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Cross-cultural Management: Netflix American Factory: FuYao Glass
This Obama-backed film has been Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary. AMERICAN FACTORY is the tale of a Chinese tycoon's efforts to turnaround a giant glass factory in Dayton, Ohio. It is a story of Sino-US culture clashes and some of the limits of globalization.
Cao Dewang’s business education began on the streets, cycling a round-trip 80km to sell fruit in the city of Fuqing. He spent some time as a chef before landing a job in 1976 at a state-owned glass manufacturer in his hometown. In 1983 he was asked to take over the failing factory by the local government. He turned it around, changing its name to Fuyao Glass.
Cao is very much in the news again as the key protagonist in the widely discussed Netflix documentary American Factory. It follows the ups and downs of his purchase of a factory in Dayton, Ohio – shuttered by General Motors and reopened by Fuyao to sell glass to the US car industry. The documentary is billed by Netflix as a film about globalization and has received wide media attention thanks to its backing by former US leader Barack Obama’s production company Higher Ground.
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