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Monday, October 27, 2003

It's the Services Stupid

Following up on the last post, and pushing as hard as I can, Dutch free-trader and China blogger Fons Tuinstra is going for this from much the same direction that I am. For those of you who don't read the fistful comments section (shame on you!) he has a couple of nice pieces on China itself:

"Yet another signal that China will be hitting the services in a hard way. McDonalds asked Leo Burnett China to do the commercial of their new slogan in a host of languages, writes the Far Eastern Economic Review today. (not for free available).The paper writes: "In McDonald's history, all of our creative direction was led by America. But we now said: "Let the best ideas win'," says Larry Light, the global chief marketing officer of McDonald's. And in a competition for pitches from ad firms from around the world, China came top with half a dozen ideas. The competitors even voted the China team the most imaginative of McDonald's global network."


"It's the services, you stupid!

While the US manufacturers keep on complaining about unfair competition from China, the real battle for jobs is taking place in the service sector, today again the HSBC shows. An article in the Wall Street Journal says that the banking conglomerate will shed 4,000 jobs in the UK over the next three years, because work is going to India, China and Malaysia. No low-end jobs, but data processing and call centers, mainly backoffice work.

I have visited in the past one of the HSBC data processing centers here in Shanghai. While the work in itself is very repetitive and even boring after say, ten minutes, you do need rather good English skills to grasp the meaning of the forms and letters you have to deduct the data from. Call centers seems more a thing for India, although I have heard stories that also neighboring Hangzhou has some of them."

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