Asia Courts Japanese Engineers

May 25, 2007 at 3:45 pm | Posted in China, 科技, 經濟, 经济, Economics, 韩国, Japan, News, South Korea, Taiwan, Technology, 南韓, 台灣, 台湾, 新聞, 新闻, 日本, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

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Martin Fackler in Hsinchu, May 23 2007 New York Times

One of the hottest exports from Japan these days is not video games or eco-friendly cars. It is engineers.

As the once-vaunted Japanese electronics industry has downsized to survive global competition, it has inadvertently set off a brain drain. Thousands of Japanese engineers and other industry professionals have gone to Taiwan, South Korea and China to seek work at aggressive, fast-growing companies on the prowl for access to Japanese technological skills.

But the recent outflow of job-seekers is a sign of just how much Japan has changed after a decade of increased competition, corporate belt-tightening and the end of lifetime job guarantees. This harsher world has led Japan’s famously conservative salarymen to become more aggressive in their job choices and to view their careers as something for their own benefit and not simply as service to their companies, employment experts said…

The government of Taiwan says at least 2,500 Japanese have moved there in recent years to work mostly in technology-related manufacturing industries…

The migrants are finding themselves welcomed with open arms and generous pay. Some countries, like Taiwan, are aggressively courting Japanese professionals. Companies in Taiwan are eager to gain access to Japan’s leading technology in areas like electronics, both to catch up with Japanese front runners like Sony and to stay ahead of fast-gaining Chinese rivals. The Taiwan government says it has spent $20 million a year since 2003 to recruit foreign engineers, including Japanese in such important industries as semiconductors and flat-panel displays…

The largest number of offers are from companies in booming China, she said, but those with the most coveted skills tended to get hired by companies in Taiwan, which are rushing to close the technological gap with Japan…

Hiroshi Itabashi was an engineer with more than 20 years experience at a midsize Japanese television maker when he got a phone call out of the blue in 1999 from Delta Electronics, a fast-growing Taiwanese electronic components company…

“They gave me this exciting opportunity to build a whole new business from scratch,” said Itabashi, 56, who asked that his former Japanese employer not be identified. “This is something you can’t do in Japan. These days, Japanese companies always seem to be closing down operations, not starting new ones.”

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