Thursday, March 18, 2010

Follow the Money Winds

An old mentor of mine, long since passed away, used to instruct me to "follow the money winds." Indeed so, especially if we pay attention to China.

Research and Development spending (R&D) has been moving to China from all points worldwide in an accelerating trend.

General Motors has a huge and growing auto research campus in Shanghai.

Applied Materials has just completed one of its largest research labs near Beijing and has another in Xian.

Xian, a city 600 miles southwest of Beijing, has 47 universities and other learning institutions, graduating thousands of engineers whose starting pay is as little as $730 per month.

Thermal Power Research Institute is based in Xian; the world leading laboratory on perfecting cleaner coal.

Future Fuels is buying $100 million in licensing equipment systems from the institute.

NatCore Technology just reached an agreement with a Chinese consortium of Chinese companies to begin mass-production of its solar panels in Changsha.

The GE China Technology Center (CTC) based in Shanghai is home to more than 20 research labs, working on technology for a number of GE businesses both in China and around the world.

DuPont China Research and Development Center (Shanghai) and Microsoft Research Asia (Beijing) are examples of other substantial R&D operations in China.

Additionally Motorola Chinese Research Institute (capital investment of US$155 million), Lucent Chinese Research Institute (capital investment of US$200 million), Microsoft Chinese Research Institute (capital investment of US$80 million) and IBM Chinese Research Institute are all 100% self-owned capital R&D centers.

The list continues, including 3G-related mobile communications companies like Nokia, Ericson, Alcatel, Lucent and Siemens, automotive-related R&D centers for Nissan, and R&D activities by pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Roche as well as by chemical companies like Dan Chemical, DuPont and others.

Young people often ask me for career advice. My answer is simple. Follow the money winds.

Richard Wottrich

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