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China: the New Advanced Technology Research Hotbed 452

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the look-what-i-made dept.
securitas writes "The New York Times' Chris Buckley reports that China is the new hotbed of advanced technology research and development for hundreds of global technology companies. The list includes household names like Oracle (which 'opened a lab in Beijing to tailor its Linux operating software to suit its Asian customers'), Motorola, Siemens, IBM, Intel, General Electric, Nokia and others. Microsoft Research Asia hopes Google-surpassing technology comes from a group of '10 researchers ... working on new ways to drill deep into the Internet and select and organize the information found there.' Growth of the R&D sector in China is so rapid that 'within five years China could overtake Britain, Germany and Japan as a base for corporate research, leaving it second only to the United States.'"
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China: the New Advanced Technology Research Hotbed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:07PM (#10247508)
    Reg Free Link [nytimes.com]

    OK, now let's argue over whether or not Slashdot counts as a "Blog", and whether or not we should be using the New York Times Link Generator [blogspace.com] to create links so that people can RTFA!

    Yes, BugMeNot works too, but if you're going to provide an article to Slashdot, at least make it so everyone can read it without jumping through hoops...
    • Now if they did that where would all the newbies get their karma from?

      Seriously I'm registered for years, have never gotten any spam from this registration and if you don't want to register head over to google or wait for the reg free link which *will* appear within 10min.

      If a free painless registration is the price it takes for NYT to keep the niveau and the sheer amount of free stuff on their homepage I'm willing to pay it.

  • by Progman3K (515744) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:10PM (#10247541)
    China announces massive adoption of Linux.
    A short time later, China emerges as a research-leader...

    Of course you CAN do research with closed-source operating systems like Windows, but you have to wait until Microsoft ALLOWS you to.

    *chuckle*
    • by Stripe7 (571267) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:22PM (#10247675)
      China knows that it is way behind in technology, so it is establishiing technology enclaves where its people can learn and train up to catch up fast. This is opposed to the US where biotech is being squahed by the right wingers, and info tech is being restricted by the copyright holders and the US goverment. The US is also pushing all its high tech manufacturing industries offshore, China is offering really good terms for moving those industries into China. Project 20 years from now, all our weapons systems are dependent on hardware and software from China. Our millionaires will be running to China for longetivity treatments etc..
      • by asoap (740625) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:48PM (#10247952)
        You are obviously wrong here. If you had listened to Arnold at the Republican convention you would already know that this is not a possibility, because... well.. because the Governator said so! If you don't like then your just being an economic girlie man!!!!

        Personally, I agree with you, I just don't think Arnie will though.

        -Derek

      • Our millionaires will be running to China for longetivity treatments etc

        I don't have a problem with that, as long as they bring huge barrels of Wonton Soup back to the States with them.

      • biotech is being squahed by the right wingers

        If you're going to troll, at least get your facts straight:

        • Germany has banned the practice of embrionic stem cell research.
        • The EU has stringent controls concerning genetically modified foods.
        • Meanwhile, the US is simply refusing to fund embrionic stem cell research.

        But it gets better. The reason why embrionic stem cell research isn't being done in the US is because there's no future in it!

        • Today Parkinson's disease patients are being treated and c
        • But it gets better. The reason why embrionic stem cell research isn't being done in the US...
          But it is. In fact, you're paying for some of it (if you pay US taxes). The only caveat is that public money is restricted to research on certain lines of stem cells.
    • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:32PM (#10247784) Homepage
      China isn't only pushing for software research, though. The country has a huge drive being pushed for involving tech research of all kinds. Back when I worked at Rockwell-Collins, we sometimes read papers about the sort of radio and radar research being worked on in China... pretty impressive stuff, really. One that really stood out to me was a type of radar which broadcasts very broad-spectrum, relatively low-energy, "noise" of the same frequency distribution as background noise, and does a statistical analysis on received background noise to look for unnatural shifts in distrubtion that would represent a reflected signal.

      The country has been pushing heavily for all kinds of tech development; if you'll recall, the US and china had a rift a while ago over China trying to force hardware to release proprietary fabrication and design information if they wanted to have access to China's markets. China wants to take the US and Japan's places as the leading international tech powerhouses. It's probably a good strategy, too - they have a large, well educated (at least in urban areas) population. I think they can pull it off.

      And, as unpopular as this statement might be... I think their largely totalitarian government - so long as they don't infringe enough on their people so as to reduce their work ethic, their national pride, and the ability for businesses to compete with each other - will actually help them in competition with the US, due to the greater degree of strategic control they can have over their markets. The US would have a lot more trouble trying to do things like force foreign companies to disclose their tech secrets, apart from outright spying.
      • You miss the point; strategic control over markets exerted by who? Its easy to start playing catch up. Then, you have to figure out where to go. Following is easier than leading. Reacting is easier than acting. These planned economies leave out the free part of the market that leads and acts. Look at large companies in the US. They buy innovators. They rarely innovate themselves, they let others take that chance. Unfortunately, when you are trying to plan everything from the top, you will miss the economic
      • I can tell you why the US is the leader in technology and why China will never catch up. The US actively promotes immigration, especially the immigration of intelligent people. If you walk onto any University in the US, hell, any corporation in the US, you will find them awash with people who barely speak English, but speak math or whatever there profession is with great skill. The advantage the US has enjoyed in the world is because it culls the world for the greatest minds.

        Now, that is not to say that
      • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @07:55PM (#10251401) Homepage Journal
        And, as unpopular as this statement might be... I think their largely totalitarian government - so long as they don't infringe enough on their people so as to reduce their work ethic, their national pride, and the ability for businesses to compete with each other - will actually help them in competition with the US, due to the greater degree of strategic control they can have over their markets.

        No, you seem to have a VERY limited knowledge of Chinese history, both recent and ancient. Look up things like the cultural revolution and the great leap forward. There is control of markets in action! China has always managed to grow at an astounding pace to only fall into ruin, moreso than most other civilizations of the world. Things are going pretty well now, but that is way too small a timeline to say that China's government is so wonderful. China will hit a bust, and with their government, the bust will be as loud as the boom.
  • by Control Group (105494) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:10PM (#10247544) Homepage
    Interesting - it seems China is engaging in a sort of internal outsourcing, if that makes any sense. The pace of technological development in China was slower than they wanted, so they've farmed the job out to imported companies. Make the country more attractive to foreign investors (no, not the ones from the Hotel Royale), and take advantage of their experience and financial grounding to foster a tech development surge.

    What's most fascinating about this, to me at least, is that in Western countries, this would be just a sort of emergent phenomenon, unpredicted and unplanned. But in China, odds are good that this is a deliberate strategy on the part of the Chinese government.

    Which, incidentally, is something that a lot of people seem to overlook: China's economy is becoming more and more capitalistic, but China is still politically and socially very much a state-run nation. The increasing captilism is part of the government's plan to bring the Chinese economy to the forefront of the world, and I tend to believe that this surge in R&D is just as much a deliberate strategy on the part of the Chinese government.

    Frankly, I find the whole thing fascinating.

    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:14PM (#10247587) Homepage Journal
      It seems to me that the Chinese government made a tacit agreement with the Chinese people after Tiananmen Square: you keep your mouths shut about politics (and if you don't, we've got tanks to remind you) and we'll let you get rich. It would be nice to believe that economic freedom and social freedom are inextricably linked, but in fact China (and Vietnam, for that matter) are doing a pretty good job of allowing the first while keeping strict controls on the second. This is a trick the Right learned long ago, but now the Left is catching up.
      • I think it's more, "we don't mind you getting rich as long as we get even richer freom the fruits of your labor."
      • by smallpaul (65919) <paul@@@prescod...net> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:59PM (#10248091)
        How is a dictatorship that allows capitalistic enterprise "the Left"? The central idea of "the Left" is more equal distribution of income. China is becoming more and more unequal. That's why today's China appeals to neither the freedom-loving Right nor the equality-loving Left.
    • by uradu (10768)
      What all the newcomers will eventually find out is what the early "adopters" already have: that China is an industrial Black Widow. It wines and dines and flatters corporations it has interest in, gets them to commit major resources to China and thus into a vulnerable situation, and then it scavenges them to the highest degree possible for technical know-how and IP. It's happened with heavy technology companies, it's happened with electronics companies, it's happening with car manufacturers. And yet they ar
    • by demachina (71715) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:50PM (#10247974)
      I find the whole thing terrifying.

      Of course the Chinese government is behind and it is a plan. It the high tech version of what they've been doing to manufacturing for a few years now. Undercut manufacturing in the rest of the world especially through low labor costs, the rest of the world gives up and moves all their machine tools, manufacturing capibility and technology to China, the rest of the world becomes completely dependent on China for manufacturing and they can so start to jack up their prices because they no will soon have no competition worth mentioning.

      The end result is one giant American or European company after another is transfering the crown jewels of their intellectual property in to a country that has complete disdain for intellectual property rights and enforcement. Once its all transfered and Chinese nationals are the ones doing all the new development the foreign devil companies are going to be completely expendable and expended.

      Its a great strategy for catapulting yourself from a technology backwater where you are mostly reverse engineering and soldering to global technological dominion.

      The stupidity of American politicians and business leaders is truly amazing especially when they are blinded by greed.
      • Riiiight (Score:5, Insightful)

        by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:05PM (#10248148)
        The evil communist Chinese geniuses planned this going back to Mao and continuing with the Gang of Four and Deng and so on. Keep the masses low in power so labor costs are low so we can sucker the western world into outsourcing and thereby lowering themselves economically by raising us economically.

        Riiiight. You've sold me on that idea, sonny.

        I got offshored, and it's a bitch finding a job. I don't like it. But outsourcing and offshoring are a natural result of a free market, and if I believe in a free market when it comes to steel and cars, I'd be pretty hypocritical to suddenly stop when my own ox is being gored.

        Repeat: outsourcing and offshoring are natural parts of a free market.

        You know what I like best about having a global economy? It encourages cooperation and reduces the chances of war. The Chinese are learning that trade --> booming economy, and they like that. Sooner or later they will realize that huge primitive army is best converted to gainful employment.

        The US used to know this, until Shrub found a golden opportunity to finish Daddy's war and help his oil buddies. The US is now going to learn it again, just as Microsoft has taught the rest of the computer industry that playing with Microsoft doesn't involve a level playing field, and Microsoft finds it harder and harder to find partners. Coalitions of the willing require partners, not the old style teamwork where the leader cracks the whip and the team pulls harder.
        • Re:Riiiight (Score:3, Insightful)

          by demachina (71715)
          "planned this going back to Mao and continuing with the Gang of Four and Deng and so on"

          Actually no, it started after Mao and the Gang of Four died. Your rhetoric here is just stupid. Its became the plan of the current leadership when they deduced the obvious, they couldn't beat the west militarily or idealogically but they have the one thing needed to destroy the West economically, a huge underpaid, oppressed labor pool, versus the West where labor is expensive.

          "Repeat: outsourcing and offshoring are na
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:05PM (#10248155)
      > China's economy is becoming more and more capitalistic, but China is still politically and socially very much a state-run nation. The increasing captilism is part of the government's plan to bring the Chinese economy to the forefront of the world, and I tend to believe that this surge in R&D is just as much a deliberate strategy on the part of the Chinese government.

      And it cuts both ways: The West still has a political requirement to appear free and capitalistic, but is increasingly becoming more statist. The increasing statism is part of our governments' plans to consolidate power in the face of declining domestic R&D capabilities. (An undereducated population's easier to control, so why not outsource the R&D, and bring the profits back home, in the form of earnings to shareholders, and taxes on the profits and any income distributed to shareholders? Spend the taxes on making sure the non-shareholders have enough cash to buy the cheap goods you're making offshore, and everyone's happy!)

      As a fringe benefit, we get to beta-test the new surveillance and data-mining techniques on a population not subject to the few remaining privacy limits in the West, and to see how various methods of social control work against various groups of unreliable social elements.

      50 years ago, or even 20 years ago, that model wasn't viable; most states that tried it wound up collapsing under the weight of their own bureaucracies. East Germany was probably the worst example; there were so many people filing records for STASI that there was nobody left to design or build the new toys.

      > Frankly, I find the whole thing fascinating.

      Ditto. China seems to have achieved the social stability and unity of purpose normally associated with totalitarianism, without sacrificing the rising standards of living afforded by capitalism. It's actually a pretty cool model.

      (Which is a good thing, because it's the model we'll probably end up with whether we think it's cool or not :)

      • China seems to have achieved the social stability and unity of purpose normally associated with totalitarianism, without sacrificing the rising standards of living afforded by capitalism. It's actually a pretty cool model.

        Oh yeah, really cool [laogai.org].

        I still think Hong Kong had the best model, right before the ChiComs took over. Minimalist but competent government, simple 15% flat tax (complexity == corruption when it comes to laws), and at least near-American standard of living. Damned if I know how the syste
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:10PM (#10247549) Homepage Journal
    ... to lift technology export restrictions. Right now. All of them. (Okay, with the exception of classified military research -- but we should also take a hard look at what's classified, and why, and whether keeping it classified does any good.) Once upon a time, when the US and its European allies were the only source for high tech, this policy made a certain amount of sense on national security grounds. But now, the restrictions only serve to weaken national security, by hurting the technology base in the US -- or are simply annoyances to be worked around by companies like Microsoft and Oracle, which are theoretically US companies but are in fact loyal only to themselves.
  • The irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:11PM (#10247550)
    The irony of the "google beating search" is that it's being done in a country that heavily censors the internet. I wonder what they might use a powerful search engine for...?
    • Re:The irony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by teal (4252) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:17PM (#10247629)
      That was exactly my thought. Why would they want a better search engine since they would be censoring a lot of it anyways. Maybe the idea is by building a better search engine they can do better censorship.
      • Re:The irony (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:21PM (#10247662) Homepage Journal
        I suspect that Microsoft's definition of "better" in search engine terms looks a lot more like the Chinese government's than Google's does. Just a thought ...
      • Why would they want a better search engine since they would be censoring a lot of it anyways.

        You know there are vast quantities of information on the Internet that the Chinese government considers benign. Vast shopping malls. Massive physics and computer science knowledge repositories. Fan sites. etc.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's pretty obvious what a censoring, Big Brother state wants do with an extremely powersul search engine:

      In Communist China, the search engine looks for YOU!
    • More likely the Chinese government will be gradually wedged open by all the research requirements. A few exceptions here and there for foreign companies to conduct proper research and development. A few domestic partners let in on the uncensored web. A few party hacks wanting uncensored access. Pretty soon it will be the norm.
  • by Trigun (685027) <evilNO@SPAMevilempire.ath.cx> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:11PM (#10247558)
    "within five years China could overtake Britain, Germany and Japan as a base for corporate research, leaving it second only to the United States."

    And within ten? Maybe we can do their tech support for them. Outsourcing's a bitch, but it works both ways.
    • More likely, they'll be "outsourcing" to those areas of China which, right now, are effectively still living in the Middle Ages. Coastal China is now very nearly First World, but they've got a lot of Second and Third World inside the country to work with. And they're patient.
      • Re:Within 5 years? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Trigun (685027) <evilNO@SPAMevilempire.ath.cx> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:27PM (#10247739)
        Not only are they patient, they are controlling resources. They do not have destructive competition as we do here. If competition is good for the economy, they keep it. If it is bad, they simply repurpose a company. There is no redoubling of effort for no perceived gain.

        As an additional caveat, they get to completely skip the industrial revolution, but get all the benefits. They didn't have to invent and refine the assembly line, the cotton gin, the milling machine, anything that would increase production. They simply bought them. And when they couldn't buy them, they threw their biggest natural resource at the problem; their population.

        It's socialist capitalization, and unfortunately for us, it's quite effective!
        • Re:Within 5 years? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ThosLives (686517)
          It's an odd thing that most "good capitalists" forget: cooperation is actually better than competition. The trouble is, generally it is only competition that drives people to cooperate...go figure, eh?

          And, when you're China and can manage to get your billion-plus population to cooperate...you pretty much don't have anone that can effectively compete against you. It is really quite genious houw they worked that out, even considering the social hardships that we consider them to have (for who are we to tell

        • >There is no redoubling of effort for no perceived gain.

          Oh, well, it's not all that great. They wouldn't be that way if it all worked perfectly as you say.
          Many state-run businesses are the worst effort doublers (at least in the financial sense - they pour money in them) for continued negative gain (losses, that is) because they employ "the masses".
          Another category of effort doublers are small family owned businesses - they have nowhere to go - you just put in as many hours as you can, tighten your belt,
    • Re:Within 5 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gears5665 (699068) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:22PM (#10247681)
      do you speak or read chinese?
  • Microsoft Research Asia hopes Google-surpassing technology comes from a group of '10 researchers ... working on new ways to drill deep into the Internet and select and organize the information found there.

    ...have no business hiding deep inside the Intarweb's bowels. They think they can look all doe-eyed and innocent and get away, but it won't work. I, for one, welcome Microsoft's earnest efforts in trying to drill them out.

  • by johnnyb (4816)
    So are you treated better or worse over there as a research assistent than over here in the USA?
    • by 7-Vodka (195504)
      oh dude. By my reckoning they are treated horribly over there.

      We have this one chinese lady working as a research assistant here. Every time she's doing minor experiments she freaks OUT like we're gonna beat her if she does something wrong or the test is invalid.

      Seriously they must send researchers who make little mistakes in for electricution torture or something down there.

  • Bad news for US (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CommanderData (782739) * <kevinhi@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:13PM (#10247576)
    Growth of the R&D sector in China is so rapid that 'within five years China could overtake Britain, Germany and Japan as a base for corporate research, leaving it second only to the United States.'

    Great, and within 10 years they'll probably surpass the USA. That is the direction everything's heading- outsourcing the skilled, high tech, and R&D work is going to hollow out the US economy until it collapses in on itself like a neutron star...
    • by gosand (234100) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:49PM (#10247964)
      Great, and within 10 years they'll probably surpass the USA. That is the direction everything's heading- outsourcing the skilled, high tech, and R&D work is going to hollow out the US economy until it collapses in on itself like a neutron star...

      And maybe then, people in the US will FINALLY realize that the US is not the center of the universe.

      And yes, I am a born-and-raised American. I am just so friggin sick of this idea that the USA is the greatest country in the world and that it always will be. It isn't a big surprise that the "rest of the world" will catch up to and probably surpass us in lots of things. Think automobile production in the 70s. Think electronics. Think military. We are so used to being bullies and living in our own minds that we have forgotten the rest of the world. How many times have you heard something like: "France doesn't like our politics? Screw 'em, who needs the French anyway?" I have heard it way too much. The US is probably the least worldly nation on the planet. (that should be)

      Not to start a flamewar, but this is what the Bush administration has been basing its entire existence on! And it hasn't just been Bush, it has been our entire government over the last XXX years.

      Unfortunately, it will probably take something catastrophic like a shift in the tech sector, or even worse some military shift to wake people up in this country.

      • by Vancorps (746090) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @03:01PM (#10248777)
        You can't possibly be serious. First of all, the reason the U.S. grew up so fast was because we cooperated, we put protections in place and built off of them. Now for France, what was D-Day all about? The reason the U.S. has always been a technological super power is because everyone from all those other countries immigrated here and contribute both to our culture and the technology base. We have all the same advantages of people from other countries because we have those very same people.

        No the U.S. is not the center of the universe but we are certainly the center of the population that inhabits this earth. Our diversity is our strength and you dramatically and astoundingly underestimate it.

        Also, where do you get off saying the country always bullies everyone? Last I checked we waited until Pearl Harbor to get involved with WW2. Yes there are examples that support your conclusion but the fact that in the average American donates more to charity than the average citizen of any other country.

        Also, by definition the United States is worldly. Our citizens come from every country on this earth.

        • Ouch, should have ready that before submitting.

          I was stating that the fact that the average american donates more money than the average citizen of any other country suggests that we are inherently not bullies. It has been this way since the 50's and continues to be the trend.

          You might notice all of my references are dated in WW2 because the current Bush administration is indeed what I would call a bully.
      • What is happening is China is growing strong off of us. It's like a parasite, its sapping our current power to feed its own. The big shift your thinking about? That will be the end, when China no longer needs us and drops us like a hot potato. Just look at the currencies - if the chinese ever decide to stop tying their currency to the dollar and instead decides to fly on their own, our currency will plummet and theirs will skyrocket. They are in a much better economic position than we are. Much better and i
    • This is the same thing that was said in the 80's about Japan. The US spent too much on the cold war, all manufacturing jobs have gone away, and Japan is going to take over economic and technical leadership of the world. IIRC Japan has been in a recession for the past 10 years
      I think China certainly has the ability to take over economic and technical leadership. Large, well educated population and natural resources. It will require good management of the economy by the country's leadership. Explosive gr
  • by tyler_larson (558763) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:13PM (#10247578) Homepage
    ...Google-surpassing technology comes from a group of '10 researchers ... working on new ways to drill deep into the Internet and select and organize the information found there.'

    Sorry to say it, but I really don't find anything dissatisfying about the way Google selects and organizes information found on the Internet. Rarely do I ever even look at the second page of search results, because the first one always has the information I was after.

    If Microsoft wants to beat Google, they're going to have to pick a different venue.

  • Drill down? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:14PM (#10247597) Homepage Journal
    Is the announcement trying to be buzzword compliant?
  • by tealover (187148) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:14PM (#10247601)
    Many people make fun of Nixon, but his Sunshine Policy with regard to China has really helped China and the world. Can you imagine China as closed and belligerent as North Korea ?

    And the other thing is competition is good for everyone.
    • Many people make fun of Nixon, but his Sunshine Policy with regard to China has really helped China and the world. Can you imagine China as closed and belligerent as North Korea ?

      Yes- because I've dealt with Chinese businesmen. Of course, I find all businesspeople to be closed and belligerent- so that shuldn't be surprising.

      And the other thing is competition is good for everyone.

      Everyone excpe the guy who used to be on top- who is now homeless due to competition.
    • So.. who's going to apply this "sunshine" policy to Cuba and DPRK ?
    • Do you know how many of the countries that germany, in WW2, attacked/invaded had major economic ties with germany? Most of them.

      It has happend before, and it will happen again.
  • by YetAnotherName (168064) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:15PM (#10247616) Homepage
    Western languages like English use alphabetical glyphs which are combined to form words, which can recursively combine to form acronyms and abbreviations.

    By in China, Mandarin, Cantonese and other dialects are all written using ideographs, where one glyph represents a single word. As a result, it is impossible to form acronyms. And as a result, technological progress is impossible.

    Now, where's my company acronym dictionary again?
  • Figures. (Score:5, Informative)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john.oyler@NOspAM.comcast.net> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:15PM (#10247617) Journal
    In other words, they don't want to have to pay american or european researchers fat salaries.
  • by Duncan3 (10537) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:20PM (#10247652) Homepage
    All money flows as fast as possible to where it can grow the fastest.

    Think you can double you money fast in US stocks? Fat chance. But in China companies are growing like crazy.

    The US has peaked because everyone is already consuming at 110%, about set for a complete economic meltdown. China has a billion poor people, just waiting to spend all their money on stuff, and they don't speak English. *gasp*

    That and a PhD researcher will cost you like $US 200/month.
    • China has a billion poor people, just waiting to spend all their money on stuff.

      What does that even mean?

    • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:42PM (#10247881) Journal
      First, most of the poor in china don't have enough money to by more than 3 suits of clothes.

      Second, the Banking system in china is flush with bad loans and, if something isn't done, it will colapse. Either way, it will be very painful to fix.

      Third, china is in the beginings of a major energy crisis.

      Forth, what do you think will happen when all those poor peole realize that their 'leaders' are reaping all the profits?

      Fifth, what happens to those stock holdings if China ever nationalizes our investements?

      The world isn't a nice place, and neither is China. They do not like the US or Europe that much as, as soon as they can, they will rid themselves of us.
      • by hackus (159037)
        Very Interesting.

        You raised some good points.

        Also, if you look at how China is investing that money, they are propping up US securities as well.

        That makes me wonder, if China fails to buy US government securities, because of a banking collapse, what will that do to the value of our dollar with a record 384 Billion deficit?

        Not a pretty thought.

        -Hack
  • by FerretFrottage (714136) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:20PM (#10247656)
    Considering that companies (MS, IBM, et al.) are patent whoring (whether be defensive or strategic in nature) in the US and reverse engineering is now considered to be a crime in most cases, it is stifling innovation. The US is now a sue-society where money talks and lesser companies/individuals are being held back my the corporate oligarchy.

    Add to that the "bad stigma" associated with stem cell research here in the US...it's no surprise to me that the R&D in the US is declining and increasing in the world where people are less shackled by legal systems/lobbyist (now shackled human rights saved for another discussion)
  • by tod_miller (792541) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:21PM (#10247664) Journal
    China Tech News [chinatechnews.com] has great articles about the hotbed of activity there.

    And Kylin [chinatechnews.com] is supposed to be a windows, linux, unix and *BSD and MacOS beater ! Interesting stuff!

    After the 2008 Olympics people will wake up to a reality, how advanced China is! I think it is great! Lets hope China becomes a huge adopter of linux! :-)

    How many Chinese /. do we have? To keep up, I suggest we all Learn chinese characters! [zhongwen.com]

    Looking forward to 2008. See you there!
  • Raise Your Hand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:24PM (#10247694) Homepage Journal
    Raise your hand if you were surprised by this. Really.

    Over a decade back China placed great emphasis on education in technology, now with a large pool of talent to draw from the country is in a great position to harness it's own technology future, as well as that of other countries.

    Meanwhile in the US, students care about being cool, having the latest toys and what others think. Only nerds actually study.

    Perhaps chinese youth will catch up to the slovenly and egocentric ways of the west. Some chinese diplomat, back in the 1800's said something to the effect of 'China already has everything and needs nothing, what can Europe offer to China?' Well, the answer was Opium. Maybe the next opium craze in china will be western fashion, television and SUV's.

    • Re:Raise Your Hand (Score:3, Interesting)

      by currivan (654314)
      One question I've never seen an answer to: Why is China attracting so much more foreign investment than India? To an outsider, they both seem to put the same premium on science and engineering, and they both seem to have large pools of cheaper labor. Yet China has several times the dollar amount of foreign direct investment.

      Could it be because India is a democracy and at least partially looks after its rural communities and environment, whereas the autocratic Chinese government can promise businesses pr
      • No one has been able to say with any certainty as to why, but this Google search [google.com] for China and FDI (Foreign Direct investment) should be interesting.

        DISCLAIMER: I am currently taking and Internation al Trade class right now and my professor is from China, so I've just recently starting keeping up with this stuff.
  • ...is if China views this tremendous opportunity for cooperation and collaboration as a chance to exercise "techno-nationalism". Recall recent technological initiatives by China, such as the E-DVD format, that have been criticized as efforts to strongarm international community to adopt China's own technological standards - standards which even its own manufacturers have trouble meeting and even denounce as unworkable. While other efforts have been more subtle (think "Red Flag Linux"), one can't help but
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:35PM (#10247820) Homepage Journal
    After a few big companies get burned by having their IP stolen by the Chinese, I suspect that the lure of cheap, highly educated labor will wane.
  • So what (Score:3, Funny)

    by Frequanaut (135988) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:43PM (#10247894)
    We've got FASHION WEEK [bostonherald.com] here in the good old U.S OF FREAKING A!!!!!

    Let's see THAT in China!

  • by ahfoo (223186) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:44PM (#10247910) Journal
    I'm not a pessimist about technology, but I'm disappointed in what has passed for technology since, say the 1960s. As they say --where's the flying cars damnit? It was supposed to be like radio, black and white TV, color TV, high speed Internet, holographic immersion, direct neural interface and beyond already. It's 2004! What happened? It's practically the same as the seventies.
    You know, when the iMac counts as a technological breakthrough things are slow. No offense to the Mac lovers, but it was more of a design breaktrhough than anything. That's just one of many examples of that same thing where it's a new style as opposed to a radically new technology. Cars get this treatment all the time. The differnce between the new model and the old model is the freakin' plastic brake light reflectors. That's not an advance. That sucks.
    The Internet itself is another example. Just because a series of factors made it seem to emerge suddenly, it isn't really the case that it happened suddenly at all. Mostly it was just a matter of merging rather dated defence research into the private sector. Same with a lot of chip designs. It's not really all that amazing or recent. It just took a long time to make it your way.
    And as for CMOS process tecnologies and the whole Moore's Law thing. Give me a break, that was not and is not really about pusing the edge of technology as much as it was about markets being controlled by only a few players being able to afford to compete.
    Immersion lithography which is part of what is making China so hot was experimented with decades ago and abandoned because it didn't fit the business plans of the likes of Intel or IBM at the time.
    So, when I see this stuff about China being the new "technology research hotbed" it doesn't strike me as being all that meaningful. It's the new manufacturing center for chips. So what.
    I mean besides CMOS chip technology which is already very, very mature its hard to point to real major technology that has been developed in the last forty years with any serious economic significance. Okay lasers, though for the most part just the small ones, have improved a lot and small motors are more reliable. Anything outside of IT though? Even MEMS is still mostly about IT. There's promises about ultra efficient fuel cells and nanotubes and such but there were promises forty years ago as well. They even had better promises back then. We're still building houses out of wooden sticks for crying out loud.

    Technology outside of IT moves unbelievably slowly.
    So, if China is where the chips are going to be made then naturally you'll have a lot of designers there making consumer products, but is that really a technology research hotbed? I'd call it more like a designer extravaganza.
    I do hope it could be otherwise, but I don't know. Something tells me we're still going to have internal combustion autos a hundred years from now.
    However, like I said, I'm not a pessimist. I think the revenge we will get is that we'll live incredibly long lives so we will eventually see the flying cars, space elevators and what-not. We'll just have to be very patient. All I expect out of China is cheaper PCs. As if they weren't cheap already.
    • by kylector (650096) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:35PM (#10248488)
      You make some good points. Where are the flying cars predicted 30-40 years ago? With the "pace of technology" they really should be here. At the very least, super fuel efficient automobiles should be here. What's holding them back? Ah, dare I say it, I feel like such a conspiracy-theorist when I do...

      My purposed reason is because of corporate America. The bottom line is about money, not about furthering technology or civilization. The international oil industry would be significantly smaller right now if we had super fuel efficient cars. They knew/know this, so they're doing (and did) everything in their power (which is a lot) to slow down that pace. Case in point: When you're in Chicago or NYC, what is the best way to get around? The L/subway. Everyone knows this. It's cheap and very quick and easy for navigating large cities. So why aren't those sorts of mass transit options available in cities across the country? Because of lobbyists funded by the oil/car industry, lest they lose market share. Lest people realize that mass-transit really does work and even more cities adopt it! One could argue that they're simply not feasible in cities that are more "spread out" or don't have the same sort of downtown, but I would argue that the city planners early on designed it all that way from the start. Most cities were designed to be traversed by cars, not mass-transit. I'm sure that this was often on purpose because they really did think cars were better, and sometimes it was on purpose because the oil/auto industry had funded/bribed them and it was part of the "agenda".

      Is that far fetched? Perhaps. But I think it can't be underestimated. There is big money in oil and auto, but not really in mass-transit. In fact, mass-transit tends to be a public entity that doesn't exist to make a huge profit, only to pay for maintenance, operations, and expansion. If no one can get rich off it, no one wants to pursue it. The same reason that most people stay out of science and research fields: you can't get rich from it! And that's what most people care about. And by "most people" I don't mean Americans, I mean people around the world. Everyone. Everyone wants to be rich and live the high-life. That goal used to be directly linked with bettering society, but now we see society as "sufficient" and don't care to better it, only to get rich and enjoy it now.

      This post isn't meant to be an "America/humanity sucks because they're greedy bastards", it's simply meant to purpose a theory as to the change in the pace of technological development. It's not even meant to be a "corporate America" bashing post, because corporate America is made of people like you and me who got to the top. Somewhere along the line some of them, not all, changed from being idealists who wanted to further society to only wanting what's best for their pocket book.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:46PM (#10247927)
    The "one child policy" coupled with the practice of killing females newborns and fetuses has created a scarcity of women to distract the males. With no women to be chasing, there's nothing to do but work.
  • He speaks of China in there somewhere. Do a search but if you want read the whole thing. It's really interesting. http://www.operatingthetan.com/metameme.txt
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:54PM (#10248009)
    This is going to be interesting to watch. The US has been de-emphasizing education for so long that I don't think we could catch up to a rapid growth spurt like this without serious intervention. I don't blame companies for reasoning that China probably has 100 times the well-trained engineers/scientists who will work for less.

    One of the major problems is that we don't have enough people who are willing to pursue basic research, or who are intellectually up to the task. Someone has to step up and explain to students that science and engineering aren't dead end career paths! Not everyone can be a lawyer or investment banker, and almost no one can be a rock star or sports hero. Unfortunately for us, China still has central planning, and can dump everything into a project that it can (see the Great Leap Forward for an example.) Communist countries are well-known for forced industrialization efforts. The government could let the peasants starve for a few years and become the number one science power on the planet if they wanted to.

  • Comparative stats (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bitswapper (805265) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:54PM (#10248012)
    China .vs. US
    GDP $6.449T .vs. $10.98T
    GDP Growth 9.1% .vs. 3.1%
    Inflation 1.2% .vs. 2.1%
    PerCap Income $5000 .vs. $37,500
    Phones (LL) 214M .vs. 186M
    CellPhones 240M .vs. 140M
    Internet Users 59M .vs. 159M
    Internet Hosts 156,53 .vs. 115,311,958
    TV Stations 3240 .vs. 1500+
    Population 1.2B .vs. 2.9M
    Pop. Growth .57% .vs. .92%


    Interesting numbers (from another post I saw here). Maybe the most telling is how the average person makes $5000 (US Equiv), but how many more cellphone there are. Does this mean there is a higher willingness to adopt new technology in China? Or do they just like cellphones more than 'we' do? Maybe they don't have to put up with Sprint....
    • Re:Comparative stats (Score:3, Informative)

      by servognome (738846)
      It's more a reflection of poor land line infrastructure. Many "poor" countries have high use of cell phones because it's the only way the people can get service.
      Pop. Growth .57% .vs. .92%
      How are we ever going to catch up with such a low rate of population growth. I volunteer to do my part in helping improve our numbers, /. hotties contact me. :)
    • I'm thinking it's the lower quality landlines couples with the fact that therey's 1.2B of them. The US would probably have a more cell phones if it had more people.
    • Relative percentages, China vs. US

      Landline phones: ~20% vs ~60%
      Cellphones: ~25% vs ~50%
  • Then we had to extend that dependence to manufacturing by shipping our factories overseas and now we're shipping our brainshare to China as well. This is just f'ing brilliant.

    On the other hand I used to work at a contract research laboratory and they'd charge the full cost of running the research plus 200-400% overhead. It's hard to blame someone for not wanting to pay those prices.

    Something's gotta give before too much longer. We're replacing well paying jobs with Wal-Mart parking lot attendants.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taustin (171655) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @01:57PM (#10248060) Homepage Journal
    Porting a software package to Chinese is "advanced technology research"? Writing a new search function is "advanced technology research"? I don't see any other examples of what this "advanced technology research" consists of, other than Nokia moving its programming operations to China, which is also not "advanced technology research."

    "Within five years China could overtake Britain, Germany and Japan as a base for corporate research, leaving it second only to the United States."

    Yeah, maybe, if you define "corporate research" as "learning how to use ten year old technology."
  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:25PM (#10248390)
    I was impressed with the number MicroSoft Asia authors at the 2004 SIGGRAPH Meeting in Los Angeles last month. Something like 12% of the papers. Its very hard to get a paper accepted at that meeting- over 80% are rejected.

    The research was solid, but not not super creative. There were things like you might do in a 3-D version of Photoshop, etc. The heavy duty mathematics came were still in papers from Stanford and CMU.

    The big mystery is when MicroSoft is going release products from its impressive R&D lab. Most of its products are boring copycat stuff like the recent MS-Tunes.
  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:26PM (#10248405) Homepage Journal
    Here's the rest of the story. One of those multinationals listed bought my company three years ago. Then last year they started bragging up their Asia division, and hinting that we were the bad guys because we weren't coming out with innovative products like they were. Well we finally got one of those "innovative" products in the shop and started poking into it. Turns out it was essentially *OUR* old product with a new skin!

    I've got nothing against my company lowballing itself, but it really pisses me off that they're insulting the goose the laid their golden eggs.
  • *YAWN* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stickerboy (61554) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:57PM (#10248737) Homepage
    ...and in other news, the USSR surpassed the US in aerospace science and technology in the 1950s with the launch of Sputnik. Experts predict that the Soviet emphasis on technical education and its outstanding ability to centrally marshal resources to a purpose mean grave times ahead for the US.

    Five decades later, where would you rather be living? The former Soviet Union, or the US?
  • by Kphrak (230261) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @03:07PM (#10248842) Homepage

    Disclaimer: I'm not an economist, and I think economics is boring as hell. Real economists, please correct any of the points I screw up.

    For those of us over 20 years old, you might remember another Asian economy that was steamrolling us. Everyone was complaining that the US was really going under this time, and fingers were pointing at all our shortcomings compared to that economy.

    They've figured out a way to repeal or circumvent Adam Smith's laws. Our education isn't good enough. We work harder, not smarter. We don't work hard enough. We watch too much useless TV. We don't appreciate the power of multimedia. We aren't an ancient enough culture to appreciate the strategy of business. We're buying too many of the other country's products. We're selling too much of our real estate. We aren't pragmatic enough to give up drugs/religion/sexual habits/hobbies/music that holds us back.

    Does anyone remember this attitude? I seem to recall people saying this about Japan when I was a kid. Anyone remember those guys? They're still recovering from an economic slowdown that lasted about 15 years. But they were pretty worrying at the time. They were an economic bogeyman -- Better work harder, or the Japanese will 0wn us. I recall a sarcastic commentator on some of the pushes for diversity education, "Diversity training is essential for the global marketplace. We've got to push for understanding and appreciation of other cultures. So we can beat hell out of the Japs."

    I'm mentioning this because I see people in the thread saying all the same stuff we used to say about the Japanese. "There's nothing we can compete against them in. It's because we're conservative (it would be 'liberal' if Slashdot didn't lean to the left). It's because we're lazy." This attitude is not surprising; it's natural to assume that something that seems huge today is going to be even bigger in the future. It's why all William Gibson's futuristic books imagine a world dominated by zaibatsu.

    Although I do believe that software patents, draconian laws regarding intellectual property, weird political bans on scientific research, etc are going to hurt us in several ways, I have trouble believing the extent of the gloomy scenarios imagined by Slashdotters here simply because I've lived through at least one of them. Really, all of us have lived through another, opposite one: The dot-com era. Remember how everyone was saying "It's the new economy! Everyone is making millions from web design and advertising! We're all going to keep getting richer, forever!" This, too, is a result of basing tomorrow's predictions on a literal interpretation of today's economic climate.

    I'm sure China will end up dominating one or another sections of the market, and I'm sure a lot of blue-collar workers (such as call-center workers; they may have been "support engineers" here in the dot-bomb age, but let's face it, they're no more engineers than 1920s Ford factory workers) will be displaced. This happened the last time an Asian country figured largely in our economy. But most of the posts here rely on 1. The fallacy that economics is a zero-sum game, and 2. The assumption that we've got absolutely nothing to offer because China can manufacture many products more cheaply. Personally, I suspect that a glut will occur on some of these items (just how many curtain rods do you need, anyway?), and the laws of supply and demand will assert themselves.

    The Japanese weren't magicians. They hadn't beaten supply and demand any more than anyone else. They make some great products, dominate in several fields, but they aren't going to make a world empire. I think, in time, history will show that the Chinese aren't any better magicians than the rest of us.

    • ...you might remember another Asian economy that was steamrolling us...[Japan]

      A lot of good points. I'd just point out one problem with the comparison, and that's relative population size: The U.S. is something like 2-3x Japan's population. China is 5x the U.S. population. Granted, a huge portion of those are poor and uneducated, and will remain so for quite some time; so knock it down to the same 2-3x factor.

      I wonder if a somewhat better comparison would be back at the dawn of the industrial age --

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