This is a profile image of Lola Woetzel

Lola Woetzel

McKinsey Global Institute Director and Senior PartnerShanghai

Leads research on China, Asia, and global economic and business trends, helps cities and regions create sustainable growth, and supports the transformation of Asian companies into global champions.

Based in China since 1985, Dr. Lola Woetzel has been instrumental in building McKinsey's China office. In addition to her work helping Chinese and other Asian businesses prepare for global growth, she is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey's business and economics research arm. She also leads McKinsey's Cities Special Initiative and is responsible for convening McKinsey's work with city, regional, and national authorities in more than 40 geographies around the world.

Lola’s research spans global, Asia-Pacific, North America, and China-focused trends. She has led numerous research efforts, including on productivity; sustainable and inclusive growth; economic development and urbanization; real estate, affordable housing, and infrastructure; climate risk and the net-zero transition; and e-commerce and the economic impact of the Internet.

Lola’s public sector work is extensive. She has advised national governments in Asia on improving the environment for foreign investors, national energy policy, and economic development strategies. She also leads work with local government authorities on economic development and transformation. This includes working in real estate—specifically, on commercial revitalization and affordable housing—and advising on energy and infrastructure investment strategies, among other issues.

Lola works in the private sector as well, most often on issues related to corporate strategy, operations, and organization. She has served clients in industries such as energy, metals and mining, health care, telecommunications, and transportation.

Lola actively participates in a number of international forums. She lectures at the Guanghua School of Business and the China-Europe International Business School and is also an honorary lecturer at Jiaotong University's Antai Business School. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Published widely in both Chinese and international publications, she has written five books on China, including Capitalist China: Strategies for a Revolutionized Economy (Wiley & Sons, 2003), Operation China: From Strategy to Execution (Harvard Business Press, 2007), and One Hour China (Towson Press, 2013). She has also coauthored, with Richard Dobbs and James Manyika, No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends (Public Affairs, May 2015).

A US citizen, Lola is proficient in German, Mandarin, and Spanish.


Leading the battle against climate change: Actions for China,” McKinsey, June 2020

Navigating a world of disruption,” McKinsey Global Institute, January 2019

A minute with the McKinsey Global Institute: Jonathan Woetzel on China’s digital economy,” McKinsey Global Institute, December 2017

How digitization is changing world business,” Asia Society, December 2017

This is only the beginning for China's explosive e-commerce growth,” Fortune, December 2017

China's next chapter: The infrastructure and environmental challenge,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2013

Selected published work

Geopolitics and the geometry of global trade,” McKinsey Global Institute, January 2024

Rewriting the script: LA’s opportunity for inclusive economic growth,” McKinsey & Company, December 2023

The future of real estate in a hybrid world,” McKinsey & Company, October 2023

Asia on the cusp of a new era,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2023

From poverty to empowerment: Raising the bar for sustainable and inclusive growth,” McKinsey Global Institute, August 2023

Empty spaces and hybrid places: The pandemic’s lasting impact on real estate,” McKinsey Global Institute, July 2023

Reimagining economic growth in Africa: Turning diversity into opportunity, McKinsey & Company, June 2023

The future of wealth and growth hangs in the balance, McKinsey Global Institute, May 2023

Homelessness in Los Angeles: A unique crisis demanding new solutions,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

The path toward eco-friendly travel in China,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

Performance through people: Transforming human capital into competitive advantage, McKinsey Global Institute, February 2023

"The China imperative for multinational companies," McKinsey Global Institute, January 2023

The complication of concentration in global trade,” McKinsey Global Institute, January 2023

Global balance sheet 2022: Enter volatility,” McKinsey Global Institute, December 2022

Pixels of Progress: A granular look at human development around the world,” McKinsey Global Institute, December 2022

Global flows: The ties that bind in an interconnected world,” McKinsey Global Institute, November 2022

On the cusp of a new era?,” McKinsey Global Institute, October 2022

Green infrastructure: Could public land unlock private investment?,” McKinsey & Company, September 2022

Target net zero: A journey to decarbonizing the public sector,” McKinsey & Company, August 2022

"Human capital at work: The value of experience," McKinsey & Company, June 2022 

Forward Thinking on sustainable and inclusive growth with Ron O’Hanley,” McKinsey & Company, March 2022

"The net-zero transition: What it would cost, what it could bring," McKinsey & Company, January 2022 

"The rise and rise of the global balance sheet: How productively are we using our wealth?," McKinsey Global Institute, November 2021

Preparing for a successful Homeowner Assistance Fund program,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

Five windows of opportunity for postpandemic Asia,” McKinsey & Company, October 2021

"Future of Asia: The future of financial services," McKinsey & Company, October 2021

"Building a transport system that works: Five insights from our 25-city report," McKinsey & Company, August 2021

"The economic state of Black America: What is and what could be," McKinsey Global Institute, June 2021

Getting tangible about intangibles: The future of growth and productivity,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2021

Lessons on resilience for small and midsize businesses,” Harvard Business Review, June 2021

A new look at how corporations impact the economy and households,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2021

McKinsey advises Korean firms to embrace net-zero economy,” The Korea Times, May 2021

Building a more competitive US manufacturing sector,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2021

The necessity of doing well by doing good,” The Milken Institute Review, April 2021

Will productivity and growth return after the COVID-19 crisis?,” McKinsey Global Institute, March 2021

Preserving the largest and most at-risk supply of affordable housing,” McKinsey & Company, February 2021

What is driving Asia's technological rise?,” Project Syndicate, December 2020

How Asia can boost growth through technological leapfrogging,” McKinsey & Company, December 2020

Climate change hits the poor hardest. Here's how to protect them,” World Economic Forum, October 2020

Climate risk and response in Asia,” McKinsey Global Institute, November 2020

Pioneer of healthy aging,” China Daily, October 2020

Using public real estate to fuel a postpandemic recovery,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

India's turning point: An economic agenda to spur growth and jobs,” McKinsey Global Institute, August 2020

Will infrastructure bend or break under climate stress?,” McKinsey Global Institute, August 2020

Risk, resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains,” McKinsey Global Institute, August 2020

Banking system resilience in the time of COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Ten innovations that can improve global health,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Poor health reduces global GDP by 15% each year,” Harvard Business Review, July 2020

Prioritizing health: A prescription for prosperity,” McKinsey Global Institute, July 2020

Reduced dividends on natural capital?,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2020

Leading the battle against climate change: Actions for China,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2020

The future of Asia: Decoding the value and performance of corporate Asia,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

A Mediterranean basin without a Mediterranean climate?,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2020

How will African farmers adjust to changing patterns of precipitation?,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2020

Will the world's breadbaskets become less reliable?,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2020

Confronting climate risk,” McKinsey Quarterly, May 2020

Fast-forward China: How COVID-19 is accelerating five key trends shaping the Chinese economy,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Will mortgages and markets stay afloat in Florida?,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2020

Can coastal cities turn the tide on rising flood risk?,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2020

Could the next normal emerge from Asia?,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The new social contract in the 21st century,” McKinsey Global Institute, February 2020

Climate change hazards intensifying,” China Daily, January 2020

Corporate Asia: A capital paradox,” McKinsey & Company, January 2020

Climate risk and response: Physical Hazards and socioeconomic impacts,” McKinsey Global Institute, January 2020

Four ways governments can get the most out of their infrastructure projects,” McKinsey & Company, January 2020

The climate risk you may not be thinking about,” GreenBiz, October 2019

The Asianized world has arrived,” Project Syndicate, October 2019

It's not just about China. Asian economies are integrating rapidly, fuelling regional growth,” South China Morning Post, September 2019

China in the Asian century,” China Daily, September 2019

The future of Asia: Asian flows and networks are defining the next phase of globalization,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2019

The value of global China,” Project Syndicate, July 2019

Asia’s future is now,” McKinsey Global Institute, July 2019

Inside dynamics of a changing relationship,” China Daily, July 2019

Have we reached peak integration between China and the world?,” World Economic Forum Blog, July 2019

Unlocking the full potential of city revenues,” McKinsey & Company, July 2019

China and the world: Inside the dynamics of a changing relationship,” McKinsey Global Institute, July 2019

Modular construction: From projects to products,” McKinsey & Company, June 2019

The future of women at work: Transitions in the age of automation,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2019

For all the hubbub about the US-China trade war, trade is a fraction of China's economy,” Quartz, May 2019

A new look at the declining labor share of income in the United States,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2019

From third world to first in class,” Milken Institute Review, April 2019

Staying competitive in next round of globalization,” China Daily, April 2019

What every CEO needs to know about ‘superstar’ companies,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2019

How governments in emerging economies can help boost and sustain growth,” McKinsey & Company, March 2019

Globalization in transition: The future of trade and value chains,” McKinsey Global Institute, January 2019

Smarter cities are resilient cities,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Could China turn inward?,” Project Syndicate, December 2018

China and the world: Inside a changing economic relationship,” McKinsey Global Institute, December 2018

‘Superstars’: The dynamics of firms, sectors, and cities leading the global economy,” McKinsey Global Institute, October 2018

Thriving amid turbulence: Imagining the cities of the future,” McKinsey & Company, October 2018

The best performing emerging economies emphasize competition,” Harvard Business Review, September 2018

Outperformers: High-growth emerging economies and the companies that propel them,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2018

To tackle urban problems, city governments have to get smarter,” GovTech, July 2018

Smart cities in Southeast Asia,” McKinsey Global Institute, July 2018

Is your company ready for the rise of smart cities?,” Harvard Business Review, June 2018

Rising corporate debt: Peril or promise?,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2018

Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2018

Europe’s refugees: Refocusing on integration,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2018

The power of parity: Advancing women's equality in Asia Pacific,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2018

China faces a choice: Modernise or risk a very hard landing,” Australian Financial Review, March 2018

Solving the productivity puzzle: The role of demand and the promise of digitization,” McKinsey Global Institute, February 2018

China, the digital giant,” Project Syndicate, December 2017

China gears up for leap into digitisation of industry,” Financial Times, December 2017

Commentary: How China became a digital leader,” Fortune, December 2017

Digital China: Powering the economy to global competitiveness,” McKinsey Global Institute, December 2017

What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages,” McKinsey Global Institute, November 2017

Bridging infrastructure gaps: Has the world made progress?,” McKinsey Global Institute, October 2017

"Housing affordability: A supply-side tool kit for cities," McKinsey Global Institute, October 2017

"Banking landscape shifts as Chinese groups globalise," Financial Times, August 2017

"China's renewable energy revolution," Project Syndicate, August 2017

A new emphasis on gainful employment in India,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2017

"How the natural resources business is turning into a technology industry," Harvard Business Review, June 2017

"China’s role in the next phase of globalization," McKinsey Global Institute, April 2017

"The construction industry has a productivity problem - and here’s how to solve it," MarketWatch, March 2017

"How to make every dollar of infrastructure investment go further," Harvard Business Review, March 2017

"The tipping point for renewable energy is nearly here," MarketWatch, February 2017

Reinventing construction through a productivity revolution,” McKinsey Global Institute, February 2017

"How technology is reshaping supply and demand for natural resources," McKinsey Global Institute, February 2017

"Global migration’s impact and opportunity," McKinsey Global Institute, November 2016

To keep stoking the world economy, cities must adapt to demographics,” The Globe and Mail, November 2016

"Closing California’s housing gap," McKinsey Global Institute, October 2016

"Urban world: Meeting the demographic challenge in cities," McKinsey Global Institute, October 2016

"Meeting China’s productivity challenge," McKinsey Global Institute, August 2016

"Poorer than their parents? A new perspective on income inequality," McKinsey Global Institute, July 2016

"Bridging global infrastructure gaps," McKinsey Global Institute, June 2016

"Realizing gender equality’s $12 trillion economic opportunity," McKinsey Global Institute, May 2016

"The power of parity: Advancing women's equality in the United States," McKinsey Global Institute, April 2016

"Urban world: The global consumers to watch," McKinsey Global Institute, March 2016

"Digital globalization: The new era of global flows," McKinsey Global Institute, February 2016

"The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in India," McKinsey Global Institute, November 2015

"The new global competition for corporate profits," McKinsey Global Institute, September 2015

"How advancing women's equality can add $12 trillion to global growth," McKinsey Global Institute, September 2015

"Unlocking the future: The keys to making cities great," McKinsey & Company, June 2015

"Building the cities of the future with green districts," McKinsey & Company, May 2015

"Why China's consumers will continue to surprise the world," McKinsey & Company, May 2015

No ordinary disruption: The four global forces breaking all the trends, PublicAffairs, May 2015

"How do you govern a disrupted world?," McKinsey Global Institute, May 2015

"The four global forces breaking all the trends," McKinsey Global Institute, April 2015

"How a private-sector transformation could revive Japan," McKinsey Global Institute, March 2015

"How Asia can boost productivity and economic growth," McKinsey Global Institute, March 2015

"Debt and (not much) deleveraging," McKinsey Global Institute, February 2015

"Where to look for global growth," McKinsey Quarterly, January 2015

"Can long-term global growth be saved?," McKinsey Global Institute, January 2015

"Is GDP the best measure for growth?," McKinsey Global Institute, January 2015

"Three paths to sustained economic growth in Southeast Asia," McKinsey Global Institute, November 2014

"Tackling the world's affordable housing challenge," McKinsey Global Institute, October 2014

"A productivity perspective on the future of growth," McKinsey Quarterly, September 2014

"China's digital transformation," McKinsey Global Institute, July 2014

"All you need to know about business in China," McKinsey & Company, April 2014

"Urban world: The shifting global business landscape," McKinsey Global Institute, October 2013

"How to make a city great," McKinsey & Company, September 2013

"Chinese infrastructure: The big picture," McKinsey Quarterly, June 2013

"What's next for China?" McKinsey Quarterly, January 2013

"What China's five-year plan means for business," McKinsey Quarterly, July 2011

"A truer picture of China's export machine," McKinsey Quarterly, September 2010

"Making the most of Chinese aid to Africa," McKinsey Quarterly, June 2010

"China and the US: The potential of a clean-tech partnership," McKinsey Quarterly, August 2009

"If you've got it, spend it: Unleashing the Chinese consumer," McKinsey Global Institute, August 2009

"China's green opportunity," McKinsey Quarterly, February 2009

"China's green revolution," McKinsey China, August 2009

"Preparing for China's urban billion," McKinsey Global Institute, March 2008


University of Southern California
PhD, political science

University of Southern California
MA, political science

University of Southern California
BA, humanities and liberal arts