From the troubling recalls of Chinese-made toys to the loss of manufacturing jobs around the world, Chinese factories play a growing role in all of our lives.

Most of the world’s toys, shoes, computers and much of its clothing, furniture and consumer electronics are made in China. The recent scandals over product safety show how the environment in which these goods are made has a direct impact on the rest of the world.

And yet, how much do we really know about the factories that make the goods we use every day?

The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage takes readers behind the headlines and into the country’s vast ecosystem of export factories to meet the people who produce what we consume.

The book exposes a system of unregistered factories that cut corners on safety and working conditions to meet multinational companies’ demands for ever-lower prices. It documents how China’s export manufacturing industry allows millions of workers to move slowly out of poverty – even as they pay a price in terms of their own health. How the country’s coal mining sector continues to thrive – even as it produces a stunning 70 percent of the world’s coal mining deaths. And how a growing number of younger workers have had enough.

Called “essential reading for anyone concerned about how dangerous pet food and children’s clothing manufactured in China make it into American stores” by Kirkus Reviews, The China Price is a landmark investigation into the heart of China’s economy.

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"Harney’s no-nonsense work of investigative journalism examines the factors that contribute to the unbeatably low 'China price,' including a lack of environmental regulations, labor abuses, Western consumption and willful ignorance."

Library Journal

"If you want to understand China's economic fault lines, pick up The China Price by Alexandra Harney. Harney shows us the real cost of China's surging economy. Hundreds of thousands of workers are dying of work-related lung disease — an asbestos crisis on steroids. Factory managers explain that the only way to reconcile the conflicting demands of corporate responsibility and competitive pricing is to falsify work records. And we meet the girls of Room 817, a factory dorm room. One girl makes it from peasant village to real estate agent in just a few years — but only one. The others are stuck, moving from one low-paying job to another. For every business book goggling at the rate and scale of China's growth, The China Price is a powerfully needed antidote."

National Public Radio


"Sure, we get electronics, textiles, toys, jewelry, coal, and food from China, mostly because we like the 'China price.' But it comes at a frightful cost, and Harney's book, meticulously researched, is journalism at its highest level, and is remorseless in chronicling human-rights abuses and market caprice."

Boston Globe


"The price, the real China price, lies at the core of this meticulously researched and wonderfully readable book. ... Harney, who represented the Financial Times in Hong Kong and China, draws everything together: the gigantic scale of Chinese manufacturing, its international extent, the sometimes genuine, often bogus, attempts to control its corruption and vileness, the similarly dodgy extent of much international monitoring, the vast pollution Chinese manufacturing spews out that damages the health or takes the lives of its workers and many others. She writes, as they used to say, like an angel, and, uniquely, has spent hours with the men and very young women working in China's William Blake-like world to bring you those cheap knickers. ... The ghastly point is that Chinese workers work, live and die in conditions that Charles Dickens could not have described better than Alexandra Harney has."

The Spectator


"Harney's book certainly has plenty of grim material providing grist for the China-critic mills. But Harney has too much integrity and objectivity as a reporter to altogether ignore the positive side of China's export economy. ... Harney's book, then, provides ammunition for both China's detractors and defenders. But given what it says about the long-term trends in Chinese labor costs, one message is quite clear: Western consumers will sooner, rather than later, cease paying a "China price", when they buy China-made products."

China Daily