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China Aims To Move Up the Food Chain

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the empty-the-cage-and-remove-the-bird dept.

Businesses 257

krou notes reporting in the Christian Science Monitor that the current economic crisis is helping China's push into higher-end manufacturing by shaking out low-profit companies. The hope is that, instead of just assembling iPods, Chinese companies will be able to invent the next big thing instead. In this move China is following the well-worn path taken by Japan and the Asian tigers before it. "Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission announced revised plans to transform Guangdong and neighboring Hong Kong and Macau into a 'significant innovation center' by 2020. One hundred R&D labs will be set up over the next three years. By 2012, per-capita output in the region should jump 50 percent from 2007, to 80,000 yuan ($11,700). And by 2020, the study predicts, 30 percent of all industrial output should come from high-tech manufacturing."

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great (3, Funny)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26802801)

this makes me happy that I'm learning mandarin. å好ä

Re:great (4, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803005)

From the font I am using, it looks you are learning Swedish shorthand...

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803051)

yea, slashdot isn't so good at accepting unicode I guess.

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803291)

It's all greek to me!

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803393)

From the font I am using, it looks you are learning Swedish shorthand...

That doesn't look like Swedish shorthand, this does:

Bork Bork Bork Bork, Bork Bork Bork Bork!

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803955)

Bakom brÃdbutiken bodde Baskerbosses bÃ¥da brÃder, brÃderna Basker. BrÃdernas bÃ¥da brÃdade beundrarinnor brukade besviket begagna brÃdbutikens bullar. Bullarna bakade Baskerbosses bas, Bagarbasse. Baskerbosse bodde bredvid brÃdbutikens blÃ¥ byggnad. Baskerbosses brÃders brÃdade beundrarinnor bodde bÃ¥da bortom bergen, besynnerligt billigt bredvid Biffbertils bastanta baconbod.

ByxbeklÃdd blott baktill beslÃt Baskerbosse besÃka Biffbertils baconbod. Bilen brummade bort bredvid belgiska bananbolagets blÃ¥ byggnad. Bort bortom B-lagets bisarra basarer, bort bortom brottarnas bÃkiga bryggor. Betongen brusade bredvid bilen. BehÃrskat bromsade Baskerbosse bakom bankbudets beigea buss. Bankbudet betraktade Baskerbosse blygt. Baskerbosse besvarade Bankbudets blick. Bakom balkongbrokaden beskÃ¥dade bÃ¥da beundrarinnorna besÃket. Baskerbosse bar buttert bort bilen bakom Biffbertils baconbod.

Bland bilvraken bakom baconboden brukade Biffbertil bygga billiga bidéer. Braket blev bedÃvande, "BÃnd bort Bentleyn, bÃnd bort Bentleyn", brÃlade Baskerbosse besatt. Bankbudet bajsade baken brun. BÃ¥da beundrarinnorna bantade bort brÃsten. Bagarbasse bakade bredare bullar. Baskerbosse brottade bort bilvraken, bÃjde bak bidéerna, bankade Biffbertils brevlÃ¥da bucklig, bromsade bestÃrt. Beskedet blottades bakom brevlÃ¥dan: Biffbertil bortrest. Bankbudet blev buddhist.

BÃ¥da beundrarinnorna bÃrjade betala besynnerliga bankgiroblanketter betrÃffande betal-TV:s bredare basutbud. Baskerbosses beklagliga belÃgenhet bekymrade blott bredvidboende Becks bortskÃmda, bleka boxer.

bara ben [gasklubben.com]

youtube video [youtube.com]

PROTECT IBM JOBS!!!11!!! (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803185)

...then just accidentally delete IBM from the map.

There is no way one can protect IBM US-based jobs (the inneficient ones) without losing competitivity on the long run to folks like these that work for peanuts. It's just something called capitalism [wikipedia.org] , and nothing politicians can do to stop it.

Re:PROTECT IBM JOBS!!!11!!! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804601)

There is no way one can protect IBM US-based jobs (the inneficient ones) without losing competitivity on the long run to folks like these that work for peanuts.

Someone obviously doesn't work for IBM and thinks his job is safe from being shipped overseas...

How do you say "University Diplomas?" (2, Funny)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804081)

In about two million emails, the font was never readable.

Re:great (1)

cyberon22 (456844) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804159)

Stick with it. The fact that you've already started puts you seriously ahead of the game.

At risk of sounding spammish, I'm running a company from Beijing that specializes in online Chinese learning at http://popupchinese.com [popupchinese.com] . We are pretty exposed to conditions in the local market and are still seeing a lot of growth in small and mid-sized businesses in northern China. These are the smart innovative companies. In contrast, it's the export-oriented manufacturing sector down south that are having a really hard time.

The job market is definitely a lot softer in Beijing than it used to be, but the problems are mostly hitting people who are monolingual and unskilled. Chinese university graduates are having an especially really rough time these days (you can get a fulltime hire for about $500 a month). People who are genuinely fluent are doing pretty well. We're certainly hiring (on the off chance anyone reading is fluent in mandarin or cantonese and a native english speaker and is looking for work in Beijing please get in touch).

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26802835)

Then those manufacturing jobs can come back to United States.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804309)

Then those manufacturing jobs can come back to United States.

China has for decades been losing manufacturing jobs to robots faster than the US hase been losing manufacturing jobs to China. Any job that can be easily automated, from manufacturing to paper-pushing, will be. Those jobs are toast. There's no point in whining when they move to someone who's willing to work cheaper than a robot (or shell script) - those simply aren't jobs for humans in the long run.

This is *not* a zero sum game, nor a race to the bottom. If every human in the world were working efficiently (ie.e, not do work robots can do) we would be producing such an amazing amount of goods and services that everyone could have a comfortable lifestyle, despite uneven distribution of wealth. Forcing goods that could be made by robots to be made by humans, or otherwise lowering the efficiency of the total human economic output, only means less stuff to go around.

Re:Good (2)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804439)

Then those manufacturing jobs can come back to United States.

China has for decades been losing manufacturing jobs to robots faster than the US hase been losing manufacturing jobs to China. Any job that can be easily automated, from manufacturing to paper-pushing, will be. Those jobs are toast. There's no point in whining when they move to someone who's willing to work cheaper than a robot (or shell script) - those simply aren't jobs for humans in the long run.

This is *not* a zero sum game, nor a race to the bottom. If every human in the world were working efficiently (ie.e, not do work robots can do) we would be producing such an amazing amount of goods and services that everyone could have a comfortable lifestyle, despite uneven distribution of wealth. Forcing goods that could be made by robots to be made by humans, or otherwise lowering the efficiency of the total human economic output, only means less stuff to go around.

It doesn't matter if you have an amazing amount of goods if large percentage of the population is unemployed.

Good Going, America! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26802873)


McDonalds made your bread.
The Chinese factories build your circuses.

You've lost everything and don't even see it. Enjoy American Idol!

innovation starts now (5, Funny)

wardk (3037) | more than 5 years ago | (#26802935)

I look forward to the new and inventive ways to hide toxins in consumer products.

Re:innovation starts now (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803049)

Indeed. They can't even get over the "no lead in the toys" hump and now they think they're going to innovate.

Hint: they're not the Japanese. Aside from residing in Asia and have a trade surplus with us they have few other similarities.

I'll be impressed when they quit screwing up their environment and rendering entire cities uninhabitable.

Re:innovation starts now (-1, Troll)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803839)

I'll be impressed when they quit screwing up their environment and rendering entire cities uninhabitable.

Why would they stop rendering cities inhabitable when it's profitable (at least short-term) and there are so many other cities [wikipedia.org] that they can grab with impunity? You just have to think outside the box a little.

Re:innovation starts now (2, Insightful)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803081)

how about ipods made of lead?

Re:innovation starts now (2, Funny)

tchiwam (751440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803299)

how about ipods made of lead?

Improvement to bricked ipods used as door stop ?

Re:innovation starts now (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803637)

how about ipods made of lead?

Depends, can I change the battery?

Re:innovation starts now (3, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803727)


how about ipods made of lead?

That's called the "Zune".

Re:innovation starts now (1, Insightful)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803833)

Bullshit, every toy made in the 50s to, what, the 70s had lead in it. Our parents somehow survived.

Re:innovation starts now (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803965)

Bullshit, every toy made in the 50s to, what, the 70s had lead in it. Our parents somehow survived.

"The U.S. incurs $43.4 billion annually in the costs of all pediatric environmental disease, with childhood lead poisoning alone accounting for the vast majority of it." http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/lead/pbwhere_found2.html

Re:innovation starts now (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803967)

Bullshit, every toy made in the 50s to, what, the 70s had lead in it. Our parents somehow survived.

Of course lead poisoning [wikipedia.org] can mess you up in a lot of ways without killing you, and most of them were known long before the 1950's.

Re:innovation starts now (5, Funny)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804075)

You know that lead poisoning makes people go crazy, right?

That might explain an awful lot. When was Bush born again?

Our Parents Survived, but (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804093)

Lead Seldom Kills, but it often would cause anemia, behavioral problems, Diminished IQ, lethargy. Sure they survived, but how many of them would have had better lives?

Re:innovation starts now (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804449)

What a ridiculous argument. Obviously, not all people survived, and so those people didn't become parents.

Re:innovation starts now (4, Funny)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804497)

Lead affects cognitive ability, which perfectly explains why our parents have such a hard time with computers.

Re:innovation starts now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804505)

Your parents grew up in the '50s? Damn whippersnapper!

Guide to Ninnle Posts! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26802981)


1. 'Ninnle' must be in the subject line. This way, any search for commentry about Ninnle can be easily found.

2. The story can be anything about Ninnle Linux, NinnleBSD, Ninnle Office, NinWM or Ninnle Labs, and must contain at least one in the body of the comment.

3. The CEO and CFO of Ninnle Labs are P. O. Prune and Joseph Bloggins respectively. Either or both ofthese may be used in proper context.

4. 'First Ninnle Post!" and variants are offtopic and silly.

5. NinnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleBATMAN posts are completely offtopic and have no connection or endorsement of Ninnle Labs. This is also silly.

6. Any reply suggesting Ninnle is a fake should be referred to Niggerbuntu.

7. Spread the word about Ninnle.

Happy Ninnling!

Culture (-1, Flamebait)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26802995)

How does a society that historically repressed individuality (aka "thinking for yourself") overcome these traditions and start to innovate (aka "thinking of NEW things")?

I understand it's a nurture vs nature argument, HUMAN nature demands creative thinking. Eastern culture/nurture expects more a more 'repressed' behaviour.

How many generations of Chinese have been born into that way of thinking? Isn't it possible that those 'creative-thinkers' might have been "bred-out" of the population?

Re:Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803175)

No, not all Chinese are born into that way of thinking.

Their parents are probably Party members, though.

Re:Culture (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803241)

Japan is also a culture on conformity. Look at where they are now.

In fact, the same could be said about us and our "religious culture." Take off your myopic generalizations on different cultures.

Re:Culture (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803661)

The Japanese at least respect their own kind; the Chinese are happy to exploit everyone. That makes then too American for America to like it.

Re:Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803751)

How can one achieve innovation without free thinking?
This is the difference between Japan, Taiwan, Korea vs China.

Re:Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803327)

What about China's total (apparently) lack of the concept of intellectual property? Why use resources to invent when someone down the street will just start copying your product tomorrow?

Re:Culture (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803513)

US agrees with China's desire to innovate for that reason alone. That China never respected people's copyrights. Whatever China makes, US will just steal. And there ain't nothin to be done about it.

Re:Culture (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803691)

Yes, but after we've stolen the innovations, and we send them back to Chinese factories to build our stolen Chinese designs, won't there be a problem?

Re:Culture (5, Insightful)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803371)

This is nonsense. Answer me this, How did China invent paper, compass, press printing, and gunpowder then? How did Zhen He travel the world in leviathan sized ships and even left traces in California then? Just because China repressed individuality doesn't equate to repressing innovation. In fact there are many many innovations in China most of us probably never even heard of. The only problem is China hasn't been applying its innovative power toward the right path. People innovate to copy the look and feel of others product, they also innovate to break any sort of protection and drm schemes that we have in our products. This is really a legal policy issue. People are not properly motivated to innovate and create new products, better products. Many local Chinese business operate on the idea where they just have to copy what is popular. This in term cuts down their operating cost because the basis of the idea already exist and the marketing has already been done. The government should give more incentive for entirely novel innovations, and that is how China can reinvent itself and become a real top-tier player in the world.

Re:Culture (2, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803555)

Didn't all these things happen before the Cultural Revolution?

Re:Culture (1)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803765)

Wait, what?! You are not making sense. Culture revolution alone doesn't qualify crowning "historically repressing individualism" to China in GP's statements. And since when did people copied products in Culture revolution?

Re:Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804089)

This is nonsense. Answer me this, How did China invent paper, compass, press printing, and gunpowder then? How did Zhen He travel the world in leviathan sized ships and even left traces in California then?

That was like, what, a thousand years ago?

I'm not saying that the Chinese can't be innovative, but I don't think using examples from over a thousand years ago proves your point.

The Japanese are also very intelligent, but are much, much better at improving existing technology than "thinking outside the box" innovation.

Re:Culture (2, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804287)

Most people will read this sentence and say it contradicts the rest of your argument. "Many local Chinese business operate on the idea where they just have to copy what is popular."

Until they develop their own new products, people will not believe in the ability to innovate. Of course Microsoft said the same of FOSS.

Re:Culture (3, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804451)

I think the point he is trying to make is that free markets and free speech tend to promote innovation, while government oppression tends to do the opposite.

He overstates his case--of course China could innovate, even under its current dictatorship. But all other things being equal, the advantage will remain with the West in the innovation department.

Re:Culture (5, Insightful)

dtolman (688781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804461)

These are all wonderful inventions - and China should be proud of them. But remember that Zheng He's fleet and charts were burned after he died, and China turned its back on the world. What great inventions and innovations have come from China since the decline of the Ming?

The past 500 years have been an era of stagnation for China. Perhaps things are not as visibly bad as they were 100 years ago, but I see little proof that it is entering a new age of innovation.

Re:Culture (2, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803401)

I get what you are saying, but the Chinese society has had a duality in their thought for quite a while. Yes there is the Confucian style of thought, primarily of use in government and procedure where you shouldn't think for yourself but merely follow the rules all the time. And there is the more Taoist style of thought where you can be free to think for yourself and innovate as you see fit.
As for this:
Isn't it possible that those 'creative-thinkers' might have been "bred-out" of the population?
I would be a little more concerned about when they killed everyone with a college education (or sent them for "re-education through labor") than them having been "bred-out" of the population.

Re:Culture (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803413)

I doubt it has been bred out. But your point that China does have some cultural issues may be relevant. Oversimplifying and stereotyping, America did well by cultivating a culture of challenging the status quo (i.e. we're a bit wacky, and have made good use of it). Germany and Japan have done well by building on a culture of craftsmanship / perfectionism (e.g. beer purity laws and the tea ceremony). China still has a Confucian bent which instills deference to authority and tradition. Good in some situations, but poor at fostering innovation.

Re:Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804573)

The tea ceremony is from China.

Re:Culture (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803467)

No, I think that's a stereotype. For instance, look at the Amazon reviews for Richard Nisbett's The Geography of Thought, a book that purports to show different ways of thinking between East and West.
http://www.amazon.com/Geography-Thought-Asians-Westerners-Differently/dp/0743255356/ [amazon.com]

Frankly, I'm worried that I'm going to be upstaged by all the smart people in China who are working a lot harder than I am.

Re:Culture (4, Funny)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803537)

How does a society that historically repressed individuality (aka "thinking for yourself") overcome these traditions and start to innovate (aka "thinking of NEW things")?

Yes, much like those repressed, authoritarian Germans, I don't think we'll ever have to worry about innovation coming from such societies.

Re:Culture (4, Insightful)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803619)

I'm not sure that western culture can argue from a position of strength at the moment, seeing as most of our advertising revenue is spent on persuading people to take up lifestyle brands. I'm not sure that we have many individuals left under the age of 40. I'm throwing this out as a challenge of course, but I'm seeing huge pressure for rather drone like conformity being expressed in politics as well as the commercial sphere.

It doesn't take very many creative types to grab hold of the rudder and steer the ship - just look at the impact of the iPhone - or the Walkman cassette player for that matter from another society formerly regarded as too conformist to change the world. The creatives in China have had access to a western lifestyle for more than a decade now and I predict that its not going to be long before interesting new things start flooding out in a very visible way.

Re:Culture (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803651)

How does a society that historically repressed individuality (aka "thinking for yourself") overcome these traditions and start to innovate (aka "thinking of NEW things")?

By constructing government-mandated R&D centers and forcing people to start innovating.

Re:Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803695)

why don't you go and tell the japanese, koreans and taiwanese that they aren't bred for innovation because they all had confucian societies.

Re:Culture (2, Insightful)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803799)

Here's an interesting anecdote - Buick.

There are many interesting articles and image galleries about the models that Buick designs, manufactures, and sells exclusively in China and other parts of east Asia. These Buick models have received endless praise from the auto industry, and might have saved GM from their predicaments in the U.S. if perhaps they had decided to sell some of these models in the U.S.

According to my artist friend, China is the emerging market in modern expressionist art - the sort of stuff that doesn't flourish that much in a restrictive, conformist society.

Re:Culture (1, Interesting)

Octavian20 (1465253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803993)

Until some official interprets your "modern expressionist art" as a criticism of the government . . . then you are in for some education until you see the error of your ways and learn to color inside the lines.

Re:Culture (3, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803815)

How does a society that historically repressed individuality (aka "thinking for yourself") overcome these traditions and start to innovate (aka "thinking of NEW things")? ...
How many generations of Chinese have been born into that way of thinking? Isn't it possible that those 'creative-thinkers' might have been "bred-out" of the population?

Oh, you were referring to China. I thought that you were referring to the US and for what passes for our entire public education system. It seems that we've been leaning heavily on the primary schooling of other countries for some of our best new immigrates. If we were so great, why does it seem like every other educational system in the world is better than ours except for maybe our R&D university system. (Heck, that's where we make the biggest use of foreign educated folks!)

Saying that we are free thinking is silly. The US has historically repressed individuality. The Pilgrims and Quakers didn't come over here because they wanted their children to be free thinking individuals. Our system has encouraged farm workers and factory workers, but discouraged anyone of being an inventor. Those are the weird folks.

China if anything has a history of valuing the types of folks that we routinely dislike. O.k. they have a stricter general system, but they do ID certain types and pool them all together sooner than we do. You can be creative as much as you want within your field, but every where else you need to conform. That's the same general rules as the US. If you don't conform to the surrounding rules, the general population will arrange the rules, laws, mores, and police to where you'll be arrested and jailed sooner or later.

Re:Culture (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803997)

WHen you are ordered to think outside the box or risk having your entire family wiped off the planet, you think outside the box.

Re:Culture (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804029)

The dominant culture has not been around so long that creativity could have been bred out of the population, and despite attempts to force out foreign influence, they cannot claim the level of success necessary to have eliminated creativity from all individuals. Further, this is assuming that the culture itself is capable of repressing innovation in an individual.

China is big, really @#%^ing big. Among that immense population you can find a chinese person to fit virtually any description. There is too much diversity to make such a specific claim about them. Americans aren't all packing a gun in one pocket and a bible in the other.

I think one of the biggest problems they will face is not a lack of creative talent, but the "braindrain" drawing these individuals to the west instead of staying and developing their ventures in China.

Re:Culture (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804069)

Conversely, you can say that in Western culture, jocks and athletes are favored over nerds in courtship and mating that by now all the intelligence have been bred out...

It's a silly, unsubstantiated, and stereotypical way of characterizing something as complex as a society or country. Your conclusion needs something more substantial than stereotypes.

Re:Culture (1)

julienthjamminjabber (1241742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804091)

Isn't it possible that those 'creative-thinkers' might have been "bred-out" of the population?

Thanks, Lysenko Jr. I think they are just glad they are not from Kentucky.

Re:Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804255)

"Our dear leader requires you to innovate. NOW!!"

Re:Culture (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804389)

How many generations of Chinese have been born into that way of thinking? Isn't it possible that those 'creative-thinkers' might have been "bred-out" of the population?

China has changed a lot since Nixon. The current generation of young Chinese are more self-centered than previous generations. It is called the Little Emperor Syndrome [wikipedia.org] . It comes as a byproduct of the one-child policy in urban areas. Since couples can now have one child, they tend to lavish their attention on one child. More often than not these children are spoiled and filled with self-entitlement as they are their parents only hope for prosperity in the future. Coupled with China's mixed economy of communism and capitalism, ambition is rewarded these days.

MP4 Players (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803001)

I'm quite happy with my unbranded Chinesium MP4 player that I bought from Chinavasion. [chinavasion.com] . All I wanted was something that would let me watch TV shows or movies at the gym. I looked at the iPod Touch and Nokia N800 products but they were all over kill (and over priced). This fits the bill perfectly. The software is XP only and just a gui wrapper to mencoder, but the ini let me write a nice shell script to do it [exstatic.org] on Linux/OS X.

There are quite a few products on that website that seem pretty cool. I'm thinking of getting the toothbrush cam to see if it will make a cheap bore scope for engines, etc. This hard drive enclosure [chinavasion.com] seems pretty cool (Although I'm sticking with my XBMC).

The BEST part about all of these products is that they can't afford a proprietary connector nor can they afford to lose market share to not being able to connect to everything. Everything is Mini-USB or USB.

The biggest problem they have right now is UI and translations. The "MP5 Player Manuals" is quite entertaining to read and full of Engrish. [engrish.com]

Re:MP4 Players (3, Informative)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803747)

This is the same Chinese outfit that makes such great knockoffs of other stuff, like this copy [chinavasion.com] of a Samsung WEP-200 [samsung.com] .

When the WEP-200 first came out, I ended up needing a new headset, and it looked cool to me. Imagine my surprise when I couldn't even buy one for two weeks. All the mall carts had were the copies. And they weren't that good.

China has a ways to go. Creative I wouldn't call them. Opportunistic. Which also works.

Re:MP4 Players (2, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803953)

Ebay will likely be the leader at the forefront of this revolution. I, for one, can't wait.

As much as I don't like ebay, you have to admit they match the little guy from China DIRECTLY with the buyer (you and me). I just bought 12 screen protectors for my PDA for $3 free shipping. I bought a replacement 1200mAh same--physical-size-battery-as-the-Dell-900mAh battery for $8 free shipping. 33% extra battery capacity! I could have gotten the 2200mAh version for $10 free shipping but I didn't want it sticking out the back of the PDA. I hate to imagine how much the replacement battery would have cost from Dell.
My 4GB of Crucial DDR2-800 2.2v ram was $20 AR thanks to China.
That 1.5TB WD harddrive Frys had for $106 +$7 shipping one day last week was thanks to Chinafacturing.
My 24" 1920x1200 M-PVA (true 8-bit/color display) LCD monitor was $299 a year ago thanks to China. Now, a TN 24" panel is $220 at Costco this week, and there is a 42" Vizio 1080P LCD TV for $600, too.

In some market segments we don't benefit, but in many, we do. If I bought it the PDA battery from Dell they probably would have charged $25 for the 900mAh replacement, and maybe $40 for the extended 2200mAh battery. They would have paid maybe $6 to the China guys for being a bulk buyer, and would have pocketed the other $19/$34. But since I went through Ebay, the China guys got to charge a little bit more, I get the same product, and still came away paying 20% what I would have had to pay through Dell.

It wasn't until recently that we started seeing the benefits of this with laptops-- before the companies pocketed all the cash, but now there are so many suppliers over there it's trivial to produce yet-another-version of laptop. Now you can catch a dual core laptop with 3GB of RAM, Vista, and 160-250GB HDD for $400 if you keep your eyes open. Or you could get a netbook with 1GB of RAM and an 8GB fast SSD with 32GB slower SSD (for documents and stuff) for $300.

I, for one, welcome our new Chinese manufacturing Overlords.

Go for it (2, Insightful)

No2Gates (239823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803019)

Then we'll just have some other country in South America or India make our crap for us. Personally I'm really tired of hearing of all the crap they make that's being recalled because of melamine, lead, etc...
I would rather pay more money and know that what I'm buying is safe.

Re:Go for it (2, Funny)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803123)

you mean safe like loaded with high fructose corn syrup or aspartame?

Re:Go for it (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804597)

Yes. HFCS is only "dangerous" if you over eat it, just like sugar - or for that matter organic raw vegetables. Aspartame, as far as anyone can tell, only hurts certain people who have a reaction to it.

Melamine in baby formula or pet food, on the other hand, will cause kidney failure in a very short period of time. Antifreeze in toothpaste or cough medicine will do the same. Lead in paint on childrens' toys will cause developmental problems.

I will be missing it! (3, Funny)

slygrayling (1437943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803029)

Wah, i am gonna miss the cheap copies of electronics. Damn it. :-D

Hong Kong (3, Insightful)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803043)

Well, I don't know about the situation regarding health care and education. But Hong Kong certainly *looks* very advanced already.

Re:Hong Kong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803135)

My grandmother's apartment in Hong Kong is the size of most people's guest bedrooms here, but that's to be expected in a place that crowded.

But what you might not know is that there is no hot water, and the toilet occupies the same space as where you "shower" with a bucket of water you boiled to make it hot.

Re:Hong Kong (1)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803481)

My grandmother's place is like that too. They're government housing that was mass-manufactured in the late '40s. They're being systematically torn down for updated government housing now.

Re:Hong Kong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803603)

It depends on where you live. Your grandparents probably live in an older building, possibly one the subsidized low income housing developments.

On the other hand, my parents' place in Hong Kong is about the same size as the apartment I have in Canada, has the same type of toilet and has an instantaneous (tankless) water heater for the shower.

Hong Kong is more advanced than North American cities in many ways: the public transit system, for example, actually works. A far cry from the likes of Toronto.

Melamine (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803053)

Would that be a melamine laced food chain?

Salmonella (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803173)

No, they wish to mimic the US's salmonella laced food chain.

Good thinking! Let's regulate some innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803061)

Good news, worker 132847326. Your state sponsored employment is now officially to "innovate the next big thing". If you fail to complete this within the fiscal year, you will be subject to re-education. All Hail Mao!

What Excuse Will US Economists Have For That? (2, Insightful)

cmholm (69081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803125)

It doesn't surprise me that the PRC government wants to encourage adding value to it's economy, by moving up beyond manufacturing to design. Hell, it was going to happen even without becoming public policy.

US economists, particularly those on a grant to say so, have gone on about the constructive destruction of the US economy. I can't count the times I've heard the analogy about Ford and the buggy whip. But, it's a bad analogy. Does it work when Henry isn't American, or doesn't make his investment in the US?

Constructive destruction is an attempt to describe a kind of economic activity, the redirection of capital and investment. But, it's not graven in stone that it's a benefit for any particular economic player, even if that player is the USofA.

But, just as those US economists made excuses for the hollowing out of US manufacturing (we'll move into design, we'll go upmarket), they'll think up new excuses now, and they'll probably pass muster at editorial boards and newsrooms as gospel.

In the meantime, the goals the Beijing government has set have INFLATION spray painted all over them, in dayglow.

Re:What Excuse Will US Economists Have For That? (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803409)

Why would the US economists (whoever those are supposed to be) need to come up with an excuse for helping bring millions of dirt-poor peasants into the modern era with some fure prospects? Or are you trying to turn this into a flamewar related to the current crisis?

The growth figure might be shown in real terms. I have no idea having not actually RTFA, though it won't surprise me if it isn't.

Re:What Excuse Will US Economists Have For That? (5, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804351)

One of the issues in shifting gears to these new high tech capital intensive industries is the shift away from low-capital, labor intensive industries.

In developed countries this is counterbalanced by the suddenly unemployed workers going back to school or entering a new job that should overall pay better and produce more overall as the unemployed fall into appropriate jobs(effient allocation). Capital intensive jobs need education on how to utilize that capital(machinery, computers, development software, etc.).

However, in a country as huge and diverse as China you have sections of highly developed and wealthy people, and sections of abject poverty.

A good example is the Three Gorges Dam which displaced millions of people when they flooded the river valley and towns and villages that lived off it(Remember how Bush got slammed for how he handled Hurricane Katrina? This flood was actually man-made and much bigger!). The rationale of this huge dam was that the electricity would help catapult modern china into competition with the other first-world countries, i.e a propaganda move. Essentially, poor Chinese were pushed aside to help develop the modern areas.

In the USA, if you get kicked out of your job, you try to get another one. You've probably got a highschool diploma or GED. You can read a training manual, or maybe even take out a loan to go back to school and accumulate some knowledge capital so that you can sell yourself and your education to get a better job than the one you lost. If you're a poor fisherman who can barely read, when you lose the river your family has lived off of for generations...you're pretty screwed. You don't have the education infrastructure to enable you to fall into another line of work as easily.

It may be prudent for China to invest more heavily in its infrastructure before trying to chase after other countries which are much more thoroughly developed.

None of the Asian Tigers Replaced US innovation (4, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803183)

None of the Asian tigers has replaced the US as a center of innovation. That is a game the US will lose if the government keeps favoring establish Fortune 500 companies over small nimble truly innovative start ups.

Re:None of the Asian Tigers Replaced US innovation (1)

dstarfire (134200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803365)

Don't forget the patent system. When any new idea is already covered by some ridiculously-broad "process" (patent-talk for "we can't do it, and anybody that tries has to pay us") patent, innovation is just something new to get sued for.

Re:None of the Asian Tigers Replaced US innovation (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803375)

None of the Asian tigers has replaced the US as a center of innovation.

They don't have to. Our own intellectual property laws have strangled innovation in this country.

Re:None of the Asian Tigers Replaced US innovation (3, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804119)

None of the Asian tigers has replaced the US as a center of innovation.

They don't have to. Our own intellectual property laws have strangled innovation in this country.

At least we have some. In China, forget about R&D unless you're willing to pay the police to go raid the counterfeiters for you. In Hong Kong, Shenzhen, etc. you can buy real North Face and -insert-favorite-brand-here- clothing. The manufacturers are told to produce a certain number of goods, but it's _so cheap_ to make stuff over there they still produce more of it, and sell it to street vendors, who then sell it to you for 90% less what you'd pay over here, and the street guys STILL make a profit on it.

North Face, for example, pays this fee to keep the street vendors at bay. Friend was telling me about his trip there a few months ago-- "Do you have any NorthFace" "No, no no, no NorthFace. Here look at these instead, see this nice backpack? $5." "No but we want NorthFace" "No NorthFace, I don't have it" "Surely you've got something NorthFace." The guy looks at my friend, decides he's legit and not an undercover cop, looks left and right up and down the street, and the proceeds to climb up his shelves into a compartment above his shop and begins throwing down North Face sweatshirts, fleeces, backpacks, etc.

They won't be able to move up the food chain until they get _some form_ of copyright/trademark/IP protection. There is no "code of law" there, anything they can replicate is fair game. Better make sure anything you produce can't be replicated or they'll undercut you fast.

Re:None of the Asian Tigers Replaced US innovation (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803793)

Don't mistake innovation for marketing and suppression of competitors.

Re:None of the Asian Tigers Replaced US innovation (1)

BlendieOfIndie (1185569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804017)

the government keeps favoring establish Fortune 500 companies over small nimble truly innovative start ups

How do you figure? Most small startup companies are not profitable in their nascent years. This means that they DO NOT PAY INCOME TAXES! The big Fortune 500 companies pay billions in taxes.

Even if I'm wrong, do you really think that what you said IS the problem? Has the US gradually become less innovative due to favoritism of big companies? Was there ever favoritism for small "innovative companies?" I think this article is saying that China is becoming a power house, rather than the US's innovation is weakening.

They deserve to succeed (4, Informative)

bornwaysouth (1138751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803261)

They have been working at this for decades. My brother travels often to China where he oversees production designed here. He admires their industry (human and machine), relative honesty (not that different from Western companies), and ambition. A company with 100,000 employees has 100,000 people all wanting to own it. The government not only supports business, they have schemes to induce overseas Chinese to return to lucrative positions. And they are not too sympathetic to freeloaders.

In short, he likes them, and considers them a major looming threat. Every design he brings in he knows will be analyzed to enable them to better it. Hey, ho, that's evolution. Competitions wonderful if you can beat it often enough to live. If not, introduce protectionism and live off your capital for a while.

They are not tigers of course. Those are a protected species. Not T. rex cos that's just a bunch of bones. I cannot think of a suitable analogy. An unassuming animal that out-competes us while we are watch video games.

Re:They deserve to succeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803635)

An unassuming animal that out-competes us while we are watch video games.

Rats? Cockroaches? Both are very successful at our expense, but are actually desperately dependent on us for their survival.

Re:They deserve to succeed (1)

collywally (1223456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804059)

Raccoons but without the bandit feel. Though I imagine that there are quite a few copyright and patent lawyers that think differently.

THings have to change (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803265)

In particular, China is now pushing Obama to help them improve their situation by having us give them all sorts of tech. But, the last time that we did any agreements with them, US gave them MFN in exchange for their promise that they would drop their trade barriers and free their money in 2002. Neither was done.

The west has open trading for the most part. More importantly, our money is freely traded so that when the economy picks up in one place, the other gets cheaper. China prevents that. Until China carries through with their original promise, I say it is time to slowly raise an import tax. More importantly, EU is going to do this.

A BIG PROBLEM (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803521)

is the general lack of "IP" in China. There is little motivation to innovate. Other than the prospect of immediate profits (with nearly immediate copycats coming to market and grabbing share), there just isn't as much call in China to spend R&D money.

Chinese are like ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803547)

With the Chinaman it's all "monkey see, monkey do".

At my university there are a lot of chinks. Maybe over 50% of the student population. One thing I notice is that they lack any sense of creativity. Like a colony of ants or termites, the Chinamen all aspire to conform. As a matter of fact, conformity is their highest aspiration.

The idea that the Chinese could invent anything of interest to normal humans is ludicrous. We all know that. And maybe it is not so politically correct to point it out but their lack of creativity and their obsessive desire to conform leads to a culture of "monkey see, monkey do" groupthink.

Just cutting out the middleman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26803565)

Now that they have the manufacturing base and the know-how, it's just a matter of cutting out the middleman. Which is more than likely going to be the U.S. based or other global companies that shifted over their manufacturing to China.

They're already doing it with a lot of products in China, and I'm not going to be too suprised when they decide to start exporting inexpensive Chinese-brand clones of mainstream products like iPods.

What can I say, most western CEOs (and the corporate accountants they listen to) seem to put on the blinders when chasing short term quarterly profits. I guess the pitfalls they lead their companies into will be soon become China's gain.

And up comes Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, ... (3, Interesting)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803693)

My wife is a fashion designer, and it's quite obvious that the trends in manufacturing have been shifting for quite a number of years now. Clothes at Walmart (socks, underwear, t-shirts, etc.) used to be made in China. Now these low-value items are being made in Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, etc. At that time, the mid-to-high-end fashions were made in Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. Now China has largely overtaken this mid-to-high-end market (dresses that go for up to $1,000 are frequently from China now).

Clothes today. Cars and planes in 25 years. Or is that Toyota still funny Japanese engineering that falls apart?

Also - with our recent peanut/salmonella/spinach/drugs health scares, it's not like we can point fingers at others anymore for having shabby food quality standards. I know we're still lightyears ahead of many countries, but the gap is certainly closing quite quickly.

Re:And up comes Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, ... (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804179)

with our recent peanut/salmonella/spinach/drugs health scares, [snip] we're still lightyears ahead of many countries, but the gap is certainly closing quite quickly.

Scary!

Here's a question (0, Offtopic)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26803923)

Anyone really think that the US dollar should be as strong as it is? After all, they're now throwing around trillions.

Re:Here's a question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804165)

I don't I got over 50k USD in Chinese Yuan.

Furthermore, most of you people that have posted above me are clueless. I for one will be looking for jobs in China in the coming years. I don't mind going to China to work.

And the US economy drops even further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804155)

Good news: It won't be cheap to ship manufacturing overseas anymore, so plants may move back to the US

Bad news: No more cheap manufacturing in China means no more cheap parts. Cost goes up, profitability goes down and companies have to either cut other costs to stay afloat or find some magical way to increase revenues.

Some of the doubters here are hilarious (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804187)

The ones who are suggesting that the Chinese are incapable of making high end or innovative products.

Are you aware of how enormously successful Chinese immigrants are in places like Silicon Valley, where there's actually money and motivation for R&D? Did you know that both ATI and Nvidia were founded by Chinese immigrants? Did you know that there are many high end computer parts companies in Taiwan (who are ethnically and culturally Chinese)? Are you aware that the average IQ of a Chinese person is 105, which is exactly the same as the average IQ of a Japanese?

I guess what I'm trying to say here is, those of you who underestimate the Chinese will be proven wrong in the coming years, just like how nobody took Japan seriously when they first entered the electronics and automobile industries.

China... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804391)

I just got back from China 2 weeks ago. If you still think China is a 3rd world country you are right. But that only applies to the rural area. If you were in major metropolitans like Shanghai, and Beijing they are no different from any other US cities. Only thing is that there are 10-20x more people in these major cities.

Think of things this way. If US gets 1 genius per 100000 person and China gets 1/10th of that(due to substandard living). Well China would have 5.2 times more geniuses than the US.

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