High-Tech Hopefuls: India and China

The Economist

Special Report on India and China

Nov. 3rd, 2007

The Economist had a special report on India and China titled High-Tech Hopefuls. As I would expect from any world-class publication, I have always found this magazine fair and informative. Its subscription fee at China, however, is more than double of USA. These economists really “charge what the market can bear.”

The opening article offered a rather interesting point of view on why did these great civilization declined — they were both technology leaders in this world few hundred years ago. “Lost of interest!” said Joel Mokyr. Both China and India ran out of challenges at that time. Hmm… Another classic economic doctrine: competition is always good for the society.

The report focus very much on present and future. And its points are simple and compelling. For the next few years, both China and India would reap the benefits from existing technologies, mostly originated from abroad, instead of developing their own. They will catapult themselves over the mistakes made by the 1st world countries these few hundred years and land on the modern world in much shorter time. During that speedy flight, they need to scoop up a bigger piece from the value chain: Apple keeps $80 for each iPod and leaves $3.70 to China’s assembly lines. Innovation seems to be the key. But insisting on re-inventing a China version is not getting very far, even in China.

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