Saturday, September 8, 2012

You'll never be Chinese

Why Expat Businessmen Are Leaving China

Last month, Mark Kitto, a British businessman who built (and subsequently lost) an empire of English-language magazines in China, wrote a 4,000 word article for the UK's Prospect magazine explaining why, after 26 years, he was finally leaving China.

It was a strongly worded article, titled simply "You'll never be Chinese", and railing against the country's corruption and immorality. Kitto had clearly touched a nerve — the article was soon passed around widely amongst China's big expat community, with both strong criticism and support. The article was apparently such a huge hit for Prospect that they had to buy new servers.

The article also helped bring attention to a wave of "Why I am leaving China"-type posts. In practically became a sub-genre of China expat literature — and even prompted a parody from the China Daily Show ("So you’ve finally decided to break up with China. You’ll probably want to write a blog post or newspaper article about it, then").

So why is everyone leaving China? Reuters' Jane Lanhee Lee has a new video interview with Kitto, who explains some of his reasoning.

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