Just examine it from each part of the value chain. In terms of
semiconductors, China is expanding production both from domestic and
international manufacturers, the number of engineers in the country is
growing exponentially, and the number of Chinese semiconductor companies
is also growing rapidly.
It is becoming difficult to keep track of all
the semiconductor start-ups focused on processors in China because they
seem to come out of nowhere quickly. The processors powering todays
advanced electronics are really all system-on-chip (SoC) solutions. As a
result, they just require the knowledge to piece together different
intellectual property (IP) blocks into a single piece of silicon.
seen Chinese companies achieve working silicon processors in as little
as six months and create products that will eventually compete with the
mainstream products from industry powerhouses like Qualcomm.
software, Chinese OEMs remain reliant upon foreign operating system in
many areas, but there is nothing to stop them from adopting an
alternative solution, especially of the powerful Chinese carriers
support a competing standard to Android, iOS, and Windows. And, the rest
of the value chain for retail, content, and services already has
options unique to China. So, what if the industry litigation, tariff
battles, or other global political issues pushed the Chinese government
and industry to become closed off to foreign technology solutions? And
the same could easily be said about any of the emerging markets,
especially the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries.
moral of this article is that even in the age of the global economy, we
need to not lose sight of the value and fragility of open borders and
competition. The technology industry is a very high profile segment of
the economy and one that is subject to great scrutiny by all. Although
it is natural to focus on protecting a company’s technology and/or
market position, competition ultimately benefits the entire industry. As
a result, in may be better to compete, than to resort to measures that
eliminate competitive threats.
As we have seen with Apple, most companies try to establish a virtual monopoly for their product lines. They hope that they can kill off or significantly delay the competition. It is natural for the original developers to want to keep their lead as long as possible.
However, they are only playing for time. Competitors will emerge if the product idea is lucritive enough and people do not mind buying copies.
Protectionism is an old game, been happening for millenia. I do not expect that to change. The best protectionism is to give the consumer a good product at a good price and back it up with excellent customer service. People will remain loyal and pay up for that option. Otherwise, its just a cost shoot out and you will eventually lose.
Just my opinion.
Just a follow-up note. The US House intelligence subcommittee just declared war on Chinese companies Hauwei and ZTE. As if the threat of losing access to the Chinese market were not enough, the US government throws gas on the fire.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.