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China PM Wants to Rule Global Tech With India 1020

GrumpyDeveloper writes "As reported in this Wired story, China's prime minister said Sunday that China and India should work together to dominate the world's tech industry, bringing together Chinese hardware with Indian software.
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China PM Wants to Rule Global Tech With India

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  • Good. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:21AM (#12200710)
    If American tech workers can't compete at the pennies-per-hour salary range, then they deserve to lose their jobs to the superior foreign technological forces. And stop whining about "oh, but I need to buy groceries" and "I need to save up for my child's college fund and my retirement".

    At least, this is what I've heard.

    I, for one, welcome our new high-school management retail wage-slave jobs of the future.
    • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:44AM (#12201018) Homepage Journal
      I understand this was supposed to be funny...but the "pennies-per-hour" phrase is a popular misconception about the prevailing wages for software development jobs in India (not generalizing to China, since hardware development may be considered more blue collar work involving more physical labor than software development).

      As far as the current wages for "IT" professionals in India go, they are among the top paid people in the white-collar industry. They can afford to live a lifestyle that may be at the very least considered as upper middle class in most societies.

      When most Americans hear about "pennies-per-hour" salaries (which in itself is an exaggeration), software professionals are being exploited as "slave labor" in "sweat shops". This view couldn't be further from the truth.

      The truth is that "IT" professionals are being paid princely salaries by Indian standards (similar to how it was during the boom in the Silicon Valley). The cost of living in India is *way* low compared to the US. For comparison, a loaf of bread costs about 10 Indian Rupees or about 25 US cents. A large pizza at Pizza Hut/Dominos would cost about 100-300 INR, which is about 2.00 to 6.00 US Dollars. A low-cost meal in an average fast-food type restaurant would run you about 25 INR or less than 1.00 USD.

      That's about all I have to say in this rant. Comparing wages without taking in the cost of living into account is crazy, but I guess it's convenient to ignore making misinformed arguments against "outsourcing" (which the corporations are responsible for, btw and not Indians who're "stealing our jaabs") and dissing Indians for being ready to work at lower wages.

    • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rossifer ( 581396 ) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @01:43PM (#12202639) Journal
      India has serious systemic problems in government and culture that they will need to overcome before they can be effective solving new problems.

      In government, there is corruption and graft, the likes of which would take any American's breath away. This is accepted as "business as usual" by the Indian populace, who see few alternatives. The average Indian citizen has nothing to gain and a lot to lose if they are the "squeaky wheel", so everyone pretty much sits quietly and takes their share of the graft. Because of this situation, Indian infrastructure (roads, wiring, communications) is in a perpetual state of near failure. The areas where this is not the case are private networks where western companies are currently pumping money in and demand a high quality of service for their money. As soon as those funds disappear, the repairs on the redundant power generators, the satellite uplinks (made by western companies) the telecom equipment and redundant trunks (made by western companies) will all fall apart.

      Based on my observations, the cultural problems relevant to tech workers revolve around attitudes towards authority and strategies of pedagogy and learning. Further, the two problems are tightly coupled and coupled with the enormous power disparities between cultural groups, which makes the problems even less tractable.

      The education problem can be framed as one in which the teachers pour the knowledge that the students need into the student's heads and that's what they get. This "banking" method of teaching has been long discredited for developing creative thinkers (something that American and European educational systems can list among their strengths). If you go into a bookstore in Bangalore, most of what you will find are certification training books. When you talk to outsourcing companies about the team you might be hiring, they list certifications at you and will almost refust to discuss experience.

      When you go to India to work with your team, you find that unless you can frame your problem and development approach as a series of strict single-option rules, your rules will not be followed. Rules of the form, "Either (1) or (2), whichever is more readable." will result at best in 100% (1) or 100% (2) and usually neither. When you ask about a shortcoming that you've found in a review or testing, they will ask where the problems are, then wait until you tell them exactly how to fix those problems before making changes. If the problems that you have mentioned are a part of a pattern and you point out other cases of the problem, you will find that only those instances that you specifically pointed out have been changed.

      In short, until Indian technology workers start treating software development as a craft, they will only be the equivalent of the "web developer" here in the US. Until the Indian educational system teaches a craft approach to problem solving, Indian software workers are unlikely to have any success at anything other than the simplest and most motonous projects. Until the culture supports asking challenging questions to teachers and team leaders, the educational system and the products of that educational system are unlikely to change in any significant way.

      I liked India. I liked most of the Indians I met (the souvenier sellers were not very likeable, except for 10-year old Madhu up there on Chumundi hill in Mysore). But aside from their personal appeal, I needed to build up an honest evaluation of their suitability for use by my employer.

      My conclusion after working with them for a year and being overseas for a month of that: If it's trivial detail work that doesn't require any creativity or insight into the underlying design. If the task can be specified up front and is entirely based on widespread standards, the Indian team is perfect and will do a good job.

      If, on the other hand, the module is core to the system, if the module requires careful design, if the requirements are poorly understood, if we need to have a lot
  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:21AM (#12200711) Homepage Journal
    Is outsourcing to North America part of their plan :)
    • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:51AM (#12201104) Journal
      If capital is free to move about the globe but labor isn't, then all that the owning class has to do to keep control is to keep moving from the rich, expensive countries to the poor, cheap countries. They let the rich countries become poor again, and then move back.

      It's all about cheap labor, and if you think it's "Us" (the US and the West) vs. "Them" (China, India, etc.) then you have bought into the lie that the ruling class uses to keep control.
  • Good on them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Staplerh ( 806722 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:22AM (#12200716) Homepage
    Makes sense.

    India has gained global repute as a hub of software professionals while China is strong on computer hardware. Both countries' cheap and plentiful labor has undercut the tech industry in America and other Western countries through outsourcing.

    Seems as if they're trading on the principle of 'comparative' advantage, something that makes perfect sense. Software in India, hardware in China. Now, I understand that we're going to see some misguided anti-Globalisation backlash on this site. Overall, firms will then get lower prices for their tech products. Everybody will win from this.
    • Re:Good on them (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:25AM (#12200766)
      Everybody will win from this.

      Unless you are emloyed in America, making software or hardware for a living.

      Please inform the masses on Slashdot how lowering the standard of living for those in say - America, Britain and elsewhere - is a winning situation.
      • Re:Good on them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 ( 812236 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:30AM (#12200846) Journal
        Those in America and the UK, and other developed countries, are relatively better educated. As such, their occupational mobility is higher. Moreover, they have the chance to be creative without getting their hands dirty.

        I've heard, on Slashdot no less, of Americans outsourcing their own work to India, pocketing the difference and spending their time at the desk learning. Specialization of labor has always worked, and may even be the reason we are where we are now [].
        • Re:Good on them (Score:3, Insightful)

          by millwall ( 622730 )
          Those in America and the UK, and other developed countries, are relatively better educated.

          Than what countries? Let me remind you that India has got one of the best IT University degrees in the world. Was this really an educated comment?

          As such, their occupational mobility is higher.

          How is the educational level linked to the occupational mobility?
      • Re:Good on them (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Timesprout ( 579035 )
        See this is the beauty of it. As the China and Indian get wealthier they wont give a fucking shit about the US and UK getting poorer, just like we didnt give a shit about them living in poverty and squalor while we enjoyed our spin on the affluence merry go round. As the adage goes, 'he who pays the piper calls the tune', the Chinese and Indians will be paying and the tune will be 'China and India say everyone wins'.

        Personally I am just waiting for the US to announce that some such alliance poses a threa
      • Re:Good on them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:46AM (#12201041)

        Please inform the masses on Slashdot how lowering the standard of living for those in say - America, Britain and elsewhere - is a winning situation.

        As slashdotters are so fond of saying in P2P stories - your business plan is flawed and its not up to us to sustain it for you. You arent entitled to that higher standard of living, and if someone can undercut you then you need to compete in different ways, add value to YOUR version of the product, entice customers to buy from you rather than the cheaper alternative.

        • there has to be something said about fair competition. There is a reason why doing business in the west is more expensive.. Labour and Environmental laws just to name 2.

          I have no problems competing with industries half way around the world if its fair. IMHO tariffs should be place on any goods coming in from other countries that don't meet our same standards. If at the end their products are still cheaper then i'll agree we have to revise our business practices.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      Free trade economics does NOT guarentee:

      * Good jobs for those displaced by cheaper nations

      * Vibrant middle class

      If it by chance worked out that way in the PAST, we were lucky. But the theory does not mathematically guarentee the above. If you say otherwise, please show me the study.

      It may mean better averages, but averages don't mean much for those stepped on. Do we cut the legs off of one in ten so that nine can have bigger cars? That seems to be what we are doing, figuratively.
  • Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:23AM (#12200740) Journal
    The Taiwanese may be a little bit uneasy about which part of "China" this "Chinese hardware" is going to be coming from...

    That said, the border agreement India and China announced today seems like a terrific step forward. I'm surprised it's not getting more attention. The two biggest countries in the world have been banging heads over that border for decades.

  • Inevitable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 ( 812236 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:23AM (#12200742) Journal
    Cooperation between India and China is inevitable. Their feud stems from a small war and dispute over small threads of land. The benefits of their cooperation is far greater than the benefits of a rift, and both sides have seen this. Add this to a burgeoning ASEAN, and you have a truly global economic power.

    Whether or not they succeed at dominating the tech industry is redundant. If they cooperate, even economically, they'd have a lot more say in the world than the either the US or the EU, over time.
    • Re:Inevitable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AppyPappy ( 64817 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:32AM (#12200866)
      The fight isn't over land. The fight is over control of SE Asia. India's military buildup makes China squirrely. This is especially true with India's lead in naval forces. India can project further out that China. In the absence of a war, that is a key asset in diplomacy.

      China and India may pretend to get along as newlyweds but China's support of Pakistan's military is the porn stash in the closet.
    • Re:Inevitable (Score:3, Informative)

      by kahei ( 466208 )

      I wish people would stop presenting this as a mutual tiff. The feud stems from the Chinese _invasion_ of India -- large chunks of which they still hold.

  • by 0kComputer ( 872064 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:25AM (#12200772)
    Why would indians want to get mixed up with the Chinese? Seems like this would jeopordize their lucrative Casino businesses.
  • by lheal ( 86013 ) <lheal1999@ y a h> on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:26AM (#12200784) Journal
    Assembly Instruction of Very Fine Device.

    Step 1: You should be opening the box now.

    Step 2: Complete assembly is easy for you.

    Step C: Begin use Very Fine Device.
    • I remember a scsi card manual I had once. I was looking for directions on how to do $foo. The TOC said see p15. Page 15 said see page 33. Page 33 said see p 15.

      I'm not making this up. Wish I could remember the brand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:31AM (#12200852)
    The same thing we do every night, India...
  • they're no dummies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:35AM (#12200900) Journal
    The gov of China knows that India is supposed to surpass them in population relatively soon. According to the CIA [], by 2020 (15 years, folks...) a China/India duo would account for 36% of the global population. Western Europe plus the United States will only be 9% of the global population. With emerging economies, it is forecasted that we westerners are supposed to become quite obsolete.

    China, knowing that by 2030 india is predicted to pass them in population, knows they have to act. Most of China's land mass is worthless, after all (why do you think Tiawan is so important to them?) so they have to position themselves as a solid consumer front.

    The problem India/China will face: they'll be *consumers*. Being the biggest consumers has been a major harm to the US economy (trade deficits, etc). For our substantially smaller work force (1/5th-ish), we still produce twice as much as China does (see above CIA link). They need to seriously work on their production per-capita. That, and feeding those folks is already a serious problem. Production, on their end, is not just an industrial issue - its a natural resource issue.

    The Western Hemisphere controls the food, and with it...we'll still control the wealth. If the US made some strong ties with South America, we'd retain power with even just 2% of the global population...put 3 billion people in an area that can only make food for 1 billion, and what does supply/demand dictate? It dictates that food prices will skyrocket, and non-food goods will plummet. Watches and games will become trivial, throw-away items (already are), but an apple will be valuable.
    • by kahei ( 466208 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:55AM (#12201146) Homepage

      put 3 billion people in an area that can only make food for 1 billion, and what does supply/demand dictate?


    • by alphakappa ( 687189 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @12:07PM (#12201314) Homepage
      "The Western Hemisphere controls the food, and with it...we'll still control the wealth."

      Think I should point this out. Both India and China are food surplus nations.
    • Most of China's land mass is worthless, after all (why do you think Tiawan is so important to them?)

      Why is their land worthless? Too rocky? They do have a pretty huge amount of coal for energy supplies but I don't know if you mean value of land for farming. Apparently they have enough farmland to be able to export food to the US, given how much pressure some sectors of farming are getting from Chinese imports.
    • It dictates that food prices will skyrocket, and non-food goods will plummet.

      Those food prices are going to skyrocket for people in the food-producing regions just as much as for anyone else. And who will own most of the farms? Not the people working on them, certainly. Why not a corporation based in China?

      Someone else here commented that capital is now completely mobile across national boundaries, but labor is not. That's the essence of the situation with which we're now faced.

  • by TrebleJunkie ( 208060 ) <ezahurak AT atlanticbb DOT net> on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:36AM (#12200909) Homepage Journal

    Welcome to a Brave New World of Tech Support Hell.

  • So basically... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by suitepotato ( 863945 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:39AM (#12200952)
    ...we buy cruddy unsupported hardware from China, we run horrendously unsupported software from India, and we have it fall prey to Russian hackers.

    Am I the only one finding this to be a problem?

    You know, there was once an old joke on a comparison of Heaven and Hell based on which nationality did your food, car, laws, lovers, etc. I think we're headed towards the same in IT.

    I wonder what the South American FOSS contingent will have to say as time goes by or what influence the hacker high thing will have.

    Probably just nationalistic chest beating but it is weird news.
    • In Heaven:
      The French are the chefs,
      the Italians are the lovers,
      the Swiss are the bankers,
      the Germans are the mechanics,
      and the British are the police.

      In Hell:
      The British are the chefs,
      the Swiss are the lovers,
      the Italians are the bankers,
      the French are the mechanics,
      and the Germans are the police.
  • by ScorpFromHell ( 837952 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:41AM (#12200984) Homepage
    Premiere of China and the President of India are Scientists [], one a down to earth Geologist and the other a rocket shooting Space scientist!

    About the topic ...
    Could Chinese Hardware & Indian Software be married to produce the World dominating Tech Industry? Is it a mere whimsical dream of the Chinese Premiere or is it a real workable proposition to tilt the balance of the World's technological power base? As the wise sage said "Time will tell"!

    Curretly though, the traditional rivals are ready to bury the hatchet over the common border [] they share and also have set a target to raise the bilateral trade to $30bn by 2010 [] from the $13.6bn in the last fiscal. The two countried have signed a dozen agreements [] today, ranging from phytosanitary protocols to more open skies, and China is backing India's bid to the UN Security Council [].

    So for the time being, they do seem to be working together to the mutual benefit of the two Asian behemoths. Also, if the friction is diffused the world has one pair of nuclear neighbours to worry about!
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:42AM (#12200998) Homepage

    • Both countries' cheap and plentiful labor has undercut the tech industry in America and other Western countries through outsourcing.

    But how long will that last ? Once their workforces see the wealth that they are generating they are going to want a share of it, that is going to lead to demands for higher wages. This has happened before (see Eastern Europe).

    Part of the West's wealth relies on an imbalance of income -- ie the West relies on low wages in Africa/Asia to supply them with cheap food/goods/holidays/... This is not to say that things won't change: they will -- there will be an averaging of standards of living; we in the West are going to have to accept a reduction in our standards of living or work much harder for it. This is good in global terms.

    Where will the world's workhouse be ? Africa ?

    BTW: Anyone remember 20-30 years ago the golden future that was painted for us -- that automation would mean that no one would have to work more than one day a week (or something like that). Whatever happened to that dream ?

    • Automation puts people out of work, hell if you are unemployed you don't work any days per week. Not that I'm saying automation is bad, but if you want stuff, you need to work for it. If automation put you out, you change careers.

    • BTW: Anyone remember 20-30 years ago the golden future that was painted for us -- that automation would mean that no one would have to work more than one day a week (or something like that). Whatever happened to that dream ?

      It came true. You can work 1 day a week and have a roof over your head and food on the table. What's that? You don't want to eat cold beans and rice while living in someone else's basement? You want your own house in the suburbs with 2.5 SUVs in the driveway, lots of fancy furnitur

  • Tibet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Asmodai ( 13932 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:42AM (#12200999) Homepage
    Am I the only one bothered by the fact India is keeping the pro-Tibetan protestors out of the picture?

    Seems money is all that matters in the world. So much for the hindus living up to the Srimad-Bhagavad Ghita. =\
  • by MarkWatson ( 189759 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:55AM (#12201148) Homepage
    Don't get me wrong: I actually think that globalization is not such a bad thing (assuming some semblance of fair market practices - but then again, read Arundhati Roy for the dark side of the World Bank, globalization, etc.) I live in the US and because I live in a remote area I only telecommute so I both compete with foreign workers and also receive a fair amount of work from companies in India and Europe. It is all a matter of trying to stay competitive in the amount of work done per $$.

    Where I think we really have problems is in our educational system. In the 1970s, most articles in ACM journals were written by Americans. Now relatively few articles are. In the US, we have the top end of the IT food chain covered - by this I mean super creativity, capital for investments, etc. Anyway, it bothers me how few young people that I talk with have any desire what so ever to pursue careers in science and engineering.

    • Scientists and Engineers don't get the respect they used to. Why bust your butt in those studies when you can get a business degree and make a similar amount? There really isn't a huge financial incentive to go into those studies. India and China are pumping out Engineers right now due to the fact that a degree in the Sciences means a job that is very high when compared to the rest of the populace. Once their economies develop and once can make a decent living with out the hard studies I bet that they
  • by wheelbarrow ( 811145 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:57AM (#12201168)
    China has a long way to go towards enabling personal freedoms before this will work. China may have the high tech labor force but the specifications are still being written in the United States. This will not change until the centralized Chinese communist system allows decentralized freedom and entreprenuership. The Chinese system of a huge labor force and relatively few real leaders will not scale to the level of decision making and innovation that a system based on respect for dissent and personal freedom will. China needs more leaders to make this work and their current system fears that level of power sharing.
  • by igotmybfg ( 525391 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @12:13PM (#12201391) Homepage
    for bad software running on bad hardware?
  • Oh no!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ancil ( 622971 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @12:19PM (#12201469)

    Incoming: 300 alarmist responses about how India and China and the rest of the Asian Tigers are going to own everything / run everything in 10 or 50 years, because they work so much harder than us.

    Funny thing. 20 years ago it was the Japanese who were going to "own everything". It's actually funny (in a tragic sort of way) to watch movies from the 80's and early 90's, with their dire predictions of our impending Japanese Overlords. For a good laugh, go rent "Rising Sun" or even the Micheal Keaton comedy "Gung Ho".

    In reality, Japan is slowly dragging itself out of a recession which has spanned decades due to the inept bungling of the bureaucratic masterminds who were supposedly going to guide Japan to a peaceful takeover of the world's economy. Heck, I even drive a Honda: it was made in Kentucky.

    If you honestly think that China and India are going to surpass the West through the magical power of Central Planning, you haven't been paid much attention for the past 100 years or so.

    Incoming: Hundreds of slashdotters raving about how hard Indians and Chinese work in school (quietly ignoring the vast majority who live in rural areas). Big deal. It didn't help the Soviets, did it?

    China isn't going to be a frist-world country as long as their central government insists on tightly controlling the most important aspects of their economy. India is better off in this regard, but as an imperfect democracy I see them as a potential ally, not a rival. Indeed, the Bush administration is cozying up to democratic India specifically as a foil to totalitarian China. Smart move.

    Most people even on slashdot are profoundly igrnorant of economics. For example, they routinely assume that economics is a zero-sum game. If that were true, we'd still be living in caves.

  • Flank them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @12:29PM (#12201586)
    The only solution is to drive developement where they can't go yet. Biotech/nanotech. We have to pour money and employ all our resources into developing those two technologies.
  • #2 Tries Harder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @01:04PM (#12202036) Homepage Journal
    The're going to have to beat the US, which currently dominates global tech with Chinese hardware and Indian software.
  • by BluedemonX ( 198949 ) on Monday April 11, 2005 @01:30PM (#12202405)
    Is when they start innovating themselves as opposed to competing on price.

    There's always going to be people who won't want to buy cheap knock offs - for example, when wrenching on the (old) Harley (the one made in the USA) I want tools that are well made, not some Harbor Freight well at least they're cheap things.

    But when Ling Liong Wen Hung Flung Wuong Chang Inc. comes up with the next killer app in conjunction with RamaChandraChakraGuru Enterprises, that's when to upgrade to brown alert.

    We may not be cheap, but we are usually the engines of creation. Asia does it cheap, Europe does it with style (or at least with government subsidy) - we tend to do it first and forge ahead...

"I'll rob that rich person and give it to some poor deserving slob. That will *prove* I'm Robin Hood." -- Daffy Duck, Looney Tunes, _Robin Hood Daffy_