The Transpacific Experiment
How China and California Collaborate and Compete for Our Future
An Amazon Best History Book of the Month
A timely, vital account of California’s unique relationship with China, told through the exploits of the entrepreneurs, activists, and politicians driving transformations with international implications
Tensions between the world’s superpowers are mounting in Washington, D.C., and Beijing. Yet, the People's Republic of China and the state of California have built deep and interdependent socioeconomic exchanges that reverberate across the globe, making California and China a microcosm of the most important international relationship of the twenty-first century.
In The Transpacific Experiment, journalist and China analyst Matt Sheehan chronicles the real people who are making these connections. Sheehan tells the story of a Southern Californian mayor who believes a Chinese electric bus factory will save his town from meth labs and skinheads. He follows a Chinese AI researcher who leaves Google to compete with his former employer from behind the Great Firewall. Sheehan joins a tour bus of wealthy Chinese families shopping for homes in the Bay Area, revealing disgruntled neighbors and raising important questions about California’s own narratives around immigration and the American Dream.
Sheehan’s on-the-ground reporting reveals movie sets in the “Hollywood of China,” Chinese-funded housing projects in San Francisco, Chinese immigrants who support Donald Trump, and more. Each of these stories lays bare the new reality of twenty-first-century superpowers: the closer they get to one another, the more personal their frictions become.
“Cuts right to the heart of the relationship between Silicon Valley and China: the tangled history, the current tensions, and the uncertain future . . . a must-read.” —Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China and founder of Sinovation Ventures