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Ted Plafker

Based in Beijing, China

  • Correspondent, Beijing Bureau of The Economist
  • Correspondent, Beijing Bureau of The Economist

Since 1989, Ted Plafker has lived and worked full time in Beijing as a foreign correspondent, covering all aspects of the ever-changing China story for numerous publications, including the South China Morning Post, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Science Magazine, The San Francisco Examiner, The International Herald Tribune, Far Eastern Economic Review and others.
He has been writing for The Economist since 1994 and is currently one of the magazine’s three accredited Beijing correspondents. He was also elected to and served three terms as president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of China.

Fluent in Mandarin, he has covered China’s business, trade and economic affairs; internal politics; development; security and international relations; and its shifting social and cultural landscape. He also covers Mongolia for The Economist.
His first book, “Doing Business in China”, was published in 2007 (Hachette Book Group). It covers business ethics, business culture, consumer culture, the political and information environment, and more.

In addition to Mandarin, he has varying levels of proficiency in Russian, Spanish, French, and Swedish. Born and raised in the U.S. state of New Jersey, he graduated with a degree in Russian studies from Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut (Class of 1986).

He has extensive travel experience, much of it by bicycle. He is an above-average cook and a mediocre guitarist. He and his wife Roberta Lipson married in 1991 and have three sons.

  • All things China:
    • Internal politics; industrial and development policies
    • Business and economic affairs
    • International relations, security and military affairs
    • China-U.S. relations; pollution, environment and water; cultural and social issues.