China and America

WSJ has an editorial page article by Charlene Barshefsky and Edward Gresser entitled “Revolutionary China, Complacent America.”

China is opening to the world, merging its low costs and vast manpower reserves with the financial and technological strengths of its wealthier neighbors. In the process, it is rapidly creating an informal “Asian Union” — a deeply integrated Asian economy with a GDP equal to America’s, a population six times as large, the technological and financial strengths of an advanced economy and the cost advantages of a developing one. This powerful competitive challenge cannot be met by protectionist legislation, penalty tariffs or bans on Chinese investment. Instead, America needs a strategic response that rethinks our own consumption and debt-led growth, addresses our competitive weaknesses and reshapes our approach to Asian trade and global financial institutions.

America faces no such grim future: What we do face, however, is a substantial challenge. We have been the leading economy for a century. But other countries of similar size and potential can catch up — if they try, and we remain content with past glories. China’s economy has tripled in size since 1980 and continues to grow at 9% per year: it could equal ours by 2020. China is also climbing the tech ladder, investing in ports, coastal-road systems, telecom networks, research centers and universities. It draws $50 billion a year in foreign direct investment, and topped $60 billion in 2004. It is already getting results, first shifting from exports of light, labor-intensive manufactured goods to heavy industry and technology, and now to a new role as financier and outward investor. This is happening because China is getting some big things right; its neighbors are contributing to and benefiting from its success; and we are not keeping up.

Japan Mobile Media

[via Smart Mobs] Mobile Media Review provides a nice overview.

The Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA) recorded 88,536,000 keitai subscriptions in Japan in July 2005. The NTT DoCoMo Group led the market with 49,429,600 subscriptions, KDDIs au mobile came in second with 20,122,700, third place Vodafone K.K. had 14,966,600, and Tu-Ka Group came in fourth at 3,556,700.

In a country where nearly 70 percent of the population is said to own at least one keitai, technological advances become critical not only in supplying user demand for enhanced content, but also in creating market demand for new hardware so as to maintain healthy keitai product cycles. The strategy appears to be successful: according to the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), Japanese mobile phone shipments in June 2005 were up 105.8 percent over June 2004, at 4,289,000 units. Of those June 2005 shipments, 3,003,000 keitai were 3G (third generation) units. By 2007, JEITA estimates that 77 percent of overall keitai subscriptions will be 3G units.

Todays keitai applications can be roughly divided into e-mail and voice communications, Web-browsing functionalities, downloadable content, news alerts and updates, advertising and promotions, GPS navigation and e-wallet functionalities.