Monday, January 12, 2009

China 2009 is about to become Japan 1986

So you’ve probably been thinking that after the last ten years we’re due for a respite. A bit of calm amidst the floating refuse of our crated life raft. It was a big waterfall for sure, but now we get to float for a while.

Then you hear the roar of the next cataract.

Very few people now remember than by 1986 Japan had just about finished off the American car industry and was about to conquer the American computing industry.

What'? You don’t remember the congressman taking a sledgehammer to a Japanese made IBM-clone?

I remember because my very first PC was an 8086 clone made by Panasonic. It was the most over-engineered device I’ve ever owned. It was built to last thirty years, and it cost less than the other clones on the market.

IBM, Compaq, and the like were terrified. Congress was appalled – America had lost the automobile*, now we were going to lose the computer too.

De facto “voluntary” quotas were enforced. Panasonic and other Japanese PC vendors left the desktop market. Dell became dominant.

Flash forward 23 years …

Chinese Electric Automaker Challenges Big Three

…Chinese car maker BYD Co. BYD developed an electric automobile that only costs consumers $22,000…

Gee, this feels familiar.

Wait until Chinese/Google “Chromestellation” netbooks start selling at Walmart for $124.99 (batteries not included).

Eeeeeeeyyyyyaaaaaaa …..

* The same set of “voluntary” quotas forced Japan to manufacture in the US, and also allowed GM, Chrysler and Ford time to more or less compete with Japan.

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