One of the objectives of Yasheng Huang's book Selling China: Foreign Direct Investment in the Reform Era is ‘to gain a better understanding of the operations of the Chinese economy in the 1990s as well as its FDI patterns’ (p. 69). We have no disagreement with Huang's general argument that for much of the 1990s domestic Chinese firms were less competitive than they would have been if the Chinese government had not favoured state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
Similarly, while acknowledging the positive impact of FDI on China's development, Huang has real concern with FDI's disproportionately large role in the economy. He further feels that ‘some of China's FDI patterns may reflect institutional inefficiencies and weaknesses’ (p. 67). Again, we have no real disagreement that this was the case in the 1990s.