The Kids Are Alright

Travelling the Silicon RoadSHANGHAI — I spent much of today on the campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University here, my second campus visit since coming to China. I also hung out for few hours one afternoon and pestered a few students at Tsingua University in Beijing last week.

University campuses in China seem to take after the cities they reside in: huge and sprawling, frequently with new construction going on these days. But aside from that, they look remarkably like their Western counterparts: grassy commons and quads, with students and academic types running hither and yon, in order to get to class on time, or deep in discussion as they stroll along.

One notable exception is the lack of what we call typical college bars in the United States — you know, those dive bars adjacent to campus that we spent so much time in, back when we were students. At least I did.

Back in my college days, when I wasn’t cramming for a midterm or in the library trying to finish one or more term papers on the weekend before they were due, or chasing a story for a journalism class or my part time job on the local alternative rag, I frequented places with names like MacSweeney’s Tavern of Love, the West End Tavern, Tony’s and Lucky’s Downstairs — I had my own stool, at Lucky’s, basically.

Yes, drinking doesn’t seem to be as large a part of the curriculum here as it is at schools in the U.S. and Europe; students here even have curfews to contend with. This I found hard to believe; no way college students could be that rigid, I don’t care what nationality you are, or where your country lies on the ideology spectrum.

Fortunately, Alma Wang, one of my colleagues from EB China, filled me in and assured that the curfew is often flaunted. I figured as much. Kids will be kids.

That’s Capitalism With a Big “C”

But aside from having to put up with a little more authority than we have — and looking back I could probably have benefited from a little more authority and a little less freedom in college, quite frankly, God knows my liver could have — the students of East and West aren’t all that much different. Students here wonder about the same things as students do there: get a job, or continue with post graduate work? Get my masters here or study abroad?

Here, China is cranking out so many EEs nowadays, some students worry about being able to get a job — back when everything was state-owned and run, the job market was a little more stable; nowadays competition for jobs is high. Welcome to a market economy and capitalism, boys and girls.

In the long run, the students here also want the same things American students want: a stable job and a career, making enough money to afford a car, and a house, not to mention to raise a family. Some students I talked to dream about starting their own business. Looks like their might be some trademark infringement problems between The American Dream and The Chinese Dream.

But one thing that is different with today’s Chinese student from that of years past is their faith in the future. It’s an ongoing story in China right now: graduates returning from abroad to work and start businesses in China. And many students here today, even among those who plan to get their master’s degrees abroad, plan to come back to China.

As Zhen Yexiu and Fu Zhenjia, two electrical engineering undergraduates here at Jiao Tong University observed, things are much better now than in the past, in terms of future job possibilities in electrical engineering. Both plan to get their masters outside of the Chinese mainland, Zhen in the United States and Fu in Hong Kong, and both plan on returning to China. Fu wants to be a teacher; Zhen’s interests lie in MEMS applications.

Ten years ago, they likely would have chosen to remain abroad, but not so today.

And in addition to universities partnering with foreign chipmakers and other technology companies to expose engineering students to the equipment and methodologies they will have to be familiar with in the job market, educators here are also trying to teach engineering students how to work in teams — how to take a group approach to tackling a project.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaAs members of the faculty here explained, it’s not something that Chinese universities have traditionally taught; rather, in the past they have emphasized individual achievements. But that approach doesn’t really prepare students to work in today’s chip industry, and if China as a nation is going to become competitive in a global sense, that needs to change, they acknowledged.

Yes, I think the Chinese kids are alright. When people talk about China as a competitive threat, I think education is one area where it might actually prove to be true.

Jeff

Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a blog entry of mine that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. While its former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge), as far as I know, this blog content isn’t hosted anywhere else on the Internet, hence my reproduction here.

Foreign Companies, Chinese Universities: a Win-Win

Travelling the Silicon RoadSHANGHAI — Relationships are paramount in Chinese culture, and in business as well as education the phrase “win-win” is often heard here.

And China is doing its best to get up to speed with the rest of the globe when it comes to technology. And the chip industry is excited about the burgeoning domestic market here.

So it is no surprise that foreign companies, including U.S. chipmakers and test and measurement suppliers, as well as European chipmakers, are partnering with universities here and throughout China as often as they are partnering with their Chinese business counterparts. Today Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) formally signed agreements with and unveiled engineering labs sponsored in part by Altera, STMicroelectronics, National Instruments (NI) and Embest Info &Tech, a Chinese company.

SJTU, first founded in 1896, is one of the oldest universities in the country, and considered one of China’s the premier schools for electrical engineering and electronics.

The aforementioned tech companies supplied state-of-the-art software and hardware for newly christened labs here in the School of Electronic Information and Electrical Engineering at SJTU. The companies, the students and professors agreed that it is a coveted win-win situation for all involved.

In the past, professors and instructors in the EE program at the school always relied on traditional engineering methods and testing techniques in their classes. With high-tech companies donating advanced technology, it gives instructors a chance to expose students to different methods, technologies and equipment, explained Shu Guo Hua, dean of the engineering labs at the school.

For example, with NI providing data acquisition boards as well as its flagship software LabVIEW, it gives professors and students alike exposure to virtual instrumentation, a relatively new concept for the Chinese electronics engineer, Shu said.

Furthermore, it gives the students a chance to work with equipment and practice applications that they will encounter in their professional lives once they leave SJTU, noted Professor Zhang Zhi Gang. It may even help bridge the gap between laboratory research and commercial applications, a problem that has plagued the country in the past and something it still grapples with today as it pursues economic reform.

“For a lot of young, smart students in China, this is a chance to know what a real company in the industry is doing,” Zhang said. “The advanced equipment also gives them a chance to realize their own ideas and projects, developing original intellectual property. “They can realize their imaginations on a state-of-the-art kit,” he added.

“This is great experience for when we graduate from here,” agreed Zheng Yexiu, an engineering student here. He plans to attend graduate school in the U.S. before returning to China, and he feels the new engineering labs at SJTU will give him a leg up in his graduate school applications.

Getting Into the Heads of Future Engineers

San Jose-based Altera Corp., through a Taiwanese partner, Terasic Technologies, supplied Cyclone II FPGAs and Nios II embedded processors for the development kits used in one lab here. Terasic in turn built and configured the kit’s board so that it could be used to expose students to multimedia technology, such as might be found in a set-top box or DVD player, explained CEO Sean Peng.

“In the past students didn’t have very good access to this type of technology,” Peng said. “Our goal is to give the students tools so that when they graduate, they know what to do.”

Similarly, France’s STMicroelectronics supplied Arm-based 32-bit STR7 MCUs, built into a development board kit by Shenzen, China-based company Embest, for yet another development lab at SJTU’s engineering school.

For the foreign companies involved, the motivations for participating in the programs and the benefits reaped, both tangible and intangible, are obvious.

As the university’s Shu observed, virtual instrumentation, which NI pioneered with its engineering software, is just in the beginning phase of adoption here in China. “We like to see more and more students familiar with the technology,” said Eric Xiang, an NI sales manager for Eastern China.

By cooperating in these joint programs, companies like NI, Altera and STMicro not only help encourage the development of qualified engineers – future prospective employees, even – but perhaps more directly, they see those engineers graduate with intimate knowledge of their respective companies’ methodologies, hardware and software.

Certainly a good idea; the students today at universities like SJTU will be tomorrow’s engineers and executives tasked with helping to meet China’s exploding demand for electronics. NI, which pursues a number of educational programs in the United States and elsewhere, is particularly active in China, said Xiang – it has similar program at Tsingua University in Beijing.

For programmable logic maker Altera, by cooperating with SJTU it is encouraging future system designers that will be familiar with its silicon. “I think this gives you an opportunity … to do complex system design,” Robert Blake, VP of product planning, said of the Altera-based development kits now at SJTU. It’s particularly important, because the functions of DSPs, MCUs and the like are converging at the system level, he suggested.

Arnaud Julienne, STMicro’s senior manager for its MCU segment in the Asia/Pacific region, offered similar logic for his company’s participation. While China is using primarily 8-bit MCUs in its domestic hardware right now, 32-bit chips, once the realm of high-end applications, are coming down in price, and a shift to 32-bit is coming, he said.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaWhile 8-bit won’t go away by any means, many cost-sensitive applications that were once the exclusive province of 8-bit technology will soon be able to use cost-effective 32-bit chips, he said. Certainly many 16-bit applications will see a conversion to 32-bit MCUs, he added.

That’s why STMicro donated the use of the STR7 in the lab development kits. It will be introducing tomorrow’s engineers to 32-bit technology while still in school. The program with SJTU is the first such program for STMicro in China, but not the last. “We’ll be doing more,” Julienne added.

Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a news story written by me that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. It’s former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge). You can still see a copy of this story at EDN.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Travelling the Silicon RoadSHANGHAI — The best laid plans sometimes get shot to hell when you cross the international dateline.

All of China is one time zone: Beijing time. Most of the people I’ve asked here that are Chinese think it’s just fine that way. The people out west in China simply keep later office hours, so ultimately it’s just like the United States or Europe in that respect, you just never have to reset your watch.

I’m beginning to think that’s a good idea, not futzing around with time zones. Which brings me to the latest Jeff’s China Travel Tip of the Day:

When you get here, and you’re traveling on business, and you have a month’s worth of appointments set up in Outlook, DON’T SET YOUR LAPTOP’S CLOCK TO LOCAL TIME!

See, of course, I did this, because apparently I have an anal retentive nerd streak that chose to express itself at an inopportune time. I figured I was here for a whole month, so why not. And of course all my appointments got screwed up. Suddenly all my appointments were taking place at 2 in the morning and whatnot. Probably Bill Gates’ fault somehow.

But do I do the simple fix? Of course not. Like a moron I went through and manually fixed them all, rather than just set my laptop back to my normal U.S. time zone. It was tricky business, because I had crossed the international dateline, so some of my appointments were not only at the wrong time, but on the wrong day.

So consider yourself warned. Seems I didn’t get at least one appointment changed to the correct day. I sat down earlier this evening to prepare for said meeting tomorrow, and was scrolling through the related e-mail correspondence, when I spied the date of Oct. 19th. I looked at my watch, realizing already that today was the 19th, and that the meeting had been scheduled for this afternoon.

Tony the Interpreter came along to my hotel room around about this time, and consequently got to learn some new English words, phrases and expressions, of the colorful colloquial variety, and almost got to witness a Dell Latitude get ejected from a 13th floor hotel room. Yes, the 13th floor; 13 isn’t an unlucky number in China — well not for the Chinese, anyway. Seems it is still in play for us laowai.

Which brings me to my public apology to one Ng Chong Meng, the managing director of STATS ChipPAC Shanghai. Mr. Ng, I apologize to you wholeheartedly; please forgive my ineptitude in understanding the intricacies of international time zones and Microsoft XP’s clock function.

Weird Food Update

The past two days I’ve taken advantage of Shanghai’s international flavor and numerous tourist traps to subject Tony the Interpreter to more strange Western food: last night was French, tonight was German. Unfortunately, the French restaurant was about as French as I am, and the German restaurant little better in terms of authenticity — but then this is Asia, after all. At least the alcohol at each restaurant was genuine.

Escargot (that’s snails to you uncultured boors and Asian readers out there) didn’t particularly impress him one way or the other; but then sea invertebrates barbecued on a stick are sold by the ton by street vendors here, so I guess land invertebrates naturally wouldn’t be a big deal. He was more intrigued by the idea that snails were a staple of the French diet; I explained to him that it was delicacy, not everyday food.

He also wanted to know why the French ate snails in the first place — which struck me as rather incredibly ironic — and I suggested that it was more of an excuse to eat a lot of butter and garlic, as opposed to any real desire to eat snails. What did prompt the first French chef sometime way back in antiquity to pick up a snail and exclaim “Sacre bleu! Mais oui!” and fire up the sauté pan?

Anyway, German food was a little more interesting to Tony; ghoulash soup tasted a little like certain Chinese dishes, apparently. And the various kinds of German sausage, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut seemed to go over O.K. Much better than that weird pizza stuff with that exotic cheese, he pointed out.

But the middle of the dinner was definitely a low point for him; things went downhill with the arrival of mixed green salads. Tony, being Chinese, doesn’t really understand raw vegetables outside of tomatoes and cucumbers, and he flat out turned up his nose at French dressing. Maybe I shouldn’t have ordered French dressing in a German restaurant.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaI think he would have skipped the salad all together, but I badgered him with “C’mon, you said you wanted to experience Western food! Besides, I ate squid on a stick! I ate dog, for chrissakes! Donkey! I’ve eaten Chinese food everyday since I’ve been here, you can choke down a salad.”

I’m a cruel taskmaster. I think I was feeling crabby about blowing my appointment with STATS-ChipPAC. Guess I owe Tony an apology too.

I remain your intrepid reporter on the Silicon Road,

Jeff

Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a blog entry of mine that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. While its former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge), as far as I know, this blog content isn’t hosted anywhere else on the Internet, hence my reproduction here.

Original Comments

at 10/19/2005 12:32:23 PM, Richard H. McKee said:

Jeff, You must try the appetizer of cold, marinaded duck’s feet. Likewise, try the Tea-leaf smoked DUCK. There are as many variations on roast duck as there are restaurants in China, but the tea leaves impart a flavor like nothing else- WONDERFUL! -Cheers!

at 10/19/2005 1:32:18 PM, Walter Bordett said:

Maybe your Chinese friend is just being prudent. Chinese agricultural practices traditionally involve human waste spread on fields for fertilizer. Usually works OK if all produce is well cooked. Raw salad may not be wise. You may not want to drink the water unless its boiled first. That makes ice a no no. Big cities may be safer, but you never know….

Chinese Entrepreneurship Comes in Different Flavors

Travelling the Silicon RoadSHANGHAI – Entrepreneurs take different forms in China, as they do anywhere else. But China is definitely a place for entrepreneurs at the moment, as its transition from a state-owned economy to one that is market-based is in full swing.

On the one hand, there are people like James Gao, founder, president and CEO of start-up Apexone Microelectronics Inc. An analog and mixed-signal company that started operations in 2002, the company has already caught the eye of the VC community and the financial press, being listed as one of Red Herring’s top 100 firms in Asia.

Having completed its Series A funding, its VC backers include DCM-Doll Capital Management, Walden International, The Yangtze Venture Ltd., Ben Itri and YouLiang Cai. Apexone calls Shanghai home, with offices based here in a high-tech park that is also home to companies like Applied Materials Inc. and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.

It is the kind of start-up – and Gao is the kind of entrepreneur – that most in the West would recognize right off. It is a fabless start-up with some interesting IP, currently producing a couple million chips a month, including both from internal development programs as well as finished products.

Its product portfolio includes a patent-pending crystal-less USB transceiver device, a digital audio amplifier developed partially with a U.S. technology partner, and data converters for wireless and broadband applications – converters based on digital CMOS, not BiCMOS, that achieve 12- to 14-bitrates or higher and speeds in the range of a couple of hundred megahertz.

Naturally, the company is targeting high-end consumer applications and is trying to stay away from the crowded low-end market. “In general we’re trying to get high performance analog or mixed signal, along with future applications,” Gao said.

Gao is a Chinese native who got a master’s degree in electrical engineering in the States in 1991 and worked in the chip industry there for a number of years before returning to China. He came back, he said, because he saw the business opportunities here. He noted that’s why others are coming back to China, but is thoughtfully pragmatic about the phenomena; eventually, as the prevailing economic winds shift back to the United States and elsewhere, that’s where Chinese graduate students will go, following the opportunities, he explained.

“I think right now the environment is good,” Gao said of the VC and business climate in China. “But it is a challenge to balance the risks,” he added. “There are always risks, of course.”

He noted that he met recently with some central government officials who observed that the Chinese start-ups that seem to have the best chance at success seem to be those that have foreign VC backers. And at a recent trade show here, among the five Chinese start-ups participating, four of them were backed by foreign VC investors; only one was funded by Chinese venture capitol.

But that’s the hot interest among the VC community right now: start-ups created by Chinese EEs returning to China, having cut their industry teeth abroad, Gao said. The big question is, which ones are the ones to back? After all, they can’t all be successful in the long-run.

Even though getting VC money isn’t a problem in China right now, it’s not like every Chinese engineer with a good idea is guaranteed to strike market gold just because they’re following the technological gold rush back to China.

“Not every company does well,” Gao said of start-ups like Apexone. “The trend really is similar to Silicon Valley. Just a couple percent are successful.”

Moving from Government Bureaucracy to Private Business

At the other end of the Chinese high-tech entrepreneur spectrum is Zhong Jian, founder and manager of Dakeli Technology Co. Ltd., based in Beijing. His isn’t the usual formula for high-tech start-ups, but his is perhaps not entirely unique, at least here in this country.

Zhong is in some ways more symbolic of what is happening in China than a company like Apexone. A former government official in the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPT) (one of the forerunners to China’s current Ministry of Information Industries (MII)), when China first started flirting with a market economy in the 1990s, Zhong saw an opportunity to go into business for himself, and seized the opportunity.

One of his assignments back in the day in the MPT was to travel to Singapore and set up a state-owned company to import high-tech goods into China. He was given the equivalent of about three months worth of funding to get things going. After a year, the business was functioning and stable, so he was sent to Japan to do the same thing; once again given about three months’ worth of funding. Two years later, the business was successfully stable.

After learning how to set up two business operations with little financial backing, and things changing in China, Zhong decided to go into business for himself. “I adjusted to business with no financial backing; why not start my own?” he recalled.

“I like freedom. I hate politics,” Zhong said. “That’s why I left the Ministry, to start my own business.” That was 1997. Today Zhong employs 10 people between Dakeli’s office in a residential apartment building in Beijing and one-man offices scattered around China. Last year it brought in revenues of about $4 million; this year the company should see revenue of about $6 million, according to Zhong.

Dakeli originally started out importing networking test equipment into China; it has since branched out into telecomm, as that is a hot market in China right now. Things have changed considerably since Zhong started Dakeli eight years ago.

“There are many stories … but generally speaking when I started it was easier,” Zhong said. “Now there are more and more private companies. There is more and more competition.”

That’s why Dakeli has had to branch out into other areas, and concentrate on high-end technology and applications; the low end has rapidly become crowded in the Chinese marketplace. The company has become particularly focused on the rollout of a 3G standard in China, as well as other specialty telecomm products.

The 3G standard adoption in China has been delayed, but as Beijing prepares for the Olympic Games to come to China in 2008, it looks as if the government will start issuing licenses for 3G in the first half of next year. “I think next year when licenses are issued, our test business will be brisk,” Zhong said.

Dakeli has also begun working with small foreign companies outside of a distribution capacity. “We like to work with small companies with good technology,” said Zhong. “They are flexible, like me.”

For instance, it is working with a Japanese company to design and sell a unique chipset for PHS applications in China. PHS is a mobile standard that was developed in Japan a few years back and has since fallen out of favor, although still popular in many parts of China. While Dakeli’s revenue from this agreement is small – maybe just 2 percent of this year’s revenue – that represents just the first order, one from a government contract. In the near future, after subsequent orders, the PHS revenue stream could represent as much as 30 percent of the company’s revenue, Zhong suggested.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaThe environment has changed in other ways, too, inside China. Relationships are very important in China, and always have been; being a former employee of the Ministry has helped, Zhong acknowledged. But now, it’s not always about whom you know; many government contracts are put out to bid and there is a transparency in place that wasn’t there back in the 1990s.

“Now business is more and more professional,” he said. “You have to have good products, service and technology. Otherwise, you will lose to the competition.”

Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a news story written by me that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. It’s former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge). You can still see a copy of this story at EDN.

Same Idea, Just Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

Travelling the Silicon RoadSHANGHAI — Today was an interesting day; it offered two ends of the semiconductor industry spectrum in China. I visited with two companies, both of which in their own way representative of the industry here at the moment.

At one end of the spectrum is Apexone Microelectronics, a Chinese start-up based here in Shanghai, a fabless chipmaker specializing in high-end analog and mixed signal applications. They’ve got an impressive track record for a start-up that’s been around for less than three years, attracting VC funding from outside China, moving chips, and being named to Red Herring’s Top 100 Private Companies in Asia.

The company was founded by one James Gao, a Chinese engineer who studied in the United States and worked in the chip industry there for some 15 years, before returning to China to start Apexone. He is part of a growing number of Chinese EEs and others in other fields returning to China instead of remaining abroad, because of the opportunities here.

But true to his nationality, Gao comes across as a pragmatist; he didn’t give me any sort of “Yes, we Chinese are returning in droves because China is resurging from the ashes like a mythical phoenix!” or some such blather. Rather, he observed that he came back because he saw an opportunity; right now, the opportunities are here in China. In the future, eventually, those opportunities will be elsewhere — eventually back in the United States — and Chinese graduates educated there will remain there, following the opportunities.

Lesson reinforced: the Chinese are nothing, if not practical. Which is why, it occurs to me, that they have had such success over the years in manufacturing — manufacturing is nothing if not a practical exercise — but have struggled to turn R&D into commercial applications . Inventing a better widget is a little bit more of a nebulous enterprise than simply making 10 million existing widgets.

AMAT Does It One More Time

At the other end of the spectrum is good old Applied Materials Inc. Applied is also symbolic of what’s going on in China right now: a large foreign company — and investor — with operations on the ground and a vested interest in the growing Chinese market. Applied owes much of its current success to its legacy of performing well in foreign markets, gaining a foothold ahead of its competitors.

It did this in nearly textbook fashion in Japan, and appears to be doing it again in China.

In their own ways, both Apexone and Applied Materials both begin with the letter A. … Sorry, had too much wine with dinner tonight, I think. Anyway, both companies could be offered up as models for doing business in China.

For those domestic companies looking to get started, they might do well to emulate Apexone — go after high-end applications with technology that no one else has at the moment, investing heavily in creating your own intellectual property. Forget about low-end, low-margin, high-volume applications; that market is saturated and a startup is more than likely going to fail dismally against larger, established companies.

Formulate a unique business plan and get the VC capital. Of course ultimately the jury is still out on Apexone, but so far, as you’ll read here soon, they’re off to a pretty good start.

It’s All About the Guanxi

As for foreign companies looking to get involved in China, well the thing to emulate from Applied is also the one thing that Apexone and Applied have in common: good relationships. The reason Applied is so entrenched in China and has a considerable chunk of the process equipment market, is because they have been here so long — they were in China before it was cool — and established good relationships with both industry and government.

And business in China is much more than “you’ve got what I want, here’s a bunch of money, let’s sign on the dotted line, deliver the goods, everybody’s happy.” Long-term relationships are of paramount importance in business in China, more so than in the West, whether it’s dealing with local government or dealing with customers or suppliers, being plugged in is a necessity to be successful in the long run.

In Apexone, they are staying close to their customers, recognizing their unmet demands, says Gao. In Applied’s case, it stays close to the government as well as their customers (they have dedicated customer support staff for their biggest customer here, SMIC), and get closely involved in the community, investing in research programs and scholarships. Now you may be sitting in Silicon Valley thinking, “Well my company does the same thing here, so no problem.” But here, it’s about much more than the PR benefit.

Electronic News Travels to China
Here it really does mean something; relationships matter. I’m learning that as a journalist; here it’s not just a matter of calling up some PR or marketing type and saying “Hey, I’m Jeff Chappell, editor with E-News, blah blah blah, I need to talk to Joe Senior VP.” The Chinese want to know why I’m here, what my goals are for the trip, they want to see this Web address, etc., etc.

The business deal goes far beyond the dotted line on the purchase order, here. Foreign companies looking to do business in China would do well to remember that.

Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a blog entry of mine that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. While its former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge), as far as I know, this blog content isn’t hosted anywhere else on the Internet, hence my reproduction here.

Original Comments

at 10/19/2005 7:32:53 PM, Vern, Cincinnati, OH said:

The Economist reported earlier this month that China’s manufactured output is half of the U.S.’s in terms of value, despite there being six times the manufacturing workforce in China. If the domain was restricted to the chip industry, I wonder what results we would see. Because of how relatively nascent this industry is in both nations, might there be a more level playing field? If not, might there be some room for “low-end, low margin, high volume applications” done American-style? (Not trying to pontificate here or anything with that question…just throwing ideas around…)