How did the poor, isolated People’s Republic of China become the factory to the world? Shelley Rigger argues that the origins lie in Taiwan. In her new book, The Tiger Leading the Dragon, she describes the evolution of Taiwan’s influence from the period when Deng Xiaoping lifted Mao’s prohibitions on business in the late 1970s, allowing investors from Taiwan to collaborate with local officials in the PRC to transform mainland China into a manufacturing powerhouse. In the late 1980s, Taiwanese business owners lowered production costs by moving across the Strait, as China sought external investment to fuel its industrial rise. The book also explores Taiwan’s contributions to Chinese consumer behavior, philanthropy, religion, popular culture, and law.
The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations held an event on October 26, 2021 with Shelley Rigger to discuss her new book.