I have no doubt anything China sets its eye toward will be successful. As my colleague Bolaji said, "no one gets up in the morning and wants to design low-tech products." China has embraced a lot of best practices as it has developed and design is no exception.
China is a very strong competitor, and not just because of its low overhead, as it's generally perceived. Management practices in China are very well-understood. This has enabled them to compete in very tricky industries such as high-speed electronic modules.
The offshore outsourcing will continue for quite some time but the manufacturing cost also keeps rising due to stronger RMB, one of the factors. It will be a matter of time that China will have sufficient domestic consumption and advance R&D capability to sustain high pay jobs. It will be similar to Japan back in the 80's. By that time, if there is still enough jobs around the globe, market will drive the income compensation to pretty much same level between western world and our oriental partners. Then outsourcing will become history.
True--you can't have a global industry without seeing seeing migration of the process and then the IP. I wonder what, if anything, will fill the void? The U.S. was once a center of auto manufacturing innovation; then technology innovation; and next? Biotech? Clean energy? The way to maintain any kind of dominance is to continue to innovate. There will always be another fast-growth region changing the dynamic. Once it was Japan; now China; next India or central Europe? The challenge, as you say, is managing the transition. I think if the U.S. feels too secure in its dominance--of any kind--it will miss the next opportunity, whatever it is.
Barbara, You know the rapid growth of China in the electronics supply chain does not allow for any segment of the process to be dominated by any one country any longer. I cannot think of any engineer who wakes up each morning thinking all he or she wants to do is "low-level" design work. American domination of design activities will continue for a while longer but as you noted in your article designers in Asia will grab increasing share of design jobs. It doesn't mean the end of American involvement. It just means fewer design will be done here and transferred out there for production. It's a natural shift and it can't be stopped. The industry has to find a way to manage this transistion without leaving one region bare.
Wow, what a wake up call for the US.As long as the US continues to outsource its high-tech manufacturing overseas, the US will continue to lose jobs, including design engineers to follow. Here are some facts to ponder: Foxconn employs more than 800,000 people, which is more than the combined worldwide workforce of Microsoft, Apple, Dell, HP, Sony, and Intel.
Here’s an interesting snippet from Bloomberg Businessweek in July by Andy Grove of Intel fame, “Until a recent spate of suicides at Foxconn’s giant factory complex in Shenzhen, China, few Americans had heard of the company. But most know the products it makes: computers for Dell and HP, Nokia Oyj cell phones, Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles, Intel motherboards, and countless other familiar gadgets. Some 250,000 Foxconn employees in southern China produce Apple’s products. Apple, meanwhile, has about 25,000 employees in the U.S. -- that means for every Apple worker in the U.S. there are 10 people in China working on iMacs, iPods and iPhones. The same roughly 10-to-1 relationship holds for Dell, disk-drive maker Seagate Technology, and other U.S. tech companies.”
Silicon Valley, once known as the mecca for high-tech engineering hasn’t been creating many jobs as of late, except for jobs overseas.The Bay Area has a higher unemployment rate than the national average.In today’s worldwide technology environment, there is no reason why the engineering and design work can’t be done in China, India and others overseas.This know-how and innovation leadership used to be unique to the US, but not anymore.And now that US companies have freely outsourced their manufacturing overseas, it would be feasible that the higher-value jobs will soon follow.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.