China's "Wild West" explored

Ed Frauenheim Former Staff Writer, News
Ed Frauenheim covers employment trends, specializing in outsourcing, training and pay issues.
Ed Frauenheim

The June 5th edition of the IEEE Spectrum has a special report on China's tech revolution, with much of the coverage focusing on the little-known city of Chengdu. It may be hard to call a place with some 10 million inhabitants "little-known." But it's probably safe to say the Chinese city well west of the country's Pacific coast isn't on most Westerners' radar screens.

That may change over time. The story reports that tech powerhouses such as Alcatel, Microsoft and Intel have established or are setting up operations in Chengdu. "Negotiations are also under way with IBM for what would be its largest software outsourcing center anywhere," according to IEEE Spectrum.

The story adds credence to the notion that China is fast developing tech capabilities that go beyond assembling high-value parts made elsewhere to include coming up with fundamental ideas and technologies--which in turn can create whole new industries.

There are plenty of potential potholes in the road for China, including a brewing trade spat with the United States. But if it continues on its path, the country may ultimately return to a position it held centuries ago. As the Spectrum story puts it:

"After centuries of decline, the Chinese nation--the 3700-year-old Chinese civilization--is regaining its place in the world. And as the very name Middle Kingdom suggests, that place is at the epicenter of global affairs."