Purpose – The Chinese economy, among other developing economies in Asia, has experienced extraordinary growth in the last decade. Yet, for China and other newly emerging economies in Asia to grow in a sustainable manner, good corporate governance and management mechanisms must be in place. The authors aim to explore this issue in this paper. The authors also aim to particularly point out that Japan's experience both before after the Second World War will be relevant as a model for China's public and business development policy decision-making. Design/methodology/approach – The authors apply well-established theories of economic development and organizational structures of business organizations to Japan's experience before and after the Second World War and then to contemporary China's experience. The analysis of Japan uses the substantial research findings on the development of that country available in the business history literature. Findings – The paper's analysis shows multiple ways in which China and other emerging East Asian economies can take advantage of Japan's experience (which is called the Japan model here) for their own development policies and achieve sustainable growth in the long run. For example, it is expected that Japan's experiences may be relevant in areas such as: firm formation and the utility of business groups of various types; development of industrial relations and employment practices; interactions between business and government in the promotion of economic development; and how these factors relate to technology advances on a worldwide basis. Originality/value – The findings reported in this paper also contribute marginally to the literature by considering the recent experience of Chinese private and state-owned corporations, including international joint ventures, in the context of Japan's experience in its economic and business development history.
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