ALISON BEARD: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Alison Beard.

Several years ago some scholars in international relations made a big prediction: the 21st century would be the Chinese century. Just as the British dominated the 18th and 19th centuries, and the United States the 20th, China would lead the world geo-economics and geopolitics for the next 100 years.

Now, some experts disagree, but there’s no doubt in China’s rise and the need for organizations around the world to better understand the country. It’s not just a growing source of both supply, demand, and competition. It’s also an emerging superpower. And yet, according to today’s guests, most Westerners still don’t really get China. They approach with their own assumptions and biases about the connection between political and economic systems and the role that the state can and should play in business.

Rana…

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