Ralf Haller February 2, 2009
Looks like ever since Nokia closed down its mobile phone manufacturing plant in Bochum, Germany, whatever the Finnish company does that looks only slightly controversial, the German public jumps at it vigorously.
This just happened once again in German’s IT portal Heise Online (where comments on news articles are well known for being quite direct and often aggressive, using vulgar language as well). A news article saying that Nokia was pushing the Finnish government to pass a law that would allow it to screen e-mails of its employees generated 400 — mostly hate — comments on Heise Online.
While Nokia won’t make the masses in Germany their friends anymore, also due to the way they handled the closure of the mobile phone plant, I think they should have the right to screen e-mails for suspicious recipients such as competitors’. Espionage by Chinese companies is big. Huawei in particular is known to have copied Cisco routers one-to-one, incl. all its manuals and of course bugs as well. They also copied Ericsson’s GSM network elements and are now only replacing SW parts with their own developments as I heard from some insider sources.
That Nokia seems to have similar issues with Huawei is not surprising. To think though that they could protect themself by screening e-mails I think is a bit naive. Someone stealing design insights would hardly use company e-mails to do so.
Ralf Haller November 30, 2008
So far my impressions on this last long business trip for 2008 have been mixed. While you can read and hear quite a lot of bad economic news, such as closure of 50% of manufacturing facilities for toys or clothes in Shenzhen and other areas, Shanghai gives the impression of business as usual. In the telecom industry, the introduction of a third operator, China Telecom, alongside China Mobile and China Unicom, was yet another smart move by the Chinese authorities (in Shanghai they are called Shanghai Mobile, Shanghai Unicom and Shanghai Telecom). It will lead to even more investment, as well as making the operators more quality- and service-oriented, as consumers have more choice now. Still, people I talked to are pessimistic, and expect real problems still to come. One consultant from the Waigaoqiao business district whose job it is to attract direct foreign investment sees clear signs of less activity now, and even less in 2009.
Then again, the Chinese government has cash in hand like no other nation in the world, and has already announced it will be using part of it for an economic stimulus package. Moreover, in Shanghai’s financial district, Pudong, China’s third major high-rise project was kicked off yesterday, signaling to the world “business goes on…”. Along with the Jinmao and World Financial Towers, there will in a few years be an even higher (600+ m) skyscraper. So China continues to think big, even in somewhat troubled times. It is also moving on to produce its own high-tech products; this time you were able to read and see on TV about the first China-produced passenger jet trial flight out of Shanghai, the 33m-long Xiang Feng (Flying Phoenix).
ARJ21 has already received 208 orders and is planned to ship in 18 months. In this industry, too, China is determined to become a tough competitor like ZTE and Huawei became in the telecom industry with combined orders now of 49 bln USD in 2008.