Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ni Hao! Wo-duh Ming-d'zih Oshkosh Truck

Obviously the big news from yesterday was the announcement that Truck will be doing a lot of business with China in the years to come. That's very good news because it will mean Truck will be looking to hire more people -- by 10:00 this morning I had already heard several Truck recruiting ads on the radio. If this is not the case, well, then making the announcement on Labor Day will look extremely foolish during the next election.

There are a lot of concerns about short-term and mid-term prospects of moving Truck jobs off shore, and specifically to China, but for the foreseeable future those concerns are unfounded -- the reason being is that China is simply not prepared (at the moment) to become a heavy industrial manufacturer. In the summer edition of the Atlantic James Fallows wrote a very extensive article on manufacturing in China in which he interviewed an Irish consultant who helps introduce Western companies with potential Chinese clients. This passage caught my attention:

Why does a foreign company come to our Mr. China [Liam Casey, the aforementioned Irish consultant's nickname]? I ask Casey what he would tell me if I were in, say, some branch of the steel industry in Pittsburgh and was looking to cut costs. "Not interestedly," he said. "The product's too heavy, and you've probably already automated the process, so one person is pushing a button. It would cost you almost as much to have someone push the button in China."

The type of heavy machinery that Truck makes would seem to fit that mold.

All in all this is extremely good new. For years now we've been so habituated to news about buying things from Asia that it's finally good to be able to sell something to a buyer so flush the cash.

[P.S. the title is a loose transliteration of the Mandarin for "Hello! My name is Oshkosh Truck," in case you were curious.]

MORE: On second thought ... see here.

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