In the article that Alexander wrote about his trip, several industry representatives explain their experiences in and with China. Although their stories vary, a number of conclusions are shared by all interviewees.
One conclusion is that entering China is not easy, nor is setting up and running your business. But China is still growing fast, and it is already strong at cost-reduction-oriented innovation. Foreign enterprises will likely (need to) shift from a low-cost production-only operation to one with technical centers and later on also full-blown R&D teams.
Cheap labor was often mentioned as an initial reason to come to China, but being close to your customers is equally important. Other reasons were raised too, for instance for Tecnotion the monopoly that China has on several natural resources (for magnet production) was an important trigger.
That the entrepreneurs working in China are impressed by China was voiced clearly by Maarten Langendonk (R&D-manager Keytec Suzhou): “China is going to beat everyone”.
Dutch readers are encouraged to read the full story with all the interviews on: Mechatronica&Machinebouw