Big business and cadre management in China

Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard and Kasper Ingeman Beck publishes paper in The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies



In China an interesting form of rotation takes place between big business and the political world. Thus 1/5 of China’s governors and vice governors have a business background heading one of China’s large state-owned enterprises (SOEs). How this takes place and which qualifications the involved business leaders possess are shrouded in mystery. Based on prosopographical studies of Chinese business leaders, the present article attempts to open the black box, and provides statistical information on rotational promotion across industries in the 2005-2018 period. The paper also argues that Chinese business leaders have managed to keep their administrative ranking in the Chinese nomenklatura system. In fact, Chinese business leaders are quasi officials (zhun guan) and form an important recruitment base for leadership renewal. As such, the article suggests that the rotation of cadres within the “Iron Triangle” of Party-government-business constitutes the main unifying and stabilizing factor in the Chinese political system.

The page was last edited by: Department of International Economics, Government and Business // 02/14/2022