Zheng He's generous approach to service excellence

How Ming Dynasty admiral organised his voyages and interacted with locals on his journeys holds many lessons

In the early 15th century, one of the largest naval fleets ever assembled set sail from the east coast of China, close to modern-day Shanghai.

Made up of more than 300 ships carrying almost 28,000 crew, and armed with cannon and other weaponry, the giant armada set sail not to make war or build empires, but to showcase to the outside world the splendour and glory of Ming China.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 30, 2019, with the headline 'Zheng He's generous approach to service excellence'. Print Edition | Subscribe