The sleeping dragon has woken up, and it seems that not a day goes by without another manufacturer moving its production facilities to the far East.
The last three months alone have seen AMD set up a computer factory in Beijing, National Semiconductor invest $200 million in a new IC plant, and Microsoft announce that the Xbox will be made in China. And home-grown expertise is hardly sitting back while the foreign corporations move in. Massive government investment is expected to break foreign monopolies in a number of high-tech fields, and a huge automobile manufacturing base – dubbed the Chinese Motown – is being set up in Shenyang, capital of China’s Liaoning province.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s all go to China. As Confucius says, ‘If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.’
But there’s a problem; quite apart from the huge cultural barriers that must be overcome, the Chinese government is one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet. Torture and the death penalty are used to try to cure social problems, ethnic groups calling peacefully for independence face brutal crack downs, and hundreds of thousands of people are detained without charge every year. Indeed, Pierre Sane, secretary general of Amnesty International, recently called on Businesses considering investing in China to ‘take a hard look at the facts and assess them against the long term moral and financial interests of shareholders.’
So what’s left for those who want to stay at home? What do they focus on when all the manufacturing’s gone to China? Well, how about a next generation technology, Transgenics for example. You know the kind of thing, crossing spiders with goats to make industrial strength silk, or perhaps growing human hearts in Baboons.
Interested? Why not book a ticket to the 4th International Conference on Transgenic animals? This year, like last year, it’s being held in Shanghai.