Journal Articles

“Big Business and Industry Association Lobbying in China: The Paradox of Contrasting Styles

2010, China Journal

Scott Kennedy, Deng Guosheng


In spite of China’s continued authoritarian political system, there is growing recognition that business lobbying is an integral part of the country’s policy process at both the local and national levels. As thousands of economic
regulations and laws have become key determinants of the fate of industry, all types of companies—state-owned and private, Chinese and foreign—have become active in every stage of the policy process, from setting the agenda to
identifying policy options and shaping regulatory implementation. Whereas interacting with officialdom used to be the responsibility of an enterprise’s senior leader, it is increasingly common for companies to have a defined position or
team in charge of government affairs. 1 The number of trade associations representing domestic and foreign companies has grown rapidly, with the greatest expansion recently seen in the proliferation of branches of municipal chambers of
commerce outside their home localities (yidi shanghui 异地商会). 2 Chinese Mainland scholars and journalists previously only used the term “lobbying” (youshui 游说) to refer to the behavior of companies in capitalist countries or
multinational companies (MNC) in China, but it is now associated with domestic companies’ behavior at home.3 The discussion of “interest groups” (liyi jituan 利益集团) is even more common.4


Kennedy, Scott, and Deng Guosheng (2010), “Big Business and Industry Association Lobbying in China: The Paradox of Contrasting Styles,” China Journal, No. 63 January, pp. 101-125.