This introductory chapter sets up the volume’s aim of analysing China’s influence, defined as the effective exercise of this power, or ‘the act of modifying or otherwise having an impact upon another actor’s preferences or behaviour in favour of one’s own aims’. It elaborates on the volume’s focus on how and how effectively China has converted its growing resources and capabilities into influence over other states’ preferences and behaviour; and its approach in emphasizing how the targets of China’s influence react. It explains the choice of cases; situates the concept of influence within the literature on political power in international relations; and introduces the volume’s analytical framework, which proposes four modes of Chinese influence in developing Asia: preference multiplying, discursive persuasion, institution shaping, and power to prevail. Finally it summarizes the chapters to follow.
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