In 2001, after years of arduous negotiations, Zhu finally secured China’s entry to the World Trade Organization. The process had been fraught, with Chinese accusing the Americans of reverting to old imperialist ways and making unreasonable demands from the Chinese. Chief American negotiator Charlene Barshefsky explains the importance of WTO membership to China:
Zhu confronted China’s ancient and dilapidated State-Owned Enterprise system, letting some fail, bailing out others, and gradually pushing the economy in a more private direction. But Zhu hesistated to call his plan a “privatization,” fearing that rapid reform could lead to an East German or Soviet-style collapse. Beijing University Economist Yao Yang discusses this euphemism:
Zhu next took on China’s banking sector, putting himself in charge, and overseeing China’s first IPOs and joint ventures. Francis Leung, from CVC Capital Partners, discusses the effect on investors in Hong Kong.