SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Understanding the Chinese Market

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

The purpose of the course is to describe and explain the evolution of Chinese managerial systems in ways that are both analytically sound and, at the same time, provide a range of knowledge that will be useful to those expecting to work in or with the Chinese business world.

The course is designed to accommodate the needs of both those with little previous knowledge of Chinese affairs and those with limited background in management studies. In this first of two Management in China courses, we set the analytical trail and then proceed to explore the interaction between long-run historical, geographical and social environments and the evolution of Chinese economic organisation and management practices. We examine the logic of centrally planned socialist economic systems and the application and limitations of such systems in China. We explain the stages of the Chinese economic transition. We also examine the managerial issues facing state-owned enterprises, township and village enterprises and the emerging private sector. We consider the possibilities opened up for managerial systems in ‘transitional economies’.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Upon completing study of this course, it is expected that students will be able to demonstrate that they can

  • Paint an overall picture of China concerning China's development strategy, China's institutional transition, macroeconomic environment for business, and features of the Chinese business sector. 
  • Understand the reform measures that have taken China to reach its current stage of economic development and business environment.
  • Understand the differences between China and other economies; in particular, understand China's special character regarding economic development & business environment, which are revealed during its transition from a planned economy to a market system.


This module consists of a 2-hour weekly lecture over 10 weeks of term plus a revision lecture in term 3 as preparation for the final examination. Students will be supplied with a syllabus with a breakdown week by week of required and additional reading. Reading materials are usually accessed electronically from the BLE and students should come to class prepared.

This module also has a weekly 1-hour tutorial where the questions posed by the tutor relevant to the lecture are explored and discussed by the students. Students also prepare and deliver a short presentation.

Total Work load:
Students on this module will have 3 taught hours each week. Additionally, adequate personal study time should be allocated for reading and class preparation.

Method of assessment

Assessment for this module is in three elements:

  1. One tutorial presentation at 10%
  2. One essay of 2,500 words at 30%
  3. One unseen 2-hour written examination at 60%

All elements except the presentation may be resubmitted

Suggested reading



Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules