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中國不再是廉價工廠是科技中心

时间:2019-05-03 10:28:52 来源:互联网 阅读:1次

When confronted by claims that its swelling trade surplus reflects unfair treatment of overseas goods, China has long had a ready comeback: that foreign-invested firms account for at least half of its exports.

Chinese officials argue that foreigners use China simply as their final point of assembly in Asia, making use of its cheap labour and land while keeping most of their profits and the manufacturing of high-tech inputs offshore.

This argument, however, is starting to look increasingly frayed, with a sea change in recent years in the attitude of many multinationals, who now view China and its huge emerging market as a future hub for science and technology.

The trend was confirmed in a lengthy paper released this week at a conference in Beijing by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in conjunction with Chinese researchers.

“The time when foreign investors invested in China only to take advantage of cheap manufacturing platforms is over,” the report says.

The OECD said “its best guess” was that foreign research and development now accounts for about per cent of all business RD in China. In this respect, the foreign share of RD in China is similar to that in many European countries.

Multinationals' RD is focused on information technology because of China's strength in mobile communications and the manufacture of computers. But it is also spreading into other sectors, including biotech, drugs and autos.

Companies that have established research bases in China, or have announced plans to, include Novartis, General Electric, Microsoft, Intel and Motorola.

With China's emphasis on innovation, the centres have long made for good public relations and government relations for the multinationals. As with Chinese companies, much of the work by foreign companies was initially focused more on “D” than “R”, with little basic research.

The OECD's findings back this up, with the multinationals surveyed by the researchers saying many centres had initially been used to modify existing products for the Chinese market ahead of exploring new ideas for the rest of the world.

But the survey also found that this is starting to change, with an increasing number of multinationals beginning to see China as a base for genuine research.

Although the OECD said reliable information on this trend was difficult to find, “anecdotal evidence, firms' surveys and experts' judgments suggest it is gaining momentum and is likely to amplify”.

The Chinese market and its consumers and their likely influence in the global economy in the near future are the greatest drawcards, especially in the information technology sector. The dimensions and competitiveness of the Chinese mobile phone market, for example, means it naturally has the potential to become a source of global innovation.

Chinese engineers are also relatively cheap compared with much of the rest of the world. And politically speaking, “window dressing” RD centres no longer work for multinationals.

In a sense, foreign firms are simply tracking industry trends in China. RD spending overall in China “has increased at a stunning rate of 19 per cent a year since 1995, and reached $30bn in 2005, the sixth largest in the world,” the OECD says.

Patent applications are doubling every two years. The RD-to-gross domestic product ratio has doubled in a decade, during a period of spectacularly strong economic growth, to 1.34 per cent in 2005, from 0.6 per cent 10 years earlier.

The multiple barriers to foreigners investing heavily in genuine RD in China are much the same as the disincentives that have held up innovation in China itself, in spite of the drive by the government to lift the country's indigenous technological prowess.

An uncertain legal system that offers poor protection for intellectual property, a lack of experienced professionals and a frail financial environment in which banks are most comfortable lending to state enterprises have all undermined innovation.

The recent ramp up in RD by foreign firms has been so pronounced that it has even produced a backlash from locals, who see multinationals crowding out local firms in the search for talent.

China also feels hemmed in by foreign domination of technology-standard setting and the valuable licensing fees that can flow from that.

“Foreign firms are seen as dominating standards and technological platforms and reducing Chinese companies to the role of producers with low profit margins,” the OECD says.

Conversely, the decision by multinationals to begin to spend serious money on RD in China has brought a backlash in their own countries, especially in Europe and the US, which worry that such investments will be made at their expense.

For a template on such tensions, there is no better example than Germany. Angela Merkel, the president, who is visiting China this week, has complained strongly to Beijing since taking office about firms investing in China being forced into technology transfers. Partly as a result, relations between the two countries have cooled.

翻译:梁艳裳

如果有人声称,中国日益扩大的贸易顺差反映出海外商品遭到了不公正待遇,中国早就有了一个现成的答复:其出口产品中少有一半来自外资公司。

中国官员认为,外国人只是把中国当作亚洲组装线的一站,他们在利用中国廉价劳动力和土地的同时,将其大部分利润和高科技产品制造业留在海外。

然而,这个观点似乎愈来愈站不住脚了。近几年,许多跨国公司的态度发生了巨大转变,它们现在将中国及其巨大的新兴市场视为未来的科技中心。

本周,总部位于巴黎的经合组织(OECD)与中国研究者合作撰写的一篇论文证实了这1趋势。这份长长的论文是在北京一次会议上公布的。

报告称:“在华外国投资者仅仅利用中国廉价制造业平台的时代已然结束。”

经合组织称,“其乐观的猜测”是,外国研发投入如今约占中国全部企业研发投入的25%至30%。从这点来看,外资在华研发领域所占比例与在许多欧洲国家相当。

由于中国在移动通信和电脑制造方面的优势,跨国公司的研发重点集中在信息科技(IT)上。不过,这一范围也正扩大到其它领域,包括生物科技、药品和汽车。

在中国已成立或宣布计划成立研究基地的企业包括诺华 (Novartis)、通用电气(General Electric)、微软(Microsoft)、英特尔(Intel)和摩托罗拉(Motorola)。

长期以来,由于中国对创新的关注,这些研发中心一直有利于为跨国公司获取良好的公共关系和政府关系。与中国公司一样,外国公司的很多工作初都更多地集中在“开发”而非“研究”上,基础研究更是微乎其微。

经合组织的研究结果支持了这一点。接受研究人员调查的跨国公司表示,在为全球其它市场开发新的创意之前,许多研发中心初都是用来根据中国市场需求改造现有产品。

但是,这份调查还发现,这种情况正开始产生变化。愈来愈多的跨国公司开始将中国视为真正的研究基地。

尽管经合组织称,很难找到有关这一趋势的可靠信息,但“坊间证据、公司调查和专家判断显示,这种趋势正在积聚气力,并有可能扩大”。

中国市场和中国消费者,以及在不久的将来他们对全球经济可能产生的影响力,是的卖点,特别是在IT行业。例如,中国移动市场的规模和竞争力意味着,中国自然而然地拥有成为全球创新源泉的潜力。

此外,与全球其它地区相比,雇用中国工程师的成本相对便宜。从政治角度而言,“粉饰”研发中心对跨国公司而言也不再见效。

从某种意义上而言,外资企业完全是在跟踪中国的行业趋势。经合组织称,中国整体研发支出“自1995年以来,以每年19%的惊人速度增长,2005年达到300亿美元,位居全球第六。”

专利申请数量每两年增加一倍。在过去10年中国经济高速增长时期,研发投入占国内生产总值(GDP)的比例从10年前的0.6%提高到了2005年的1.34%,增长了一倍。

尽管中国政府试图提升中国本土科技实力,但在斥巨资投资于中国真正的研发领域方面,外资企业面临许多与那些阻碍中国创新大致相同的障碍。

不确定的法律体系(造成对知识产权保护不力)、缺乏有经验的专业人士和脆弱的金融环境(银行乐意向国企发放贷款),都破坏了创新。

外国企业在华研发支出近明显上升,以至于引发了本土企业的抗议。它们表示,跨国公司在罗人才的进程中挤走了本土企业。

此外,由于外国企业统治了技术标准的设定及其产生的高额技术许可费,中国也感觉遭到了它们的牵制。

经合组织称:“中国认为,外国企业主导了标准和技术平台,使中国企业沦为低利润率的生产商。”

相反,跨国公司决定在华进行真正研发投资的做法,也招致了其国内的反对,特别是在欧美。反对人士担心,这些投资将牺牲他们自己的利益。

能体现这一紧张态势的例子莫过于德国了。本周访华的德国总统安格拉默克尔(Angela Merkel)自就任以来首次对中国政府提出强烈抗议,称在华投资的德国公司被迫进行技术转让。在一定程度上,两国关系正是由于这个原因而有所冷却。

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