The overseas Chinese number only 55 million and are politically powerless in many of the Asian lands through which they are sprinkled. Yet they are one of the world’s great economic engines, commanding resources far beyond their numbers. They are most likely to have a hand in converting China into a giant that could dominate the 21st century.
The enormous wealth of the overseas Chinese has been accumulated and is deployed through a distinctive form of social and business organization. They are held together not by law, government and public ideals; or by a concept of national solidarity, but by personal acquaintance, trust and obligation. The result has been a highly decentralized business structure based on secretive, entrepreneurial, family-owned firms that are run autocratically but cooperate smoothly and informally with each other, often across national borders.
Wary of governments and laws, the Chinese found that dialect, kinship, a common origin in a clan, a village or a county gave a sure footing of trust for a business deal conducted even at great distance. The certainty this gave and the informality it allowed shaped the loftiest transactions as well as the most humble.
The knots in this worldwide net are family-owned firms. Even in listed companies, the founding family’s control and accumulation of capital are principal aims. A system based on a multitude of owner-managed firms with intimate links to others like them has the two big advantages of fast decision-making and acute sensitivity to markets. The businesses in which the overseas Chinese have done best – trading, property, commodities, shipping, mining and timber are lines in which, even on a global scale, an instinct for the right price, time and place counts for more than complex management skills.
But despite all, however distressing China’s politics maybe, the overseas Chinese have always felt the cultural, linguistic and often familial pull of the place they came from, thus elevating the family spirit to national scale. This feeling has already borne much fruit in the form of universities, hospitals and investments provided for the mainland by overseas Chinese businessmen.
According to the passage which of the following is true in relation to the overseas Chinese?
(A) They are free from the bindings of law and fiscal policies.
(B) The rapidly expanding numbers of overseas Chinese are heading towards constituting a major part of the world’s population.
(C) They are disillusioned by the pathetic socio-political conditions of China and bear no affections for their nation.
(D) Despite their minority, the overseas Chinese are highly resourceful economic contrivers with the potential to influence the world in future.
(E) The Chinese when overseas prefer to establish commercial ties only with the natives of China.
With which of the following statements would the author of the passage above be least likely to agree?
(A) Despite their success the overseas Chinese have failed to contribute towards the distressing state of circumstances in China.
(B) The Chinese have an admirable propensity to assess the correct price, time and place for commercial activity.
(C) A system constituted chiefly by family owned firms has facilitated decision-making and responsiveness to markets for the overseas Chinese.
(D) The overseas Chinese found common vernacular and familial relationships reassuring in business conducted over great distances.
(E) The astounding wealth of the overseas Chinese has been amassed and is spread out through a credible socio-economic organization.
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