Nine of the world’s largest tech firms ain’t anywhere near Silicon Valley


FoxConn data centers

China is now home to nine of the world’s largest public tech companies in terms of market value. They include Alibaba, Tencent, Ant Financial, Baidu, Xiaomi, Didi Chuxing, JD.com, Meituan-Dianping, and Toutiao.

With well over a billion citizens and an ever-growing market, China’s rise in the tech market is understandable. Compared to the United States, the Asian country is outpacing, in leaps and bounds, the number of degrees awarded in science and engineering. This highly skilled labor force is paying off in China’s tech world and its expansion.

Just five years ago the Asian giant had only two of the world’s biggest public tech companies in market value. The United States boasted nine of the largest.

I know all of the rationales Americans – more than any Westerners outside of the UK – roll out to disparage faster and more dynamic growth in Asian countries. I worked for American and British firms sourced significantly from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China over a few decades. Some of the crap excuses worked for a few years; but, in every case, the reason those producers ran right past their Anglo-American counterparts was higher standards, a willingness to invest time and money in education, trained staff to accomplish product development and production more efficiently.

The single best example, nowadays, would be FoxConn – a Taiwan company mostly manufacturing in Mainland China. Ask anyone with knowledge of American manufacturing and assembly experience how long it takes to completely switchover a plant from one product line to another? You’ll get an answer measured in weeks. FoxConn takes hours, perhaps a couple of days. Because they will pay 1500 process engineers to takeover that plant floor and rollout a changeover in that time frame. I don’t know any American firms that can scrape together that many spare engineering staff – or would.

And I don’t know of any state in the GOUSA that’s capable of or concerned about educating engineers or researchers ready to develop similar systems here in the US – or in the UK. Yes, cultures are different in many ways. But, I’m just offering real reasons why we don’t compete.

3 thoughts on “Nine of the world’s largest tech firms ain’t anywhere near Silicon Valley

  1. List of X says:

    It’s not a cultural thing when Foxconn can pay each one of those 1500 engineers 10-15% of what a US counterpart would be paid in salary and benefits.

  2. moss says:

    Median income for process engr in the US = $71K+

    Median middle class income in China (lately) = $9000/16000/yr…per McKinsey. Looks to me that these process engineers are doing pretty well in their society – if they earned 10-15% of US counterpart….But, they do even better than that which is the economic/cultural point, I believe. “Typical” salary for process engineers at FoxConn is $54K+. “The typical Foxconn Assembly Process Engineer salary is $54,176. Process Engineer salaries at Foxconn Assembly can range from $43,312-$65,973.” – courtesy of Bing search.

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