“The Story Of A China Practice” Now Available Via Free Download

Posted by Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sept. 18 – “The Story Of A China Practice,” the book written by Chris Devonshire-Ellis detailing the founding and development of Dezan Shira & Associates first 15 years in China, is now available here as a free download.

The book, written to commemorate the firm’s 15th anniversary at the end of last year, was produced as a memoir of that period and was given to clients and friends of the firm. It has never been made commercially available, but has attained cult status amongst many long term China business hands.

Michael Cronin, COO of Peony Capital in Beijing, and a long time China hand describes it as:

“Thoroughly enjoyable. I loved the descriptions and anecdotes used to so vividly to paint these important steps that the business went through. I also loved the descriptions of China in the mid 1990s, and of the colorful characters met along the way.”

Paul Cunningham, Hotel Manager, Westin Beijing Financial District comments:

“The Story Of a China Practice is a must read for all new to China businesspeople. It chronicles the start up difficulties, financial problems and marketing solutions that all small-medium businesses in China face and what has to be done to overcome them.”

Arnie Jensen, COO of ASIMCO Technologies, says:

“An open and honest account of the trials and tribulations of China business…Reading it feels like discussing the past 15 years personally with the author, over a good glass of wine. Some fascinating insights and a handful of classic laugh-out-loud moments.”

Chris Devonshire-Ellis, who wrote the book, recalls, “I sat down and wrote it in a week while sitting in a bungalow during the Indian Monsoon in Rishikesh in the Indian Himalayas this time last year. Fifteen years is a long time in China, and as the firm’s fifteenth anniversary was coming up I just wanted to try and get down on paper all the issues we went through from start up to the successful business we had become. It was never intended as a commercial work, purely as a memo of all the struggles we went through, the things that we had to deal with, the occasionally stupid things we did and also the positive decisions we made when faced with problems. It was written as a warts and all account of what it was like, so that we wouldn’t forget our somewhat humble beginnings. It was never intended to be an expert account trying to show off our success. It was written as an account of what it was like at the time, from times of hardship to making some decent money! If anybody can learn something from it, then that is a great bonus.”

The book had an initial print run of 5,000 copies and was given away on a complimentary basis. It is now however cropping up on Amazon and similar websites, selling at a premium, and continues to generate good reviews, despite not being commercially available.

To combat this, Chris has decided to make it available for complimentary download. To download the 96 page book, please click on the book image on the right.

15 thoughts on ““The Story Of A China Practice” Now Available Via Free Download

    Josh Green says:

    I had heard about this but never read it. Thanks for making it available to everyone!

    Steven Hon says:

    Seems interesting and can’t wait to read!

    Donald Lee says:

    Witha very special encounter with a Rep working for China Briefing a few years back in Guangzhou. I am now a Fans of China Briefing which is a very good e-Newsletter with good summary of business activities in China. I have referred it to many of my friends and collegues, some of them are working in Asia South. I’m sure I will enjoy this Story Of A China Practice too.

    Sun Mircosystems (China) Co., Ltd
    Business Manager
    Sun Equity Partner – Joint Venture
    010-68035588 x82617

    Alec Bailey says:

    Dear Chris
    Thank you for your generous and considerate gesture, happily accepted, and just downloaded. It will be read with considerable anticipation. You and I have communicated before and you were and are outstanding for your helpful advice, indications, comments, though brief, even when one is not yet a client. Be assured your business exposure and open communications are helping those coming down the tracks and you will not be forgotten. We have made good friends and solid contacts in China. It is only a matter ot time.

    Zyang says:

    So where do you download it from?

    pl let me have a free copy by down load

    gwang says:

    Exactlly, from which part of the website the book can be downloaded?

    Melanie says:

    Thats what I truely can recoment.

    KC Pradhan says:

    We have been immensely benefited from the inputs of China Briefing & looking forward for the same in the future too.

    Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Wow guys thanks for your comments! I’m very flattered, and they are much appreciated.

    You can download the book ON THIS PAGE – at the end of the introduction to this article there is a link “The 96 page book is downloadable here” – click on “here” and the acrobat reader will open up for you. I hope you enjoy it. Please – let me know your comments and whether you found it useful or not.

    Best wishes


    Jonathan says:

    Read in a single sitting over several trappist ales in a small nondescript bar in Urumqi
    Speaking as someone who started out (and remains) in China under-resourced and with little true understanding of the depth an intricacy involved in growing a business in this unique environment, the story of your early struggles certainly strikes a chord with me.

    Thanks for your help over the years



    Richard ANG says:

    I have been reading China Briefing for a while and find it very useful for my daily business here in China…i look forward to reading the book.

    Eric Downing says:

    Chris, really good read and unlike other China books, which tend to be self praising. Yours isn’t – plus you got all the problems in there small businesses face at start up; under capitalization, being ripped off, and so on. The fact you not only survived – and prospered – gives heart to us all. The lessons over honesty with staff in times of trouble were also right to the point. Well done and keep up your excellent and much appreciated work with China Briefing and your firm.

    Thom says:

    Chris thank you for the free download. Having read it last night I think there are several key management and business lessons you highlight in your experiences, similar to what we are taught at McKinsey:
    1 If you think it works, persevere
    Too many people give up when they find it tough going at the start of any new business.
    2 Nuture key clients
    Obviously your early clients were important and you spent time personally with them
    3 Treat staff well and with honesty.
    Not going to LA when you won the ticket and staying with your staff probably saved your business.
    4 Treat creditors with respect
    Likewise, meeting with your creditors when you had cashflow difficulties can’t have been pleasant but at least you were able to let them know and get them to renegotate terms. Too many people just ignore debts
    5 Get in managers to grow the business
    I think handing over various responsibilities to Alberto was a key moment. It allowed him to do what he was good at and you to be the visionary, development man. Too many small businesses stay small because the founder thinks he can do everything.
    6 Remember that out of adversary can come inspiration.
    If I read it correctly, China Briefing was created because you couldn’t afford advertising. If you could have, none of what you subsequently created would have been born. Thinking outside the box helps a lot when under-capitalised.
    7 Fight your corner
    You’ve had your share of troubles with other people but it seems you’ve fought your corner when need be. Don’t be afraid of confrontation when someone is stealing from your business or ripping it off.
    8 Reinvest in your business
    It seems you constantly put whatever money you had back into your business instead of taking it out. making sure the business was capitalised to whatever you could afford. Plus you didn’t borrow. The term is ‘bulkhead financing’ and although short term painful leads to longer term stability. I’m sure you appreciate those year of being without these days.

    Personally I thought it was a great read (it could have done with some better editing but that’s a small gripe compared with the contents) and one that yes, indeed, I think many small businessmen to China can get a lot out of. I’ll be in touch personally to say hello.

    Dear Chris,

    I’m now reading this book, thanks for offering it to the public.

    We first met in 2003 when I visited your office in Shanghai. We then meet again in 2005, I sent to you one of my DVD video disc presentations of China and India’s wireless and mobile device markets.

    Well, I have finally transfered to work in Beijing, China and work for a company called Gemalto at the Lido Office Tower connected to Lido Hotel near Wangjing. I’m OEM/ODM Handset Biz Dev Mgr., focused on selling Gemalto technologies to Greater Chinese mobile handset vendors.

    Anyway, I hope to run into you again sometime.
    Karl J. Weaver

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