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Sunday, April 11, 2004
The China SyndromeChina's emergence as an economic power,poses a threat to the U.S. in a new way: China's use of its growing economic might to try to dictate critical technology standardsChina's meteoric rise from a closed, near- feudal society to the most dynamic economy on the globe has been mostly good news for U.S. CIOs and captains of technology. An enormous supply of cheap labor, coupled with modern factories, means that prices for most high-tech gear should remain low for years to come. Armies of highly educated yet low-paid scientists, engineers, accountants and other professionals provide a long-term opportunity for U.S. firms to get skilled work done for less. Add to that the millions of newly minted middle-class Chinese and thousands of growing businesses ready to buy, buy, buy, and what's not to like?China's use of its growing economic might to try to dictate critical technology standards. China's current effort to establish its own 3G wireless standard has little chance of success outside some parts of China, and is mostly an annoyance. But in the years to come, China may be able to use its heft to dictate standards in newly emerging markets, and to use them to its own advantage. The implications of this could be profound.
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