A KPMG report on China’s innovative strengths went viral an suggests the country’s disruptive power will change the world. China veteran Bill Dodson advises on his weblog the researchers to have a closer look and disagrees with their optimistic take.
Closer examination – that is, living and working in China – shows that most of the engineers that have graduated university have only the most abstract and theoretical notions of the subjects in which they’ve received their degrees due to the stultified education system; and that standardized testing in China does not reflect the degree to which test-takers are able to solve real-world problems with creative approaches in dynamic, heterogeneous conditions; and the companies setting up R&D centers are multinationals here to localize their product lines for the domestic markets and are loathe to expose their most precious IP to the Chinese elements.
Further, most design engineers in China are insulated from the marketplace by their marketing and purchasing departments: marketing doesn’t wants to and still can play it safe while China’s consumer market grows; and purchasing is charged with ever greater pressure for “cost-down” from suppliers who theoretically are a great source of inspiration for new products and materials.
Instead, with stalling domestic and international markets, companies are playing safe with innovation, making most of it incremental at best, revisionist at its most uninteresting.
In other words, the statement that China has fostered an environment for disruptive technologies rather smacks of an accountancy that would like to be a consultancy to any of the businesses popping up in China with its new-found cash and the appeal of nearly 1.5 billion shoppers.
On Thursday we organize the next Google+ Hangout on China. When you are interested, you can pick one of our planned subjects, and register for our broadcast here.