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In terms of his business career, he has served as the Chairperson of the China Team at the research service TSLombard. He was previously a founding partner and managing director of the China service at Trusted Sources an emerging markets research and consultancy firm headquartered in London before it merged with Lombard Street Research in 2016. His investment and strategy research is focused towards policy interpretation, politics and broader political economy including East Asian politics and strategy.
He has written many books, such as The General: Charles de Gaulle and the France He Saved and Chiang Kai-shek: China's Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost. He has alsi worked at various publications as both an editor and foreign correspondent, like The Observer and the South China Morning Post. In 2013, the government of France awarded Fenby the status of a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur for his contributions promoting Anglo-French understanding.
Fenby joined Reuters in 1963, and reported from Europe and Vietnam as well as working as an editor at the head office in London. He was Paris bureau chief from 1968 to 1973 before being appointed as Editor of the agency's World Service in 1973. After leaving Reuters in 1977, he joined The Economist where he was chief correspondent in both Paris and Bonn (1981-1986) and wrote three books. He then became the first home editor of The Independent (1986–1988) and then deputy editor of The Guardian (1988–1993), followed by the editorship of The Observer from 1993 to 1995 and then of the South China Morning Post from 1995 to 2000 during the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty.
After returning to London from Hong Kong in 2000, Fenby wrote extensively about China for British and other publications as well as working at various on-line services and as associate editor of the newspaper Sunday Business. In 2006, he was a founding partner at Trusted Sources in charge of the analytical service on China, which he visited frequently.
Between 1998 and 2019, he published 17 books, nine on China, four on France and others on the Second World War and the shaping of the world after 1945. He is quoted in press in the UK, US and Far East and broadcasts, as well as speaking at conferences and lecturing at universities and public forums on China.
Fenby was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours List for services to journalism, and was appointed a Knight of the French National Order of Merit in 1997, and then of the French Légion d'honneur. He is an Associate of the London School of Economics (LSE) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),  and is on the advisory board of the financial forum, OMFIF.
His family was brought up in London mostly.
He is married to Renee with whom he has had two children, Sara and Alexander.
They are now grandparents to five grandchildren, Alice, Max, Lola, Kate and Ella.
- On the Brink: The Trouble with France. Little, Brown. 1998. ISBN 0316646652.
- Dealing with the Dragon: A Year in the New Hong Kong. New York: Arcade Publishing. 2001. ISBN 978-1-55970-559-2.
- Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the China He lost, Free Press, 2003. ISBN 9780743231442.
- The Sinking of the Lancastria: Britain's Worst Naval Disaster and Churchill's Cover-up, Carroll & Graf, 2005. ISBN 9780786715329.
- Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another. MacAdam Cage. 2006. ISBN 9781596922532.
- The Seventy Wonders of China, Thames & Hudson, 2007. ISBN 9780500251379
- Dragon Throne: the imperial dynasties of China (with Alexander Monro, Luke Hambledon), Quercus, 2008, ISBN 9781847244062
- The History of Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, Penguin Press and Harper Collins, 2008. New Edition 2019 ISBN 978-0-7139-9832-0
- The General: Charles de Gaulle and the France He Saved, Simon and Schuster, 2010. ISBN 978-1-84737-392-2
- Tiger Head, Snake Tails: China today, how it got there and where it is heading, Simon & Schuster, 2012. ISBN 9781847373939
- The siege of Tsingtao. Penguin UK. 2014. ISBN 9780857977830.
- Will China Dominate the 21st Century?, Polity, 2014 second edition 2016 ISBN 978-0745679266
- France on the brink: a great civilization in the new century (2nd ed.). New York: Arcade Publishing. April 2014. ISBN 978-1-62872-317-5.
- The History of Modern France, Simon & Schuster, 2015. ISBN 1471129292
- Crucible: The Year that Shaped Our World, Simon & Schuster, 2018 ISBN 9781471155031
- "Jonathan Fenby Profile". Trusted Sources. London. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Bo Xilai Sideshow". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Johnathan Fenby". Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved 5 April 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Press Gang: How Newspapers Make Profits from Propaganda Author: Roy Greenslade. Publisher: Pan Books (2004: Revised edition of 2003 Macmillan original). ISBN 0-330-39376-6 Retrieved: 17 November 2012.
- "Inside Story: The ex-editors' files". The Independent. 9 May 2005.
- "Jonathan Fenby on worsening Chinese data". Bloomberg via Washington Post. London. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "No. 55710". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1999. p. 34.
- "ORDRE NATIONAL DU MERITE". Journal officiel de la République française. 15 November 1997.
- "Un ancien rédacteur du groupe Guardian décoré". Embassy of France in London. 25 March 2013.
| Deputy Editor of The Guardian
| Editor of The Observer
|| Editor of South China Morning Post