While assessing competitive scenarios, we always say speed wins- After attaining a critical mass, between competing enterprises or locations, all other things being equal – pace of advancements and speed of execution makes the difference.
John Hagel points out, "Western executives often make a big mistake in assessing offshoring and outsourcing options. They undertake a detailed comparison of current capabilities and then make their decisions based on this snapshot. But snapshots miss the point. This approach misses the fact that many offshore locations, especially in China and India, are building capability at a much faster pace than comparable companies in the U.S. and Europe. It's relative pace that counts - executives need to watch videos, rather than staring at snapshots.
He points to the Economist magazine writing in Jan saying this about Huawei: Yet the true extent of Huawei's international reach is hard to gauge and pointed to its waek technology base. Three months later The Economist quotes third party survey results as saying,Huawei's ascendancy is "astounding" and says it has already surpassed several incumbent vendors in perceived market leadership.As a result,incumbent western firms should be "very scared" of Huawei. He wonders that three months have made a difference a year in the case of the Economist. And concludes that western executives need to figure out how to position their companies in these offshore locations in ways that enable them to leverage this significant difference in relative pace.
John is perhaps right in admiring the pace of change of technology related things in China & India and the west should leverage this capability while working in Asia – while I agree with him on this – I must also say that many mainstream publications including the Economist always write with limited understanding of issues when it comes to Asia and also have no compulsion to be consistent or seen to be right in hindsight.