Roundup: Super Ministries, LBC Co-Dependence, Pharma Outsourcing, and 40 Hour Laptop Batteries

Sunday, January 6, 2008 12:10
Posted in category The Big Picture

With so much going on in China, and only a limited amount of bandwidth, I have created this weekly post to highlight articles that I feel are (1) important, (2) relevant, and (3) interesting.

This week there are 5 articles that I have put into the mix, and the breadth of these articles covers Central party consolidation of power, the dependence many Western U.S. States have on Long Beach Port, Pharmaceutical Outsourcing to China (and India), American Denial of the Benefits of Trade, and a scientific discovery by a Chinese scientist that lead to a laptop battery with 40 hours of capacity.

Each are quite interesting, they are all relevant, and each will have different levels of importance to readers. I hope you enjoy the articles, and will post those that you feel are important to you and must reads for others.

Beijing Unveils Plan for Super-Ministries
With the last 6 months of 2007 being brutal ones for the Central Party’s goals of achieving Harmoneous Society, there has been a lot of talk about the central party’s real control. A theory put forward by Jamestown and China Leadership Management on that, which is HIGHLY RELEVANT to you, is that the central party is in the process of consolidating power, tweaking ministries, and otherwise taking steps to enusre that central party directives are enforced.

How ports in LA drive Arizona’s economy
An excellent piece by Russ Wiles at the The Arizona Replublic that looks at the dependence of cities like Phoenix on Long Beach as 2/3 of all containers that flow through the port end up somewhere else. Definately a piece that wil get its own post, but want to get up as soon as possible as it really is one of the best pieces I have seen on the impact of LBC’s container flow to the rest of the economy.

Chinese manufacturers vie for piece of outsourcing pie
A very interesting look at the role of outsourcing in the Pharmaceutical industry. An industry I have had limited exposure to, this is one where nothing can go wrong. I found this article quite interesting as it lead me to see how some firms are trying to reduce their assets and become design, innovation, and marketing only…. kind of like Nike. I encourage everyone to read this and then think about what the role of corpoate responsibility, governance, and quality control will play here. I would really hate to see a major incident in this industry.

UPDATE – Following this post, I came across an relevant Reuters article Chinese Government Determined to Solve the Problems of China’s Pharmaceutical Industry

Stop the World (and Avoid Reality)
Blaming China for everything is a sport for some in the U.S., and China’s role in American job loses is often one of the targets. It is an issue I have posted before and tried to show where I think current statistical measurements are misused, and this article by Alan S. Blinder at the NYT is another excellent piece that I would use as a defense exhibit. I particularly enjoyed his comparison of the jobs lost to China vs. current unemployment.

Chinese Scientist Develops 40 HOUR Laptop Battery
There are many on and offline who will say that the Chinese lack an ability to innovate. That it is China’s ability to copy and reproduce that is their niche. Now, personally, I think that is not just an oversimplification, but just not true. It is something I have not addressed directly before, but the subject of innovation is one that I discuss on a fairly regular basis. When I saw A 40-Hour Laptop Battery by a (Silicon) Whisker on Treehugger, and the referenced article A 40-Hour Laptop Battery? on Science Now, I know I had another piece of anecdotal evidence to support my primary points.

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2 Responses to “Roundup: Super Ministries, LBC Co-Dependence, Pharma Outsourcing, and 40 Hour Laptop Batteries”

  1. davesgonechina says:

    January 13th, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Yi Cui, the guy who did the 40 hour laptop proof of concept, has been in the U.S. for almost 10 years now, ever since starting his PhD at Harvard in 1998.

    The question is, are you discussing whether Chinese, as an ethnic group, can innovate, or are you discussing more specifically whether mainland Chinese society can innovate? Cuz in this case, Yi illustrates that ethnic Chinese can certainly be innovative, but the system in which he managed to do it was American.

  2. Rich says:

    January 13th, 2008 at 5:51 am


    Agreed, and when I say Chinese I am speaking in terms of ethnicity. While I think Yi was probably pretty innovative before his stint at Harvard (He must have shown them something to get accepted), my assertion has always been that the Chinese are innovative.. and it is the system in China holding them back.

    On a wider level though, I would say that the Chinese in China are also quite innovative, and that while some choose to focus on the simple copying, there are a lot of things going on in China that will end up in the Western markets.

    Have a good week