So the fundamental question is, "What did these people expect?" (and were thus disillusioned when they didn't get their expectation). Did they expect that they would be able to build large foreigner controlled businesses? Did they expect that their success would not be impeded by a desire on the part of political entities to craft a narrative? Did they expect to secure more wealth for themselves before they were shut down?
I am always surprised by people who think they can do what they do in their home country in any other country and get the same results. But it is particularly true of people in the US it seems. If you don't really internalize how the laws, politics, and policies of a country shape what is, and what is not possible, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed.
It is the Wall Street journal.
They didn't become more serious about these things. They passed rules to kill off businesses arbitrarily to maintain power under the guise of "environment". The salad preparation rules have nothing to do with the environment.
To be fair, the perceived anti-China slant wasn't always that way. It used to be one of the most pro-China publications in the early days of the Chinese economic ramp-up. But as things have changed in China, so has the tone of the Journal.
It's a reaction to what's happening there. An over-reaction, probably. But a reaction, nonetheless.
1: I have zero affiliation with the above organization -- stumbling into the event was purely right-place-right-time circumstance.
I don't think this is particularly true of the US in comparison with, say, China. There are people who will blame Chinese nationals or immigrants in the US for behaving incorrectly or irrationally. And there are people here who will blame Americans for not accommodating or understanding the Chinese community. (I'm going to make an unfair generalization: and then there are always Europeans who pipe in to comment without really understanding American race relations, American culture, or Chinese culture. America has its own politics of race, identity, and nationality that have significant differences from the way it works in Europe. Just as I'm liable to go to Europe and, say, make a fool out of myself trying to have a conversation about Catalonia, a European is liable to make a fool out of themselves coming to America and talking about Black Lives Matter.)
Coming back to the original article, I do think these people are mostly just bad entrepreneurs trying to cash in on a fad, or being led by exoticism and memories of 19th century trade rather than an understanding of the market and a sound business plan. It's not some kind of testament to US arrogance, even though that makes a good narrative.
The average European has a much better grasp of those than the average American has of any European situation (assuming they can even pinpoint France on the map, that is).
We read lots of American news, websites and books, follow US music, movies, and so on. With a small exception of UK music, the US can hardly do 1/100th of the European following US culture we do.
Pop culture, news, and books give an incredibly limited and skewed perspective of what a country is actually like. Worse yet, if you remove these things from their context and then give them to someone who has a different culture, you end up missing large chunks. American pop culture is also stripped of realism and specificity to make it more broadly accessible to Americans and even abroad.
To draw a comparison which might be more familiar to the HN crowd, consider what happens when you learn programming by reading a bunch of blog posts, articles, and books about programming, but you never actually write a single line of code. You’ll have a very distorted idea of what programming or software engineering is like.
I’ve had similar conversations with both groups of people. A novice programmer might have an arrogant attitude and explain to me why the code base is terrible, or might have the attitude of a learner and ask me questions about the design decisions. A European might have an arrogant attitude and explain to me what the problems are with American race relations, or they could be more humble and ask me questions about what living in America is like.
I think the Euros have perspectives that are just as valid as anyone else'. I mean, Americans get their ideas from the pop media too, and then we experience life through that lens. Americans are not somehow less susceptible to pop media influence than, say, Europeans, simply by virtue of being Americans. We are just as manipulated as they are. Probably more manipulated, since we consume more of our pop media.
The media changes the perspective of people. The perspective becomes the reality. Doesn't matter who those people are, or where they happened to grow up. The media you consume, shapes your perspective, which becomes reality for you. No one is immune to it. This is deeply ingrained psychological stuff. With several decades worth of study to back it up. (Along with countless billions in profits derived from exploiting that very human proclivity.)
To say that the European perspective is invalid because they didn't grow up here, would be like saying that Americans don't have valid perspectives on life in Europe or China, because we didn't grow up in any of those nations. Well, maybe we didn't, but we can have a perspective that is as valid as anyone else'. Doesn't make our perspective more "right" than anyone else', but I'd hardly say that our perspective on those nations is outright "wrong" just because we didn't grow up in them.
Of course they are! Propaganda is much less effective when you constantly see conflicting evidence with your own lying eyes.
There is a reason why trust in the mainstream media is at an all time low in the US.
Are you implying that Europeans can't see through propaganda? That, somehow, only Americans have this gift?
I’m saying reality is a hell of an antidote to propaganda.
I’m certain French people are far better at recognizing biased and misleading reporting concerning France than I am.
Is our perspective any more misguided or arrogant than the perspective of a European, or a Chinese person? Because if it is, then we can all stop complaining about Europe and China right? Because our perspectives are all just misguided arrogance.
Now I'm not saying that our perspective on foreign nations is necessarily "right" and "factual". I'm only saying that our perspective is certainly no more "wrong" than any other perspective. Perspectives are not objective realities, but they do become subjective realities for the people who hold them. (Read, "all of us".)
So here's the thing, whether or not those subjective realities are "misguided" or "arrogant" is not really a function of where the holder of the subjective reality grew up, it's a function of a lot of other factors unrelated to national origin. Everyone will have a perspective any given issue. Everyone may even have different perspectives on different issues, but whether or not one perspective is more valuable than another is usually not a function of things like citizenship. The relative value of different perspectives usually turns more on factors such as power and influence; sometimes on other factors like intelligence, and thoughtfulness. Outside of maybe power, rarely do these factors respect national borders.
If you want to discuss your perspectives on life with other people that's fine. (Actually I think it's admirable even.) There just shouldn't be the expectation that anyone else has to sit down and discuss their perspectives on life with you.
Other than that though, I think we're in agreement. Different people can have different perspectives that become subjective realities, but are usually not even close to being objective realities. People have the freedom to discuss, or ignore, other perspectives at their sole discretion. Thereby fulfilling the promise, and conveying to us the benefits, of freedom of thought.
There's some hope, though. As recently as 1994, only 10% of Americans had passports. But now that number is above 40%.  Part of that's due to to no longer having passport-free travel to our nearest neighbors since the 9/11-inspired security tightening. But I think part of it's real.
Of course, the reality turned out to be way different, but back then everyone had already sunk their costs. BTW, not everyone in the article is from the US, Blue Frog for one thing is most definitely Australian (who else puts beets on their burgers?).
It's because back then Han dynasty was just getting started after the fall of Qin dynasty. You gotta give them some time.
No, you will need to follow actual laws, as both France and Switzerland are very "rule of law" countries. This actually makes doing business there much easier, because the rules are clearly defined and the same for everyone.
In China, the rule book is ambiguous and anyways, enforcement is very selective (they will get you on something if they want to). A textbook example of a "rule by law" country.
> because the rules are clearly defined and the same for everyone.
The rules are the same for citizens and non-citizens? There is a reason why the Immigration lawyer AMAs on this site are so popular.
So? The rules are still there and applied fairly consistently. Whether or not the rules should be changed is what democracy is all about.
> The rules are the same for citizens and non-citizens? There is a reason why the Immigration lawyer AMAs on this site are so popular.
You mean the rules are different because non citizens need visas and citizens do not? I guess you got me there, but I’m not sure what your point is.
China does not have rule of law, full stop. They have a constitution that guarantees freedom of press, religion, and speech, and it is completely meaningless because they do not have rule of law. What this means is that Baidu can make most of its money on medical scams and porn while any foreign company would immediately be prosecuted for any small transgression. Whatever rules China makes up, its just for convenience, if they want to get you, they'll find something.
plenty of politicians love to tell everyone ad nauseam about someone who came to the US and "found the American Dream". America is the freest, most open society in the world. it's what makes us different from other countries. blah blah blah. you hear this kind of idealism all the time. some people would say it's a foundational, fundamental feature of America. (Others would not.)
does anyone say that in China?
Unfortunately that is not really true. But it’s certainly a good idea!
I am not complaining about any of this just pointing out that foreigners always need to play by the hosts' rules if they want to be welcome.
On the other hand, if you have a light complexion, you can easily get a well paying English tutoring job. It often pays higher than what an engineering grad would make!
But with enough money and power, you can convince yourself it's working on a temporary basis, until the market distortions make things suck enough, something has to break or change.
If you don't really internalize how the laws, politics, and policies of a country shape what is, and what is not possible, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed.
Don't forget culture.
Well, apart from the entire modern history of Chinese export-led growth.
Along with my credentials, I am now at a fulfilling C-level position.
I guess we’ll have to see if my luck lasts.
I was thinking more as a business.
I strongly disagree.
Since the Great Depression, farming is incredibly heavily subsidized in the United States. World-wide, but particularly in the US, agriculture is probably the most government-managed/subsidized/regulated industry you can think of.
And yet, over the past 85 years, despite the many economic ups and downs, changes in global demand for, and global prices of staples, US agriculture remains a resilient pillar of the economy. You can go to any grocery store, country-wide, and buy more cheap food then you can ever eat, despite wars, shipping problems, droughts, natural disasters, crop failures, and other calamities.
Now, all of this comes at a cost. It costs a lot of taxpayer dollars to ensure that cheap food is available for everyone. The alternative, of course, is an unresilient, market system, with fluctuating outputs, shortages, and price spikes.
These sorts of things tend to lead to bread riots, revolutions, and bourgies being strung up on lamp posts.
As a bourgie, I'd rather not risk seeing the price of bread triple.
No, I believe most gold-rush Westerners were actually looking to join up with established (or government-blessed) Chinese businesses and help them introduce their businesses back to the West and help there - such as marketing Huawei or Xiaomi to Americans for example, or working with government lobbyists on pro-China PR campaigns.
This story helped me recall an article I read in the FT about 10 years ago. A Germ an businessman set up shop in China and hired locals to help him run the business. After about six months, he came to work one day only to discover he was fully cleaned out. No cash anywhere, all the books and inventory gone.
His employees had figured out how his business worked, started their own business within his business, siphoned off the cash and profits and took him hook, line and sinker.
When the locals were asked why they did it, they said it was simple..."he was a foreigner, and he deserved it."
But I believe there's a mistranslation or misunderstanding about 'he was a foreigner, and he deserved it'. I perfectly understand this kind of things happens a lot in China, but it has nothing related to the concept of 'foreigner'. Chinese people are more likely to do the same to each other.
The word 'deserved' is obviously '该', which means, in this particular context, more like describing 'That is how things work, and he should not be so careless about other people' instead of being a foreigner is negative for local people or he should be punished by being a foreigner.
But which statement is true is that, where there is profit, there would be Chinese people doing it, despite if it's not ethical. There are a bunch of examples like gutter oil, gene edited babies etc.
As for the foreigner part, generally speaking, Chinese people are much, much more xenophile than xenophobia, at least to western people. Anyone has been to China can confirm this.
Most Chinese people would more gladly to lend a helping hand to a foreigner rather than other Chinese people because there is far less chance they would be scammed.
so much for possibility of integration into Chinese society as foreigner, no matter how good it's your Chinese or culture knowledge you will never be accepted
Have significant immigration to any other country and watch the tribalism rise up. America post 1990s has been the most welcome place for mass immigration in human history.
In regards to China, I think they are great with foreigners. Urban China is quite fantastic. Might get a few dirty stares if with a Chinese woman but all things considered that’s not bad at all. Hopefully soon it’ll get better over the coming decades.
And to add my own opinion, for the people that know you, you are considered one and the same. Yes people who don't know you will assume you are a foreigner due to your looks, but why do you think this is a Japanese and Chinese thing only?
Do you really think an asian man is seen as local in the first glance in Sweden or Ethiopia?
Not everywhere is America.
There are some studies done to demonstrate that such possible bias exists even in America -- eg, "Xenophobia in American Courts" KA Moore.
I noticed some oddities during the epic Samsung vs Apple trials years back. There were some lopsided procedural rulings against Samsung, a foreign business entity, that crippled their defense; when Samsung prevailed in ITC, Obama reversed Samsung's ITC win against Apple that would have banned import of iPhones (or would have forced Apple to settle with Samsung) on some nebulous "public interest" ground; and, finally, absurd infringements and equally silly huge monetary damage unseen elsewhere by American court jury and judge.
But who cares. Trump, like its predecessor Obama, ought to be able to do whatever necessary to protect successful domestic businesses against foreign competitors. I think we just need to stop thinking it's all about fairness.
China likewise should be able to do whatever it sees necessary to protect and promote their domestic economy.
That's a fairly odd interpretation; if there were multiple causes, none of which were sufficient without the others, one would still need to be mentioned first.
The operator tells stories of how the local workers did everything possible to skim, copy, and swindle; the money quote for me was something like, "If you want real honest-to-god free market capitalism, go to China."
Possibly a better quality copy out there in torrentland...
So this is just some random anecdote that has literally zero details in it? I don't know what I'm supposed to take away from this, can someone help?
And then the whole million muslim concentration camp. Chinese are pretty big on xenophobia. It's basically how the communist party is able to hold every thing together, the century of humiliation and us against the world mentality
Wonder if it's fair to blame the observant locals for what was most likely careless, condescending and delusional in foreigner's poorly thought-out business plan.
You're much more likely to hear negative comments about Uyghurs (terrorists), Tibetans (underdeveloped people who'll never make it at a university), South Koreans (obnoxious) and Japanese (the arch-enemy).
On the other hand, Westerners (whether black or white) are seen as exotic and high-status and their presence in China indicates how far the country has made it.
It's probably similar to European authors like Karl May (who'd never been to America) glorifying Native Americans as noble heroes, while Europeans who settled in America did their best to demonize and kill them. Simple tribalism: strangers from a distant land are exotic and no threat, but neighboring tribes that are only slightly different need to be shunned at all costs.
This is an oversimplification. Westerners are seen as exotic and high-status as individuals, but (Han, at least) Chinese also see China as a civilization as the "the Middle Kingdom" (between Heaven and the rest of the world) and that the West is currently dominant in global affairs is an unnatural occurrence that China is destined and entitled to rectify.
The two are quite contradictory if you reflect on it at all, but most people in any country (whether China, America, Europe, or elsewhere) really all that reflectful in general so we are where we are.
It's not impossible, but it does seem a bit unlikely that most Chinese people are holding a grudge about the Opium Wars, or that you would know what most Chinese think. Perhaps you meant to say you believe most Chinese shouldn't forgive or forget about the Opium Wars?
But the most common scenario (90% white US-born male) isn’t as weird?
Indians and chinese make up something like 5% of the US population so for them to take up 90% of a select group can really only be caused by favoritism. Unless you want to open up the can of worms that certain races are just so far genetically superior in terms of intelligence that they are 20x more represented
Do you think it's normal for tech companies located in India and China to have parts of their company that are 90% white?
Edit: you've been posting a lot of flamewar comments lately (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18620146), and we've already asked you not to. If you keep doing it, we're going to ban your account.
> a place where large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or to await mass execution.
The most famous usage was by Germans and is heavily associated with extermination, but the British just wish to deprive the Boer’s of support and to put pressure on them into surrendering. Hence the term “concentration” rather than “extermination”. Many Boers did wind up dying due to inadequate sanitation and food, but the point wasn’t to kill them.
Whether the camps in Xinjiang are concentration camps or not remains to be seen. Definitely some of the awful work camps in China in the 70s met the threshold.
"a guarded prison camp in which nonmilitary prisoners are held, esp one of those in Nazi Germany in which millions were exterminated"
"A place for assembling and confining political prisoners and enemies of a nation. Concentration camps are particularly associated with the rule of the Nazis in Germany, who used them to confine millions of Jews (see also Jews) as a group to be purged from the German nation. Communists, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other persons considered undesirable according to Nazi principles, or who opposed the government, were also placed in concentration camps and eventually executed in large groups. ( See Holocaust.)"
The debate on the word is also well known, from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment:
> As a result, some[who?] say that today the term "concentration camp" may be conflated with the concept of "extermination camp" and historians debate whether the term "concentration camp" or "internment camp" should be used in order to describe other examples of civilian internment, such as the United States government's internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Australian government's immigrant detention facilities, and South Korea's detention camps for "undesirables" in the 1970s and 1980s.
Yes they are.
> The word concentration camp has a specific connotation with the extermination camps build to eliminate (aka kill) Jews and other undesirable under Nazi Germany.
Those are the most well-known concentration camps to many people today, but the term is older, going back to Spanish practice in Cuba in the Ten Years War and popularized for British camps in the Boer War.
Extermination camps are a distinct subcategory of concentration camp, and have a unique name specifically because their nature is not fully captured by “concentration camp” (which in their case was—somewhat amazingly for a title that even before that was typically associated with things that by modern standards would be grave human rights abuses—was actually a consciously used as a deceptive euphemism.)
> To conflate the two here like many people conflate Japanese internment camps with “concentration camps” is so off the scale it borders on misleading.
“internment camp” is a synonym for “concentration camp” and those operated by the US for the Japanese were exactly concentration camps in the usual sense of the word.
Yes America, Australia, the UK, etc are all running a great experiment to see if multiculturalism can work.
The rest of the world might follow if multiculturalism ever ends up working.
And if you think this policy isn't racist, then you haven't heard of the "Mexican Repatriation" in the 30's. And then when after WW2, Mexicans who were promised citizenship were again denied.
Or we can look at this:
Our prison system, man.
And of course, you can say this is whataboutism, but you asked for a contrast and compare. The US is horrid when it comes to race.
Irony is dead.
Applying American conceptions of racism to Asia is ignorant, full stop.
Then we have the almost comical lack of quality assurance, and understanding of what quality means and is.
Most of our significant efforts to set up a production line for computer hardware in Shenzhen failed.
It didn't kill us, maybe some innovation and extra focus on our product and quality came out of it.
It was, however, the fortune 500 client lawyers who saw to it that we met our demise (we were a "2 big clients shop").
 http://bergesolutions.com Eulogy: Now defunct. Had massively big clients. Too big for us to handle. Shipped about 5000 units and we filed several patents.
That said, one of the adaptations of this little fantasy that I have had, and wonder about how feasible it could be is;
What if there were a group effort with a communal goal of accomplishing X in China...
An informal start-up-market type model where you have agents in some silo categories, but all working together.
Lets assume that the silos are "Design/Eng | Finance | ops | mfr-execution | sales"
So you have local US agents who collab on a design of a thing - you have backers (can overlap), and ops facilitators who focus on where when how it will be sold -- and then you have mfr-execution agents who actually go to shenzen and get the deal done and made... finally a sales org.
Kinda like a communal quirky?
Imagine if you went to a flea market, but instead of comic books, hot dogs and used sofas ... you found all sorts of cheap, exotic component parts. Anything. Everything. For 10's of cents each.
I'm close with a team making a product, and there are a few 'custom-ish' things they need, like a tiny microcontroller with camera that does some very basic processing as a sub-module. In America - that's a big deal. Hire a team, get some researchers to consult, do some iterations yada yada.
In China some guy in a ratty, dirty, poor little corner shop has it! For like 40 cents in units of ONE!
There's a massive 'secondary industry' of people making 'not rocket science but not trivial' gadgetry very fast, and on the cheap that is not going to be duplicated anywhere.
Add in the tons and tons of cheap labour, with few labour laws.
Add in the 10 hours 7 day crazy work weeks.
No - Shenzen will not be duplicated.
That said - it may be possible to expand the Valley in a more 'automated' 'high end' way.
For example: 3D printers that are more amenable to 'short production runs' instead of just prototypes. Low cost / fast turnaround injection moulding. Quick turn around on smaller components.
This might make it better for American firms doing quality high tech to churn out faster prototypes, first production runs, and later automated large runs.
Doing this would take some champion leaders, maybe Cisco, or Google or a few others setting up shop, proving the way for others to follow.
In theory things like 3D printers, pick & place machines, and better CNC millers all controlled by software could help with that, but interest in hardware hacking in the Bay Area has gone down and a lot of the professional electronics manufacturing moved to China.
Isn't this something that Elon Musk is working on? I think I read somewhere that one of the reasons his car factory was so expensive to build is because the robots have the capability to do more than just one thing.
Yes this, is what I failed to mention.
Sounds like how Silicon Valley used to be...
> Add in the 10 hours 7 day crazy work weeks.
These advantages seem like they'll expire as China becomes more competitive economically.
> Imagine if you went to a flea market, but instead of comic books, hot dogs and used sofas ... you found all sorts of cheap, exotic component parts. Anything. Everything. For 10's of cents each.
How many types of sensors / components etc. are even conceivable, no matter how exotic? It seems like someone could replicate that in the US with a warehouse and sourcing. These things are extremely cheap in general; it's not like trying to replicate the VCs of Silicon Valley elsewhere.
> For example: 3D printers that are more amenable to 'short production runs' instead of just prototypes. Low cost / fast turnaround injection moulding. Quick turn around on smaller components. ... Doing this would take some champion leaders, maybe Cisco, or Google
This seems like a great idea; pair some small fabs with a big ol' warehouse stocked with every random component / sensor under the sun, and it seems like it would work out totally fine.
There are an infinite number of module combinations. They all vary in cost, quality, precision, speed, size, materials, performance, suitability for manufacture, and subtly in whatever it is they do.
A commenter above mentioned the vast number of professionals with a ton of know-how in this area, making the 'time to tweak' or 'from nothing to module' and also 'optimized for manufacture' very rapid. There's nothing remotely like it anywhere.
This already exists in the North American market, I.E. Protolabs
Protolabs is nothing special really.
The tech everyone uses for 3D printing, for quick turnaround injection moulding ... it's mostly the same old stuff.
3D printing is only good for a few units, unless what your making is very small and very expensive.
Custom moulding is still a big leap - and if there are any iterations (and there will be) it's not cheap.
And all of the 'fine' stuff is still done by hand.
So I see 3 roadblocks:
1) Rapid iteration and availability of component parts
2) True cheap way to get from 10 to 20000 units i.e. before true mass production
3) 'programmable robot hands' i.e. a very easy to program robot arm/hands that is nimble enough to fold and cut fabric, assemble arbitrary things, wipe/clean surfaces.
Here's an example, although perhaps a little big: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDUn3CoVmuc
Looks quite saleable to me. Maybe sand blasting would improve the finish.
The real plus China having Taobao.. like eBay, but with every imaginable component you could need, and five different Chinese clones of it at 20% of the original component cost, all available at wholesale prices, in quantities of 1 or 100,000. The Shenzhen markets are still active, but shrinking.. you can usually find more variety, faster, cheaper, online. You can hand your BOM over to an agent on Taobao, and he'll get the parts together for you and ship them over.. it might cost 1/4 of the price of Digikey.
Off the shelf electronics are good for some things ... not so much for others.
Glad to see someone trying it!
I also found that they aren't all that amenable to finding the most efficient route using stock material. E.g., on one job, I just wanted a stamped or laser-cut hole pattern in stock aluminum, so I specified the stock thickness in that field and commented in the notes what I was seeking. I got back a quote for basically CNC milling the exact part out of billet. Lovely, but completely unnecessary, and it didn't improve chatting with the rep. I would up fabricating the parts out of carbon fiber and CNC cutting the shapes/holes myself (all in-house).
So, yes, I'd say that the Shenzen flea-market mentioned above could be really cool, is definitely not here yet, and is sadly unlikely...
(Edit: typo, dropped words)
Really though I think fast shipping will suffice for most people. Once we get delivery down to under an hour, in city, with reasonable component prices, we should be able to source what we need easily enough. I'm imagining something like jimmyjohns meets sparkfun (and now I'm drooling).
Fucking packaging kills "hobby" interests.
Radio shack became "random aisle from fry's electronics" pretty easily. Fry's is complicit in the murder of radio shack -- but the fact that they individually began packaging everything and selling things as expensive individual components in blister/cardboard crap - rather than in a much more organic manner really limited the Hacker energy.
They attempted to bolt themselves to the "charging cable industry" -- (which deserves its own place in tech hell) -- and that failed.
They were then reduced to a charicature of themselves when they were selling 'MAKE::' kits...
I lament for the sould of what Radio Shack once could have been...
Things like Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, 3D printers, Linux, etc. arguably made a new generation of hardware hacking possible but those came later.
The way around this IMO was if they had added a in store pickup + some large regional warehouses. Free/Discounted next day shipping to the store of your choice or more to your house, could have really enabled hobbyists without costing the company much. In larger markets they could have even done some same day shipping to stores.
Later, as I get more advanced, yes, I can see the online vendors making more sense.
Nice documentary on Shenzhen if you want to learn more about its history, culture, and advantages:
In the U.S., you get this instead:
EDIT: Looks like the efficiency comes at a high price.
Welp, about 50 years of cheap, environmentally catastrophic manufacturing (lack of) regulations, a vast army of poor/slave-subsistence-level farmers who can CHEAPLY provide food - no IP laws, a mass ability to gather/import raw materials - hazardous working conditions, cancer, cancer, cancer - slaves, and a gumption of a population with a striving for life that is not nearly as lazy and entitled as anyone else on the planet.
Just a start...
OTOH, a nice fat tariff on things you want to manufacture, and suddenly manufacturing them at home starts to make strong economic sense. Of course as evidence suggests that you also need a large enough market to assure that your not just paying 100x as much to support some inefficient factory.
Worse, tariffs tend to work if your protecting an existing industry from dumping/etc, not so much if your trying to grow one.
Kenosha-Racine just did not have the number and kind of workers required for the original promises to hold water, and the subsequent revisions only got more ridiculous. For brainy, high-tech work, the only nearby choices are Madison and Chicago. It has always been hyperbole and lies, told to sway votes. The powers behind it didn't expect to lose their statewide offices this quickly, though, so I'm not sure if their plan for the Foxconn site is still viable.
The big shift occurred in 2007 in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics when China said "OK, enough foreigners" and tightened up the visa rules (which were admittedly extremely open). They never relaxed them again. This experienced reality perfectly conincides with the drop-off seen in the graphics in this article.
IMHO there are three parts to the story the article misses: (1) The impact of the 2007 changes has now passed and stats across the board have stabilized or are picking up again. (2) China's first tier cities are now extremely expensive, which is a massive disincentive for small-scale foreign investors. (3) That Blue Frog chain's food is both terrible and expensive.
Also there are have been many major macro changes in this time the article misses, like increased focus on anti-corruption, reforms toward digital tax, banking and governance systems, Belt and Road Initiative, cities now choking on cars, WeChat and mobile payment going from 0-100% penetration, omnipresent food delivery, etc.
It makes sense that US is one of the easiest place in the world to live in.
It's the truly extraordinary imbalance between the top ~100 million and the bottom 1.3 billion.
~200 million people living on $3 per day. And 800+ billionaires at the top. ~500 million people living on $10 per day or less, and two million millionaires at the top.
It's a proclaimed Communist nation with the greatest inequality the world has ever seen. It simultaneously has a large quantity of among the richest people and the poorest people on earth, a very strange arrangement. The surprising thing is that China hasn't been far more aggressive when it comes to welfare redistribution. They could easily implement wealth taxes if they desired.
But it is absolutely not surprising they are not doing wealth redistribution. That would actually make them a Communist nation
It's just like the United States. You've got a few hundred people who are billionaires, a bunch more millionaires, and then the rest of the "normal" upper, middle, and lower classes. Then add in a BILLION people who are living in poverty far below the lowest class.
Leases on buildings have gone up in price.
Regulations have been increased.
But labor is still very high quality.
After watching this video, I feel that high schools in the US and elsewhere would be better if they taught consumer electronics repair rather than shop class.
There's still a lot of empty space to put electronic factories in the US. There's just not a lot of skilled labor.
Yikes, I hope you're joking! The cost of manufacturing consumer electronics has gone down so much that it's virtually impossible to have a viable repair business in the US - perhaps high-end laptops, Apple products, and very straightforward, limited repairs like phone screen repair, but that's about it.
As another anecdotal data point, I volunteer in a thrift store, and by far the hardest donation to sell is electronics - most of the time we just trash/recycle it, even if it is in very good condition. People aren't willing to pay very much at all for tech that is even just a couple years old. Thus, if the average age of a piece of electronics needing repair is, say, 2 years, by that point the product will have probably depreciated most of its value. At that point the vast majority of people will just buy the latest and greatest.
I'm skeptical of this. When a sink is clogged, the toilet won't flush, or a light switch doesn't work, there are only a handful of potential causes, all of which are well known and can be remedied after watching a Youtube video. When electronics fail, there could be a million reasons why. Most people are better off buying a new device and getting a warranty on it.
Yes, but 990,000 of them would be capacitors. Check capacity and ESR, replace bad ones - done.
The cost is not on the component, but the knowledge to know which component to fix. That's not something that come cheap.
You know what's usually useful? A youtube video of disassembly, digging up a service manual with google's help; pretty much the same as a toilet, but generally far safer than trying to fix a light switch.
Once upon a time in the age before I dedicated my life to all things software repairing color tvs was one my sources of income. I respectfully disagree with your assertion, electronics can fail in very many different ways. All the way from 'rodent electrocuted in HV power supply' to passive component that never fails somehow in fact did fail.
Even something as mundane as a coil-over-a-resistor can fail if the conditions are right. And don't get me started on bad soldering connections, corroded connectors and a million other little details that can affect the functioning of a device to the point where the repairguy gets called.
This was before the days when oscilloscopes were portable, and unfortunately also before the days when I had a driving license. A typical house call would end up with a working TV or VCR and me learning yet another way in which things could fail.
Main tools: a couple of folders of schematics of the most commonly encountered models of TV/VCR (pick the right one before you leave, hope the user read the type plate correctly), a stack of matchboxes with passive components, some of the more common active components with enough spread that you could cover most cases, a soldering iron and a very large collection of parts scavenged from old TVs waiting for the opportunity to recycle them.
Consumer electronics are very reliable, if the product lives through the warranty period, it's likely to last for years. Which leaves a small window of opportunity to service expensive and relatively new, but out of warranty products, and many repairs will be impossible or prohibitively expensive. It's not like the old days where a few drawers of spare parts could fix most problems, now much of the functionality for most products is embedded in a control board that's not available as a replacement, you have to scavenge it from another product (and hope that the hardware rev is compatible with yours).
So yeah, you can fix some things with discrete components, but you're pretty much limited to expensive products - you likely can't fix a $49 blu-ray player at a price you can make a living from.
They'll never be able to compete with that one Uighur guy on the top floor of the Dinghao market in Zhongguancun. (this is how I got my Wii modded for 40 RMB, anyways)
China has, in the past, detained foreign executives accused of breaking local laws. There was this pharma case involving GSK in 2014 (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/02/business/international/ch...) which found the company engaged in fraud in the country. GSK paid up $.5B and had to reform some of its practices as a result.
What is troubling is when those rules are unevenly or unfairly enforced, are designed to give other businesses an unfair advantage, or are subject to additional requirements outside of the standard protocol. There's a good backgrounder on IP theft in China here (https://law.stanford.edu/2018/04/10/intellectual-property-ch...).
If you dig around it's not hard to find all kinds of horror stories involving "joint ventures" or unfair advantages given to domestic companies. I know someone whose relative was involved in a business dispute in China which resulted in that person being detained in a hotel without any charges filed at the behest of some local official. He couldn't leave the PRC until the dispute was settled to the satisfaction of the Chinese business partner.
And in every single case, after much pain, they realize that it just doesn't work like that.
worst was an org that had their hardware cloned and sold (right down to knock-off pcbs).
another, selling a hw + sw solution to a chinese client with 5000+ sites, initial phase was for 50 sites, with the client doing installation and first tier support. guess what. the project didn't go beyond the initial phase. but part of the requirements of the project was sharing of ip.
So this isn't exactly a new trend.
I remember thinking, geesh, this guy is at Harvard and MIT, he must know more than me.
I’m glad I never followed through with that.
Condoleeza Rice learned Russian in college because that's what made sense in her time, especially if you pursued foreign service work. As Sec of State in the 2000s, she probably never had to use it in any official capacity. Come 2016, and knowledge of Russia is important once again.
What did you think would happen going to a place that is super corrupt, has an authoritarian government, and steals IP blatantly?
"Look at this nice American, how he came to us and made big money!"
I wonder what they would think if they came across this story and the worst thing that happened in it was that an American had to sell his upscale burger restaurant and complain about how unwelcome he felt in China.
There's a lot more to say, but overall, the trip made me very optimistic about the future of the United States.
China's cost advantage is disappearing. A 1.5-hour boat ride with a bit of transportation on both ends was almost $100 (US), and that was after we'd haggled them down. At those prices, cost advantages aren't a slam-dunk, and the distance (both geographic and cultural) start to weigh more heavily.
Add in the trade difficulties, not just the tariffs but the "local partnership" requirements, ongoing government interference in the market, and lax attitude toward IP protection, and I don't think China is such a great deal anymore. I don't think Trump's dream of a huge US manufacturing industry will come to pass, but for high-skilled stuff, the case for staying in the US is stronger than ever, especially considering our great infrastructure, well-educated populace, and sustainable environmental practices.
In sum, I think China is currently at its best, while the US is at its worst. They're coming off a long cycle of growth, while the US is eating itself alive with budget deficits, partisan conflict, and labor strikes. But as with people, the true test is how something does when at its worst, not when everything is smooth sailing.
1, foreigners are less worshiped in China than before, giving them less advantage over locals, and in many cases a disadvantage if they have not forged strong connections
2, businesses founded on exploiting cheap labour and laissez-fair regulation are facing a hard time
3, market is maturing and the overall economy is slowing down, there are fewer untapped opportunities and existing businesses are facing increasing competition
Not to say that being a foreigner has no disadvantage, but if a Chinese entrepreneur fall into those categories, he/she will have a hard time succeeding too. In fact, if you ask Chinese entrepreneurs/business people today, chances are he/she will also tell you that it's getting harder to do business.
The book is: Mr China by Tim Clissold
So if you do not speak fluent Chinese, why are you supposed to be successful in China, especially when you are doing the things anybody could do?
There are a lot of foreigners working in US. But I do not think it is because they could speal better English, but because they have skills, especially engineering skills.
And yes, there are also foreigners working in China with specialized skills, but we don’t typically start companies there (I was one of the latter).
I wonder if their tune has changed.
China has done far more egregious transgression to be sanctioned for than Russia, but business/economic interests seem to outweigh that sort of action against China.
So, other than Chinagate you mean?
And then of course you over look all the chinese spying that's been going on the last two decades -- both corporate and government sponsored.
Let's be clear, China is not a good actor. And whitewashing history to make them seem otherwise is not being honest.
Then conveniently Bill Clinton goes on a blitz to get China into the WTO during his Presidency.
See (2017 article):
“The FBI uncovered evidence about the alleged plan, in part, through electronic intercepts. ... The plan, first discussed in early 1995, called for Chinese officials to channel more than $2 million into U.S. campaigns."
"This isn’t even ancient history. Last week a 17-year-old video surfaced from convicted Clinton fundraiser Johnny Chung in which he confessed to fronting for Chinese intelligence and worried about being bumped off."
By that metric the US is most egregious, so is hypocritical to sanction anyone
The US being a bad actor doesn't have any bearing on the the bad acting of China, which is being discussed here.
The discussion was on the faults of China vs Russia. Not on the USA. Election tampering was listed as something that China didn't do, so it is not even on the list of things we are trying to criticize China for.
Why, then, are alleged past American misdeeds coming up? We can focus on them in a different discussion about the USA. They neither explain nor excuse the economic and currency manipulations that China has been engaged in.
That was the initial claim.
The Russian government has a lot of Putin's ego in it, they make big splashy moves that look like 'exerting power' (ukraine, georgia, US elections). Meanwhile their economy is stagnating and regressing to resource extraction.
Why would the Chinese bother stoking tensions in America when we're already so good at it ourselves? "Never interfere with your enemy when he's making a mistake".
If you are in fact being serious, Google 'indian reservations'
There is no threat of punishment keeping them there. They are free to live their lives anywhere in the US the same as any other US citizen. They do, unfortunately, have a higher percentage of poor people than most demographics, but being poor is quite obviously better than being kidnapped and tortured.
No one is trying to defend the history of the united states (there was this whole slavery thing after all), just the current united states. A past wrong does not justify a current one.
Maybe you think you can do better. Let's say you had a chance to be Andrew Jackson in 1830, and you're facing an American Indian crisis in Georgia. You have two options. The first is to let history repeat itself with the Trail of Tears. The second is to let the settlers and natives duke it out. Ultimately, the settlers will win and Indians are drived out anyways, but thousands more are killed in the process. The two groups are too different to coexist peacefully, and you don't have the authority from stopping people from moving to Georgia. Which option do you choose? Either way, history would remember you as a terrible person.
So, if one isn't facing a certain ethical situation, they can't make judgements about the response? This seems like quite poor reasoning to me.
Besides, why can't one accept that two different actions committed by different nations are both wrong? I suspect you're assuming that the posters are from the US too, which isn't necessarily true.
Do you have any data to support this claim? Having just read Bill Browder's Red Notice I find that to be a questionable statement.
That sounds pretty terrible to me.
This is Kremlin paid propaganda from Andrei Nekrasov, a Russian film director who retweets RT and WikiLeaks.
Since Browder's become far too high profile for Putin to murder, the level of effort by Russian trolls to discredit him has been truly remarkable.
Germany and Assad must be in the same boat as well. The EU has a long history of trading with brutal regimes: is the EU now morally equivalent to the worst regimes on Earth? Germany and the UK were selling technology to the belligerents in the Iran-Iraq war, countries that used chemical weapons.
Trade with a country doesn’t imply endorsement of that country’s policies. If the US takes a stand and embargoes a country, much of the rest of the world gets mad and accuses the US of meddling, then when they don’t embargo, the US gets accused of supporting policies of a specific country.
There’s no way to win in the eyes of the world.