The End of the Big Business-China Love Affair

Corporate America used to be enamored of China, and vice versa. The attraction is fading

Alex Hofford / EPA / Corbis

In May 2005, when the corporate world's enthusiasm for China was at its peak, I spent a few days in Beijing in the company of a bunch of top business executives from the U.S. and Europe. The occasion was a conference sponsored by my then employer, Fortune, and as I sat through the speeches and panels and dinners, I was repeatedly struck by the almost puppy-like devotion to the Middle Kingdom voiced by Western CEOs.

This can't possibly last, I remember thinking. I had no real idea how it would end, though, just a vague sense that the Chinese mix of...

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