China’s Telecoms Miss a Beat

You might have noticed that we updated the blogroll on the right hand side of the page. Among the sites we added is 2point6billion, and this post on how China’s telecom industry might be missing out on global opportunites by focusing on the domestic market is a good example of why. A quiet story covered from an interesting angle with thought-provoking implications. Good stuff.

The speed with which China has managed to industrialize and compete on the global level is mind-boggling. There are obviously a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is certainly the Chinese leadership’s strategic planning and management of their economy. But management is never infallible, and the Achilles’ heel of autocratic centralized planning is that it stifles the competition of ideas that keeps economies and societies vibrant.

America’s industrial malaise began the moment the rest of the world took our inventions and innovated on them in ways that left us suddenly noncompetitive. I’m thinking, in particular, of the American car industry in the late Seventies, which was the result of management’s failure of imagination. Of course, we were quickly able to recenter our economy on the opportunities made possible by the high tech sector, which was a direct result of our openness to new ideas.

So far China’s rise has been built on the “copy and paste” model. The moment of truth is how quickly it will be able to adapt and react when it hits its “Detroit moment.”

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