Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Truck Deal, a Clarification

It just occurred to me that I probably got the rationale for the Truck deal wrong earlier today.

China already has a burgeoning automotive industry, but it's success in manufacturing lies in the fact that it can use it's human resources to make a whole lot of a given product and make it cheaply. Theoretically, they could convert one of the auto factories into a fire engine factory, but what's the point of doing that? They want to manufacture things that can appeal to a mass market, not specialty items. Furthermore, cars not only able to the nascent auto culture in China, but they also accelerate industrialization by promoting travel and the purchasing of expensive items.

Fire trucks don't do that. They may facilitate the kind of urbanization China is undergoing, but they do not necessarily encourage it. In the end it's probably just cheaper for them to just buy those kinds of things abroad than to try to create an entire industry around a highly technical product with a much lower demand threshold.

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