I often hear at dinner parties something like the following: ‘How can we possibly compete with China, India, or Vietnam…the workforce is too large, too willing to work long hours, and they can’t call off sick.’
I’ll admit, it’s not easy for a company operating in the west in areas that involve manufacturing. I’ll also admit that it’s a tough argument to sell to Spain, given the 21% unemployment rate. However, while it may be difficult to compete with generic products, the west does have some advantages including:
- Intellectual property protection
- Culture of overcoming obstacles and problem solving
- Better technology
- The ability to combine design and function
The last item refers to the ability to appeal to the sub-conscious – the product or service just feels right – and people will pay for that. For example, if we would all take our fashion advice from pre-20 year old Scott – a friend of mine – we would all be walking around in Vietnamese-made $2 plain white t-shirts.
Because we are not, the west still has hope. Western companies might as well get out of the plain white t-shirt business, but do not need to give up on the clothing business.
If western companies can convince us Americans that watches the size of meteors are fashionable, we can innovate our way out of almost any mess.
- Jack Dorsey on Twitter’s Asia growth, Tamagotchis and competing against China’s weibos (thenextweb.com)
- India, Vietnam sign energy accord (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Albert Edwards: Hold on for a hard landing in China (ftalphaville.ft.com)
- China, Vietnam sign deal to resolve sea dispute (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Britons are ‘lazy’ and ‘addicted to benefits’, China claims (telegraph.co.uk)
- China Demands American Technologies. (redlineboostnews.wordpress.com)
- US-China Policy Makes US Look Weaker (themoderatevoice.com)
- On Competing with China… (jer979.blogspot.com)