Cover of From Iron Fist to Invisible Hand by Irene S. Wu
From Iron Fist to Invisible Hand
The Uneven Path of Telecommunications Reform in China
Irene S. Wu

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2008
208 pages.
$46.00

Cloth ISBN: 9780804759625

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From Iron Fist to Invisible Hand uses telecommunications policy as a window to examine major contradictions in China's growth as an economic and political superpower. While China policy analysts wonder why the government occasionally restrains growth and raises prices, technologists marvel at how the telecommunications industry continues to grow enormously despite constraints and unpredictability in the market. Frustration is pervasive in the business environment, where regulations are constantly changing. This book provides six policy-focused case studies, each centered on a question with implications for telecome stakeholders, such as: Who is the regulator?Who are the regulated? Which foreigners can enter China, thereby regulating wholesale prices, setting consumer prices, and introducing Internet and innovative technologies? These cases explain the government's liberal and conservative approach toward reform, the policies that both promote and constrain business, and the major hurdles that lie ahead in telecommunications reform.

About the author

Irene S. Wu is currently the Yahoo! Fellow in Residence at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, as well as Director of Research in the International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

"Irene S. Wu in this volume provides some clues to the miraculous performance by a comprehensive and balanced account of the uneven development of the telecom market . . . [Readers] can surely find clues from Irene Wu's book as to where to look for explanations for the performance of other Chinese industries and the economy as a whole."

—Huizhong Zhou, China Review International

"Irene Wu, an official at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission at the time of her writing, eschews the density that usually accompanies policy studies to tell a rich story of the liberalization and modernization of China's communications infrastructure . . . China's telecommunications revolution is a fascinating case study of market transformation, and this book successfully makes what can often be a technical and arcane topic an interesting study of market transition and development."

—Roselyn Hsueh, Journal of Chinese Political Science

"This is a valuable and timely book for scholars who are interested in the evolving regulatory framework of China's telecommunications sector."

—Yu Hong Journal of Asian Studies

"Irene Wu has created a study of telecommunications reform in China that will interest anyone studying economic policymaking in the major emerging economies. The book is both comprehensive and insightful, drawing on the author's personal involvement in U.S.-China governmental discussions over telecom for a number of years."

—Peter Cowhey, Dean, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, UC San Diego