Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

The Asians Are Coming

Whether you're a manufacturer, developer or enterprise manager of information technology, you already see the writing on the wall: Tech pros in China, India, Taiwan, South Korea and other Asian countries aren't just partners, but also potential competitors. Adjusting to this truly global economy is priority No. 1 for tech-oriented enterprises of every stripe.

Cisco CEO John Chambers counts 15 companies as his main competitors, so which one does he worry about the most? Not Alcatel or Avaya or Extreme or Foundry or Juniper or Nortel or Siemens or any of his other Magic Quadrant neighbors, but some still-to-be hatched competitor out of Asia. For Chambers, the high-tech legions being groomed in the East are just too overwhelming to ignore.

"You have a billion people in India, a billion people in China," Chambers noted in a recent interview with Network Computing. "They're going to put their top 10 percent into the universities. Twenty-five percent of those will be in the computer sciences, math, etc., so it's purely a matter of numbers."
Likewise, enterprise IT pros will compete for jobs not so much with their neighbors at home but with well-educated individuals abroad, many of whom will still get their degrees in the United States but will head home to rising industries and standards of living.

As I've argued before, forecasts of the "Asian century" are premature. Remember that Japan was to replace the United States two decades ago as the center of technological innovation and industry, yet it's been held back by its rigid commercial climate. Technical education and government investment don't always translate into commercial superiority. A culture and regulatory climate that encourage entrepreneurial initiative and risk-taking are critical.

  • 1