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Chinese Technology and Industry

china tech industry

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#1 Orpheus

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:43 PM

There's no question that China is a big factor in our world -- as it should be, given what a large fraction of the human population and potential it represents.

There's certainly a lot to discuss military or international political terms, but I encounter a lot of stories about their technology, infrastructure and industry.

This is a place to post/discuss such stories. It's probably not the first I've started over the years, but I think the subject remains vital.

#2 Orpheus

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:08 PM

"Why China’s Homemade Microchips Will Struggle to Displace Western Giants"

Good Read: The article is clear and pitched at a very low level of technical knowledge --a good read-- but the title is misleading. The article really focuses on microprocessors for the desktop (etc.), and more "home grown" [designed in China] than "home made" [manufactured in China].

Still, I think few US/Europeans, even techies, are much aware of China's MIPS-based Loongson CPUS, which are likely to make a big rollout to the industry this year, and may be showing up in consumer products in 2014 or a little earlier. If they can [or have] cut the power consumption, it could have a huge impact as early as next Christmas in the tablet market.

Chinese tablets, in particular, are a huge sector that will likely reach beyond the consumer handheld market. I think we'll find them being used as [removable] input or output devices in many other devices from cars to sci/tech to industry. The price is already right: standalone tablets already sell under $40, approaching the cost of integrating a good dedicated LCD or input device into a product -- and prices are dropping rapidly.

Currently most consumer 'computer' devices run CPUS outside the x86 family that most desktops run. Right now, most are based on an ARM core, but the MIPS architecture is actually slightly older and dominated for a long time. In recent years, ARM "cores" (processor designs, architecture, etc] were widely licensed to US/EUR/JAP manufacturers, who built them into their commercial chips, while the biggest licensee of MIPS is China. I know of no reason why ARM would be definitively superior *technically* to MIPS, but there are good arguments why either could be superior to x86.

#3 Lin731

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:34 PM

For my part, when I think China I think intellectual property theft, closed markets, cheaply made/soon to break products and a huge loss of R&D because companies will sell their souls in a bargain to gain access to China's markets. If you want to sell goods in China, you must share patents with them. To me that is a national security issue. The sad part is there seems to be so little made in the US or even EU countries that stock our store shelves and I really resent their protectionist market while they have free rein in ours.
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#4 Orpheus

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:43 AM

Actually, manufacturing is increasingly moving out of China -- though I agree that they will remain a major outsourcing center for at least another decade. The issues of distance, language, "Wild West economics" (e.g. gray market parts, ghost-shifting) etc., combined with increases in local costs are tipping the balance more toward the benefits of building products back home, or at least outside of China. They have permanently benefited from the buildup in production capacity and general know-how over the last 20 years, but now they may have to transition to selling home-grown (designed) products with less of an edge in manufacturing costs.

#5 Lin731

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

View PostOrpheus, on 08 January 2013 - 03:43 AM, said:

Actually, manufacturing is increasingly moving out of China -- though I agree that they will remain a major outsourcing center for at least another decade. The issues of distance, language, "Wild West economics" (e.g. gray market parts, ghost-shifting) etc., combined with increases in local costs are tipping the balance more toward the benefits of building products back home, or at least outside of China. They have permanently benefited from the buildup in production capacity and general know-how over the last 20 years, but now they may have to transition to selling home-grown (designed) products with less of an edge in manufacturing costs.

I truly hope you're right. I have been reading recently that distance and other issues were becoming more of a problem for manufacturers in China, I beleive other factors such as lower US costs (not in labor as much as in energy prices?) as well as technology versus sheer manpower, becoming less of an advantage for China. How much damage has been done (R&D patent sharing along with the massive loss of jobs here over the past 20 years) remains to be seen. They may be leaving China but if we have learned nothing else about big Corporate America in recent years, they will be trolling for their next dirt cheap labor force to exploit.
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