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Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 1998

Abstract

The transformation of the economy of China during the 1980s and 1990s sparked a wave of growth. At the same time, however, it left unresolved the relative roles of firms, formerly state-owned and managed, and the state itself, in providing social services. Formerly state-owned manufacturing enterprises once responsible for providing housing, medical care, and many other social goods for its employees, face a new set of imperatives: reduce costs, increase productivity and concentrate on the core business. This case, through a focus on the microcosms of two specific formerly state-owned enterprises, raises questions about which sectorùpublic, private or non-profitùshould be responsible for providing social services, and how transitions in the provision of such services can, or should, be made. The case is based on site visits to the Dong An Group, manager of a chain of Beijing-based grocery markets, and C&W Electronics, a major manufacturer engaged in joint ventures with non- Chinese firms.

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Abstract

The transformation of the economy of China during the 1980s and 1990s sparked a wave of growth. At the same time, however, it left unresolved the relative roles of firms, formerly state-owned and managed, and the state itself, in providing social services. Formerly state-owned manufacturing enterprises once responsible for providing housing, medical care, and many other social goods for its employees, face a new set of imperatives: reduce costs, increase productivity and concentrate on the core business. This case, through a focus on the microcosms of two specific formerly state-owned enterprises, raises questions about which sectorùpublic, private or non-profitùshould be responsible for providing social services, and how transitions in the provision of such services can, or should, be made. The case is based on site visits to the Dong An Group, manager of a chain of Beijing-based grocery markets, and C&W Electronics, a major manufacturer engaged in joint ventures with non- Chinese firms.

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