The Real China Model: What other developing countries should learn from China

September 13, 2018

On August 23, 2018, the United Nations and UN Development Programme hosted a public lecture titled, 'The Real China Model: What other developing countries should learn from China'.

Many view the China model as simply top-down governance coupled with massive investments in infrastructure, and worryingly, assume that other developing countries should or will copy these features. Yuen Yuen Ang debunks this common misunderstanding by drawing on her book, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, which systematically traces the history of China’s economic and institutional changes from 1978 to 2012. The real key to China’s success is not top-down control; instead, it’s “directed improvisation”—the mixture of top-down direction from Beijing and bottom-up improvisation among numerous local governments—that enabled a locally tailored pattern of development.  

Disclaimer: This lecture was designed to provide a different perspective for development professionals in Cambodia. This lecture was not meant to be an endorsement of the Author, her book or any specific development strategy, but merely as learning opportunity for the community.

Introduction by UN Resident Coordinator for Cambodia

Welcoming remarks by UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director

The Real China Model: Full lecture by Professor Yuen Yuen Ang

Q&A Discussion

PRESS RELEASE | The United Nations in Cambodia organized a public lecture during which Professor Yuen Yuen Ang, author of the book How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, spoke on “The Real China Model: What other developing countries should learn from China”.


OP-ED | THE CHINA MODEL: It's not what you think By Yuen Yuen Ang In 2016, the South Sudanese politician Anthony Kpandu led a delegation to China. What he saw there blew him away: modern industrial parks, high-speed trains, gleaming infrastructure, dazzling skylines. “It was magnificent,” he enthused. “You can’t believe it, but it’s there. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

STORY| AUTHOR LAUDS CAMBODIA'S EFFORT TO REVIVE TRADITIONAL SILK WEAVING : Speaking at ‘The real China model: What other developing countries should learn from China’ conference, Ms Ang said the use of local resources in Cambodia, such as the revival of the silk weaving industry, is an example of how authorities are driving development in the villages.