China's Second Continent Book Summary - China's Second Continent Book explained in key points
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China's Second Continent summary

Howard French

How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa

3.8 (101 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

'China's Second Continent' by Howard French tells the story of China's growing presence in Africa and the impact it is having on the continent and its people. The book explores the complexities of China-Africa relations and sheds light on the perspectives of both Chinese and African people.

Table of Contents

    China's Second Continent
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    China has benefited greatly from globalization, but still faces many social problems.

    Everyone has seen the phrase “Made in China” stamped on a product at some point. China might seem to be the world's factory, but it hasn't always been that way. Chinese products actually began spreading in the 1970s, when China started reaping the benefits of the first wave of globalization.

    Today, China is the fastest-growing economy in the world, thanks largely to the Western companies that have relocated their production there after the ‘70s. It was more profitable for such companies to produce goods in China because of the country’s large pool of human resources and its different political climate.

    In fact, 40 percent of the world's economic growth over the last two decades has come from China alone. Over the same period, the Chinese economy has maintained an average annual growth rate of 10.2 percent – and it's no longer satisfied with just being the world's factory. China is now stepping up as a major player in international politics and is ready to shape the global market.

    Economic progress hasn't improved the lives of all Chinese people, however, and many still want to leave the country. Several of the Chinese people interviewed by the author described the intense social pressure they're under at home. Overpopulation, the one-child policy (which limits couples to having only one child) and harsh competition in the workplace have left many Chinese people frustrated with their society.

    Hao, a Chinese man who started his own farm in Mozambique, was very clear about his dislike for the social system he left behind. He and many others have emigrated from China, where they can't get ahead because of widespread corruption and the extreme gap between rich and poor. These migrants relocate so they can have more opportunities for advancement, but also to find new homes for their families.

    With its rapid growth, China needs a new place to expand to, and it's found the perfect spot: Africa.

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    What is China's Second Continent about?

    China's Second Continent (2014) is about the mass wave of Chinese migrants who have relocated to Africa in the last few decades. These blinks trace the origins of this migration and outline the profound impact it has on both regions, Chinese-African relations and the world at large.

    China's Second Continent Review

    China's Second Continent (2014) explores China's growing presence in Africa and the profound impact it has on both continents. Here's why this book is a fascinating read:

    • With meticulous research and firsthand accounts, it reveals the complexities of the Sino-African relationship, exposing both the opportunities and challenges.
    • Through vivid storytelling and personal narratives, the book humanizes the individuals involved, providing a nuanced understanding of their motivations and experiences.
    • By delving into various sectors, such as infrastructure, agriculture, and trade, it highlights the far-reaching consequences of China's engagement in Africa, providing valuable insights for global politics.

    Who should read China's Second Continent?

    • Students of Chinese or African politics
    • Anyone interested in international relations
    • Anyone curious about the long-term influence of mass migration

    About the Author

    Howard W. French is a professor of journalism and photography at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He served as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times for 23 years and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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    China's Second Continent FAQs 

    What is the main message of China's Second Continent?

    The main message of China's Second Continent is a fascinating exploration of China's presence and impact in Africa.

    How long does it take to read China's Second Continent?

    The reading time for China's Second Continent depends on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is China's Second Continent a good book? Is it worth reading?

    China's Second Continent is worth reading as it provides valuable insights into the complex dynamics between China and Africa.

    Who is the author of China's Second Continent?

    The author of China's Second Continent is Howard French.