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

japanaesebraindrain

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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Welcome to Beijing “Disneyland”

May 9, 2007 at 12:18 pm | Posted in China, 盜版, 科技, 經濟, 经济, Economics, IPR, News, Piracy, Politics, Technology, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 智慧財產權, 智慧财产权, 中国, 中國 | 1 Comment

This should serve as a warning to all foreign investors looking to enter China. Compared to the rest of the world, China actually has a relatively comprehensive set of IPR regulations. The problem right now lies in their enforcement. Beijing claims that it’s making an effort to crack down on piracy, which is an integral part of almost every industry imaginable within China, from DVDs and LV handbags to SMART cars and prescriptions drugs.

For years, Beijing has placed the blame of China’s lack of IPR enforcement upon the local governments, which it claims are ignoring the policies implemented by the central government. This may be true to some extent but let’s not forget what we’re dealing with here. As a one-party state, the CCP has complete control of the system. The government is involved in almost every single aspect of the economy. So how credible is the CCP when it claims that it’s already doing its best? Unless…PIRACY IS GOOD.

China’s aspiration for globally recognized national champions and its ambition to establish itself as a technological superpower will be realized at the expense of foreign investors. Unlike other previous developing countries, which all had serious IPR problems but eventually caught up to Western standards brought upon by foreign pressure, China’s has little motivation to follow suite since it has more leverage than its trading partners. Although foreign investors understand the high level of risk involved relating to IPR infringement when they invest in China, with a potential consumer market of 1.3 billion, the CCP is confident that foreign investors will continue to flock to China with their new technologies. Currently, within most industries, foreign investors are required to pair up with a domestic partner. In time, the domestic partner will terminate the partnership and compete with its former foreign partner using a “similar” product. When the two parties go to court and when push comes to shove, as with everything else in China, those with the “connections” will prevail, leaving foreign investors completely vulnerable to such business risks.

As of now, the CCP will only do what’s best for its domestic industries, which is to turn a blind eye to piracy and allow local Chinese firms to profit and “innovate” at the expense of foreign investors. In the future, when Chinese firms become serious about R&D, that’s when the CCP will get serious about IPR protection as well.

China’s Auto Industry Takes On the World

March 30, 2007 at 8:14 pm | Posted in China, 科技, 經濟, 经济, 美国, 美國, Economics, News, Technology, United States, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

nanjingmgrover

Dexter Roberts, Mar. 28 2007 BusinessWeek

A little piece of England came to China this week. On Mar. 27, the classic British brand MG Rover began production in Nanjing, in Jiangsu Province, with 1.8-liter and 2.5-liter MG7 sedans and a 1.8-liter MG TF roadster rolling off a Chinese factory line. Next up will be other MG nameplates with engine sizes ranging from 1.1 to 1.6 liters, says Nanjing Automobile Group, the new owner of the once-iconic British brand. Unlike other Chinese auto companies that have either partnered with foreign auto companies or developed their own brands, Nanjing Auto is taking “a third path” aimed at creating an internationally competitive auto player, said Chairman Wang Haoliang on Mar. 27, according to the China Daily. The company has ambitious plans to spend $2 billion, which include the opening of a factory in Ardmore, Okla., next year in a bid to crack the world’s biggest auto market…

And the Chinese car companies are not content to stay at home. Hefei (Anhui Province)-based Chery, which produces the popular minicar the QQ on the mainland, recently signed a deal with DaimlerChrysler that will see it produce Dodge-brand vehicles for the U.S. and Western Europe markets. Shenyang-based Brilliance Automotive, which has a joint venture producing BMWs with the German company in northeastern China, showed three new models at the Geneva Auto Show this month. Those included a sporty sedan called the BS6, a BS4 compact, and a two-door BS3 coupe, all of which it aims to sell in Europe…

Despite those inroads abroad, cracking developed Western markets certainly won’t be easy. One huge challenge will be breaking into distribution channels and convincing overseas customers to trust Chinese autos. Chinese car companies have an often-deserved reputation for being more concerned with cost cutting than building high-quality, innovative vehicles. “The weak foundation of the Chinese car industry still makes it difficult for China to produce a car of decent quality and safety level,” cautions Beijing-based auto analyst Jia Xinguang.

Indeed, even succeeding at home is a challenge in the highly competitive, cutthroat Chinese auto market. So Nanjing Auto has asked Beijing for loans and subsidies totaling close to $400 million to fund its big plans to sell the Rover in China and overseas. Whether or not Beijing provides that major handout, though, MG Rovers will soon be tooling the roads of China.

Sustainable competitive advantage. U.S. Consumers would be attracted by the relatively cheap prices of Chinese automobiles, but what else can these cars offer to differentiate themselves from other established brands?

China Spy Case: Chi Mak

March 23, 2007 at 2:46 pm | Posted in China, 科技, 美国, 美國, 軍事, Military, News, Politics, Technology, United States, 军事, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | Leave a comment

chinesespy

Josh Gerstein in San Francisco, Mar. 23 2007 The New York Sun

A senior engineer for a company with numerous American Navy contracts, Chi Mak, 66, is charged with attempting to smuggle designs for quiet submarines to China and with acting as an unregistered agent of China in America. Four other members of Mr. Mak’s family face similar charges and are expected to be tried separately at a later date.

The alleged ring was broken up in 2005 when agents intercepted two of the family members at Los Angeles airport preparing to board a flight to Hong Kong. According to the government, hidden in their carry-on bag, in a package of CDs for learning English, was a disk containing sensitive, encrypted data on quiet propulsion systems for submarines.

Mr. Mak, a naturalized American citizen born in China, has pleaded not guilty. “My client’s character is absolutely unblemished,” a defense attorney, Ronald Kaye, said.

A spokesman for the Office of the Counterintelligence Executive, Ross Feinstein, said China is considered one to have one of the world’s most active espionage programs, along with Russia, Iran, and Cuba. “China is at the top of our concerns,” Mr. Feinstein said…

Jurors are expected to see excerpts from audio and video surveillance of the suspects, including a camera placed over Mr. Mak’s dining room table. After a defense request, the government has agreed not to play for jurors certain inflammatory statements Mr. Mak allegedly made on the tapes, including claims that America brought terrorist strikes on itself and that North Korea has the right to develop nuclear weapons.

Jurors are expected to see excerpts from audio and video surveillance of the suspects, including a camera placed over Mr. Mak’s dining room table. After a defense request, the government has agreed not to play for jurors certain inflammatory statements Mr. Mak allegedly made on the tapes, including claims that America brought terrorist strikes on itself and that North Korea has the right to develop nuclear weapons. Judge Carney has ruled that jurors may hear that, decades ago, Mr. Mak recorded the comings and goings of American warships in Hong Kong harbor in a logbook he kept. Jurors also may hear about torn-up notes allegedly found in Mr. Mak’s home that prosecutors contend are a Chinese government shopping list for information on missile defense, artillery, and torpedo systems. The prosecution also may play a recording suggesting that Mr. Mak was part of “the red flower of North America,” a term prosecutors claim is code for a Chinese intelligence operation…

Chi Mak’s attitude towards the U.S. isn’t all that surprising. After all, he’s only a first generation immigrant. Imagine moving to a new country, hoping for a fulfilling life and living the American dream, but end up being stuck in middle management for most of one’s career and then blaming it on the corporate “glass ceiling.” I’m not sure if Mr. Mak fits this profile exactly if at all but those Chinese-Americans who do fall into this category often become rather bitter, especially when they compare their lives with those of their friends and family who stayed behind and prospered. Such individuals would be easy targets for recruitment by Chinese intelligence agencies. However, their motivation would be to prove their worthiness and bring meaning back to their lives rather than true patriotism.

China Authorizes Intel to Build Chip Plant in Northeastern City

March 13, 2007 at 12:27 pm | Posted in China, 科技, 經濟, 经济, 美国, 美國, Economics, News, Politics, Technology, United States, 政治, 新聞, 新闻, 中国, 中國 | 6 Comments

intelfabplant

Jason Dean in Beijing & Don Clark in San Francisco, Mar. 13 2007 WSJ

China’s government said it approved plans by Intel Corp. to build an advanced semiconductor plant in the country, an project that — if it proceeds — would mark a major step for China’s efforts to attract high-technology investment.

An Intel fab would be a triumph for China in its decades-long campaign to develop a semiconductor industry. The government hopes that foreign investment will promote the development of domestic chip companies, enabling China to eventually wean itself from expensive imported technology…

The U.S. Department of Commerce sets complex restrictions governing exports to China of advanced equipment for making chips. Some of the rules require several government agencies to review and approve exports of manufacturing gear that can make chips with dimensions of 180 nanometers or less. An Intel factory with 90-nanometer circuitry would be two generations of production technology beyond those limits…

For Intel, whose chips are mainly used in personal computers, a fab in China would put it closer to one of the most important markets for its products. China is now the world’s second-biggest market for personal computers after the U.S. by unit sales, as well as the place where many PCs are manufactured for markets outside China…

Out of all seriousness, I think there’s a very simple solution to Intel’s problems described above. Build the plant in Taiwan.

Most of Intel’s chips are used for personal computers, which are for the most part manufactured and assembled in China. However, Intel must also be aware that most of its customers within China who manufacture and assemble these personal computers are foreign owned, namely by Taiwanese companies, such as Foxconn, Quanta, Wistron, Compal, and others. Typically, these Taiwanese companies rely on their subsidiaries in China to provide the necessary labor while key components are manufactured in Taiwan and exported to China. To reduce costs, Intel can easily make arrangements with these Taiwanese companies to have its chips shipped to China along with those key components mentioned above.

Most importantly, having the plant in Taiwan would not be viewed by politicians as a threat to the United States since the two countries are implicit allies when it comes to potential conflicts with China. Furthermore, Intel would not have to run the risk of aiding in the development of potential competitors since Taiwan already has champion chip makers, such as TSMC and UMC. Lastly, Taiwan’s better structured and enforced IPR would better protect Intel’s investments and guarantee its longterm success.

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