Knowing what you know now if you were given the chance to go back in time to the period in history from the early 1960’s through the 1990’s where China first set on its course to open up its economy and switched from a collective socialist/communist based market to an economy fueled by daring private entrepreneurs, what would you do?
This is the common theme that runs through the short list of Chinese webnovels I will be recommending below.
The hallmark of this genre of rebirth and transmigration novels is that of entrepreneurship. It is a genre replete with characters who are able to make calculated gambles on future success and in so doing give readers a glimpse what life could have been in a rapidly changing Chinese economic landscape:
Back to the sixties: Farm, Get Wealthy & Raise the Cubs
Original Title: 重回六零：种田发家养崽崽
Author: NanFangLiZhi, Southern Lychee, 南方荔枝
This story follows our protagonist, Lin Qing He, as she transmigrates from the modern world into late 1960’s china.
What makes this novel unique: This novel is not about revenge or any of the usual rebirth or transmigration tropes.
Armed with foreknowledge and a nifty little magical “space” Our main character, Ling Qing He, is reborn into a novel which closes matches late 60’s and early 70’s rural china that is on the cusp economic reform.
This story closely demonstrates the collective living that was the norm at the time, with village inhabitants toiling for work points, the use of marketing supply cooperatives instead of independent stores, the prevalence of meal and industry coupons among other peculiarities of this time in China’s history.
The plot subsequently follows our MC as china’s economy finally opens up and she begins her path of carrying her doting husband and her three strapping sons to personal and financial success.
This story is told in a calming and sedate slice of life manner and regardless of the aspects of fantasy threaded throughout the story, as demonstrated by this BBC article which recounts the personal history of an educated youth, Yuwen Wu, in 70’s china, this novel closely tracks reality in China at this point time.
Accordingly, if you are at all unfamiliar with how china functioned prior to the opening up of its economy, this novel is for you.
Find here: 
Epiphanies of Rebirth
Original Title: 重生之豁然
Author: The Reason Why
I have recommended this novel before in my Five Chinese Rebirth Web Novels You Should Be Reading short list and as I indicated in my recommendation then, this is still one of my favorite BL and/or romance web novels.
What makes this novel unique: It could be said that this was the novel that introduced me to this specific niche genre of “Economic Reform” novels.
Like the other novels in this shortlist, this story is set in the early 90’s at the start of china’s economic boom. The story is well crafted and well researched and documents our MC Ling Zhe’s empire building efforts while also peppered with a humorous male lead and business intrigue.
All in all, Epiphanies of Rebirth is a worthwhile read and I highly recommend it.
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Original Title: [重生]投资人生
If you are here on this site then you are surely familiar with Investment life, the second of the two novels that are currently being translated on The Roving Griot. Investment life is a story about grasping second chances and rebirth amidst reform.
What makes this novel unique: This novel is gem of a story about choices and second chances.
This is an extremely well researched story of China in the 90’s. Out of all the novels on this shortlist this story is quite possibly the most historically accurate as it follows major realistic economic occurrences in the 90’s in china and abroad.
The story follows our MC as he begins his path to world domination as a small-time smuggler in the south of china. The plot tracks his financial growth through timely investments and political decision making and machinations.
Further in its latter stages, this story also contains realistic portrayals of romance in the 90’s amidst family conflicts as result of societal perceptions of MC’s sexuality in a traditional and conservative china.
Investment life is well worth the read and highly recommended.
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Transmigrated into a Parvenu’s Ex Wife in the 90’s
Original Title: 穿成暴发户的前妻[穿书]
Author: Xue Ye, 雪耶
Out of all the novels mentioned in this list, this story is likely the most fantasy filled. It follows our transmigrated MC as she navigates the realities of divorce, remarriage, patriarchy and financial independence.
What makes this novel unique: In the first place this story begins with a divorce. It covers the full gamut of issues a woman in the second part of her life would likely face.
Our MC is a mature woman who has already seen flower filled days of a first marriage and thus the story covers what is required for a woman in 90’s china to take back control over the second half of her life.
Accordingly, readers will see our MC struggle to raise her two children alone, navigate complex patriarchal family relationships, build a financial empire and gain a second chance at love.
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Other notable mentions
- A book Dedicated to our Youth: Find here and here
- Bai Fumei in the 70’s: Find here
- Married to a Disabled Man in the 70’s: Find here
Are you interested in any of these novels? Or have you already read novels in this shortlist? Share your thoughts and personal recommendations in the comments below.