Leland Miller knew that marketers and investors can’t trust China’s inaccurate official economic data.  So his business partner asked us, “Could you do a Beige Book – for China?”

“Sure,” we said.  “What’s the Beige Book?”

When we learned it was a regular compilation of qualitative and quantitative American business surveys by the Federal Reserve, we knew we could match it.  The China Beige Book (CBB) was born.

Charney’s Solution

Creating an overview of the world’s second-largest economy was challenging.  We “reverse-engineered” the Fed’s Beige Book, seeing what it looked at and the questions it asked, to develop our questionnaires.

The job was big: over 2,000 quarterly interviews with businesses and bankers all around the country. To get it done on time, we used three firms, for online, telephone, and face-to-face interviews.

Miller’s big worry: would responses be accurate, especially for bad news? To find out, he went to Shanghai with the Charney Research team for pre-tests. We watched in-depth interviews, listened to phone interviews, and studied on-line interviews. The results reassured us: people in industries in trouble owned up, and vice versa.


Since April 2012, CBB has revealed business trends months before other sources, including China’s property revival and credit crunch.  It provides a wealth of detail on demand by sector and customized B2B questions.

It is closely followed by leading financial news sources, including Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC, and Dow Jones.  It has become an “important resource for China watchers,” Time’s Economics Editor Rana Foroohar says.

Read the full reference from Leland Miller of CBB International
See a summary of the latest CBB findings
Read Time’s piece on CBB
Read the New Yorker’s profile of CBB
See our other CBB and China resources

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