Friday, June 08, 2007

China's Future

Everyone knows China is a low-wage, low-cost manufacturing juggernaut.
But the world had better watch out: It is also on its way to becoming a high-tech behemoth.

That was underscored when China sent a man into space. At the same time, to much less fanfare, Chinese doctors made their own leap, taking the nucleus of an ovary from one woman and implanting it in the ovary of another, allowing her possibly to conceive a child. And such achievements are becoming increasingly common.

"China is going to be a technological powerhouse," says Paul Saffo, director of the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, Calif. "They are being very strategic — making sure that they gain technological knowledge as part of their manufacturing activities."

China's technological drive may come as a surprise to those accustomed to viewing it as simply a low-wage workshop, exporting shoes and T-shirts and all sorts of paraphernalia and roiling other economies in the process. But manufacturing is only one stage in China's economic development. In fact, what's most significant about China today is not the growth of its assembly lines but that of its graduating classes.

Liberally taken from James Flanigan (LA Times)
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