happening.

Newsgd: What do you think will the problem in Guangdong's transformation and upgrading strategy?

Ferguson: That's one of my biggest concerns about the strategy. I think it has to be as important as the industry and economic transformation. My concern is that too much energy and attentionwill be focused on the economic transformation and not enough is going to be focused on the social transformation.
I think there is a tendency for Chinese people to be very materialistic. But there still is a family and community based culture in China that is stronger than that in the West. China should learn lessons from the west which has lost its social cohesion in a very short time. I think the Chinese can avoid these problems because they still have a stronger social culture.
I do think Guangdong's happiness index is very important, which is a rating of people's satisfaction levels based on employment status, income, education, housing and medical care. It's just as important as may other economic measures. It has to be taken seriously and it has to be done appropriately.

[London Book Fair]

Newsgd: Your book will be presented at the London Book Fair this month. Can you tell us more details about this?

Ferguson: I'm very pleased to go to the London Book Fair, which is one of the biggest book fairs in the world. One of the main themes of the book fair this year is Chinese publishing. My publishers invited me to go along to promote the book and also a book about Suzhou.

As the pioneer of China's reform and opening up, Guangdong has been at the forefront of a long history of change. But the past is already past. How can Guangdong maintain its development? It has put forth its new development strategy. Ferguson's book demonstrates to us the significance of Guangdong's ongoing transformation that heralds a promising future.

Zhou Mingwei

President of the China International Publishing Group

As the pioneer of China's historic reform and sustained development, Guangdong Province is now the harbinger of China's industrial future, which requires transformation to enable rising worker wages– a necessity to correct China's severe economic and social imbalances. But the future will not be like the past and the transition from "Made in Guangdong" to "Created in Guangdong" will not be easy. Ferguson's account may not be the whole story but his portrait brings to life realities of Guangdong that are often neglected in Western media. The world needs to watch Guangdong.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Author, How China's Leaders Think: The Inside Story of

China's Past, Current and Future Leaders

David Ferguson presents a strong and fact-based argument to convey the message to readers that Guangdong's ongoing social and economic transformation is being misinterpreted by Western media. A common theme among Western China commentators has been that Guangdong's transformation strategy is presented as a "last-ditch" attempt to save the province from economic and social disaster as a result of the international financial crisis that started in 2008. Ferguson reveals the truth to his readers that Guangdong's transformation strategy was already firmly in place prior to the financial crisis, and will continue as an important part of the process of implementing the "scientific outlook on development". The transformation strategy has succeeded in minimizing the destructive impact of the financial crisis on Guangdong's complex and burgeoning commercial base, while Guangdong's old image as an Intellectual Property Rights "pirate" is way out of date. In recent years many local enterprises have begun to develop their own home-grown and high-level IPR, and this is a process that will continue and will accelerate.

Wang Shucheng

President of the Hong Kong-based Chinese language newspaper Wenwei Po

This is an excellent book about the development of Guangdong Province over the past few decades. The author highlights illuminating case studies of successful companies and the positive impact these enterprises have had in Guangdong. The book includes in-depth interviews with government officials and offers a unique insight into the government's thought process when it comes to presenting Guangdong domestically and internationally. The book also demonstrates how much effort the government has put forth to create favorable environment to attract investment and businesses from all over the world. It provides strong evidence of Guangdong's transformation from being the best place for manufacturing into an ideal place for innovation and creativity in China.

Fan Hong

City Branding Studio, Tsinghua University

The past 30 years have witnessed a dramatic change in Guangdong's economy that can be summed up in four words: from "made" to "created". David Ferguson looks at today's Guangdong with a fresh eye, and analyzes current and future changes. The result is a rational and insightful portrayal of the real Guangdong through the eyes of a Western observer.

China Daily