China has longed been viewed as the ultimate frontier for business development. Since the 18th century, nations have been trying to enter the Chinese market in order to reap economic benefit from its ever-growing market. For centuries, China refused to open its borders until the British forced their way in through opium trade and subsequent Opium Wars. The defeat by the British led to partial colonization by many countries and the ultimate humiliation of China. What made the humiliation so profound was and is China's superiority complex.
The Chinese characters that make up China's name are Zhong Guo which translates to "middle kingdom". For over 2000 years, the nation has viewed itself as the center of the world and therefore far superior to any foreign nation. This notion is still central in the minds of not only the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) but also the everyday Chinese. Consequently, they still seek to reverse the damage and humiliation imposed by Western nations. After the CCP gained control in 1949, political ideology and Mao guided the road to redemption which proved disastrous with the Greap Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping took a more pragmatic approach by instituting a new campaign with the slogan "to get rich is glorious". China's new ideology is now defined as "socialism with Chinese characteristics". The Chinese have long been industrious and capitalistic. With the government retreating from everyday life, they are able to continue this long-standing tradition.
This paints the portrait of the background and context I will use to discuss James McGregor's work One Billion Customers as well as additional readings.