back to article China admits local semiconductor industry can't match world class reliability

China wants its manufacturers to become more reliable, after finding that three key sectors – machinery, electronics, and automobiles – aren't at levels that match global standards of excellence. China flag balloons Chinese balloon that US shot down was 'crammed' with American hardware READ MORE The nation’s Ministry of …

  1. sarusa Silver badge

    Step it up!

    Since everything they have is stolen from elsewhere (Japan, US, EU, UK, Taiwan, etc) and they're fantastic engineers but incapable of making fundamental breakthroughs (everything socially supports fawning compliance with existing paradigms, and I use that word with full irony), this means they're going to ramp up the IP theft from everywhere else to get themselves up to snuff, and that's what you should expect from this declaration.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Step it up!

      I think it's more to do with it being easy to copy designs but much harder to copy process and culture. I know what goes into Delia's Victoria sponge and she's given me a high-level view of the process, but the cake I make is nowhere near as good as the one she makes. The cultural side is probably harder to replicate than process - it's not technology that makes Japanese trains run on time, it's the culture of the people who operate them.

      1. ChoHag Silver badge

        Re: Step it up!

        China's basic problem is that if you ask them to make cheap tat, they will.

      2. low_resolution_foxxes

        Re: Step it up!

        Culture is a thing indeed. But often it's simply down to the reality of taking a pricey Western component, trying to make it as cheap as possible in high-volume, but relatively few individuals know how/why the full process. But since you're using lower skilled lower paid staff, this usually tends to result in an initial poor quality phase during ramp-up, but in theory they will learn from their mistakes and invest wisely over time.

        You would expect them to have caught up after 10 years. Honestly I tend to see the same thing happen when new products/processes come out at big software/engineering forms. The product is usually wobbly and full of bugs on day 1!

    2. Professor_Iron

      Re: Step it up!

      The "they have stolen it!" excuse is becoming a bit boring. No doubt China snitched a lot of Western IPs - and will continue to do so - but they were not the pioneers of industrial espionage. The French and Israeli regularly steal technologies as well, yet nobody goes "Oh, this French airplane gives me déja vu" or "I think I saw this Israeli software somewhere else". Not to mention the Taiwanese whom's knockoff capacitors were so bad that they've caused a worldwide electronics apocalypse just in the beginning of this century (reason why so many advertisement stil includes the 100% Japanese capacitors slogan).

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Step it up!

        The French and Israeli regularly steal technologies as well

        Fifty years ago when I worked for the scientific side of the MoD, our security briefings on espionage boiled down to "The USSR are the worst threat, they want military secrets. The Israelis are the second worst threat, they are interested in military secrets plus anything that will give them a commercial advantage. Russian spies are usually obvious, Israelis less so."

      2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Re: Step it up!

        Coincidentally, a story in today's Graun about the Brit who patented the wrought iron process and kicked off the Industrial Revolution. Apparently, he nicked it from some Jamaican slaves.

        1. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: Step it up!

          It been the case for a very long time. It was never the first to invent, but the first to patent.

          Now it's the one with the biggest cash reserves.

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Step it up!

      The Japanese copied their production and QA processes from the US. You learn from the leaders. They also as both a nation and a culture were incapable of innovating we were told repeatedly. Sometimes its true, their culture bred conformity, but you'd be surprised how fast people can learn when they need to. These days I wouldn't call anything Japanese 'an inferior copy'.

      Chinese culture is a bit different. They're more free wheeling - entrepreneurial - so they'll trying anything that promises to make a quick buck (yuan?). They, too, tend to be hard working like their Japanese neighbors but the main difference between them and their neighbors is that there's a lot of them. About five times the population of the US (and its a good bit more diverse than you'd expect, probably due to the country being about the size of Europe.) Their society is geared towards making use of everyone's talents -- fortunately for us, not that efficiently (yet) -- so we are going to be faced with increasingly formidable competition. Its actually nothing new -- the Chinese have gone through phases of inventing all sorts of useful stuff (e.g. ceramics -- "Willow Pattern" is definitely not of European origin, neither is the process to make it) -- so we really have a choice of either railing against them for being foreign ("IP theft") or stepping up our game. Its just that unlike last time when their exports were proving to be a nuisance we're not going to be able to swamp them with opium, they're onto us.

      1. Merrill

        Re: Step it up!

        Japan learned quality control processes from W. Edwards Deming in the late '40s, early '50s. He is revered in Japan. Not so much in the US, although he tried there as well.

      2. munnoch Bronze badge

        Re: Step it up!

        | so they'll trying anything that promises to make a quick buck (yuan?).

        Therein lies their problem, if you can make the buck without all that annoying 'does it work' stuff then why bother. I work with a number of Chinese mainlanders doing software. Its all about perception with them. Quick, cheap, badly conceived, but big high 5's all round because you 'delivered'.

        But the unintended consequences of the sanctions are that they will be forced to up their domestic game and will almost certainly become good enough its just a question of when.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "wonder what they've been paying for"

    They've been paying for megacorp's quarterly profits.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The importance of happiness for innovation

    I wonder how happy the Chinese are compared to Taiwanese, North Americans or Europeans. How safe and free to act they feel. Or is a lot of their activity based on fear. How optimistic they are about the future. How much they trust each other to be able to collaborate well. Are those factors important?

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: The importance of happiness for innovation

      If I was poor and had to choose between living in the US or China it wouldn't be a slam dunk choice. In the US there are no rights to heathcare and no employment rights. The democratic rights and freedoms they boast about are worthless because the Supreme Court has take over the role of (white, right-wing) law making but if you're black or latino and live in a Gerrymandered district your vote's worthless anyway. The religious right look at the Taliban's grip on Afghanistan with envy as they ban abortion, books, art and limit education and there's even a travel advisory for black people travelling to Florida. And all that with the serious prospect of either a return for Trump or, and probably much worse, Pence.

      The UK might be a pretty shit place today if you're poor, but it's a fucking paradise compared to the US.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The importance of happiness for innovation

        Please tell us where you were educated. I'l like to make sure I don't hire any of them.

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