Where East Eats West is a terrifying guide on just some of the ways you will get screwed in China. The entire book leaves a continuous stream of “oh crap oh crap oh crap” repeating in my head and making me wonder why I’m not on the next plane out of this crazy place.
Only two things kept me going while reading this. First, this book is more for people who are setting up a business IN China, not doing business WITH China. It’s a huge difference, though there are still a lot of things to learn from the book, and hearing about some of them set me ill at ease with being remote while trusting a Chinese company to do my work with any kind of quality.
Second, this book is a whole three years old. That means it was written four years ago, and based on experiences from the last 20 years. Things change quickly in China; maybe in the last few years amazing things have happened with quality and the mindset of the Chinese. It’s unlikely that China has adopted Western ethics and corporate culture, so I shouldn’t discount the book on age alone. It’s still highly relevant. The second reason is just naive hope.
It was a quick read, and informative. But as I’m sitting in China right now, considering manufacturing my product here and worrying about all the horror stories I’ve heard, reading more of them in this book was certainly not something that made me feel any more comfortable about where I am.