Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tech: The Chinese gold rush

How many of these cities do you recognise?
Nanjing, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Shenyang, Ji'nan, Xi'an, Urumqi, Chongqing, Zhengzhou, Wuhan.

I only scored two definites out of eleven (Nanjing and Wuhan). That’s the list of cities Oracle is penetrating in its second-tier assault on China. It’s already located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. I scored four out of four here.

Of course, it’s the size of China and high rate of economic expansion that make it the market to lust after. The point being that Oracle knows it pays to be ahead of the game. I don’t expect all those offices to last, but that’s capitalism for you: some bring profit, some don’t. Roger Li, Oracle’s North China MD: “…we are also helping… promote the development of the local economy”. Ooh, it pays to say that.

Interesting to see a modern equivalent of a gold rush. Going back 150 years ago you’d find some Chinese wherever gold was found. Kalgorlie & Coolgardie W.A., the goldfields of Victoria, California, etc. They were escaping poverty. What’s Oracle and compadres doing? Pretty much what capital does best: prospecting.

Everyone’s a winner? The US government doesn’t think so; China’s the looming enemy (see my comments on blocking technology, and Syriana. But capitalism sleeps with anybody. I have to say, it has been known to reduce poverty and war. But don’t think the battle against the evil red scourge has been won. This is all running according to Marx, who expected socialism to develop only when capitalism had nowhere left to go. (see this interpretation for an interesting take.)

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