On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, I speak with Arthur Kroeber, founding partner and head of research at Gavekal Dragonomics and author of the just-released China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know, about why China’s much ballyhooed economic reforms have fallen flat. Kroeber argues that the Chinese leadership’s contradictory belief in both a “decisive” role for markets and a “dominant” state sector has not yet been resolved and is the fundamental barrier to economic progress. According to Kroeber, Xi Jinping himself may not buy into the notion that markets need to be decisive, but rather believes they can function as a tool of the state to draw more efficiency from state-owned enterprises. For an increasingly globalized and connected Chinese economy, however, open and transparent markets are a necessity, not a choice. Listen below to find out why Kroeber gives China a “C–” on its economic reforms thus far and why reforming the state-owned enterprise sector is the first—and most crucial—step to unlocking long-term sustainable economic growth in China.