Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Huawei rising

Economist: "A report based on a survey of over 100 telecoms operators worldwide, carried out by Heavy Reading, a market-research firm, found that Huawei ranked eighth among wireline-equipment suppliers, up from 18th last year. (Cisco came top.) Most strikingly, Huawei ranked fourth in service and support. The report calls Huawei's ascendancy “astounding” and says it has already surpassed several incumbent vendors in perceived market leadership.

As a result, incumbent western firms should be “very scared” of Huawei, says Jean-Charles Doineau of Ovum, a consultancy. Huawei's reputation as a low-cost vendor is only the visible part of the iceberg, he says. Below the waterline, the company has high technical standards, though it is not known for its ability to innovate. It also has a 30% share of the vast Chinese market, equivalent in size to Europe's. Having developed products at the behest of its demanding domestic customers, Huawei can then sell them elsewhere.

Initially, Huawei concentrated on developing countries, but it is now gaining traction in the developed world, in Europe in particular. Last week it was named a key supplier by COLT, a British operator, and also won a $100m broadband contract from Optus, an Australian firm. Huawei has yet to win the endorsement of a first-tier operator, but its gear is being evaluated by BT, Britain's incumbent operator, and by Vodafone, the world's largest mobile operator. BT is expected to announce the suppliers for its new “21st Century Network” soon, and Huawei is on the short list. Arun Sarin, Vodafone's boss, says his firm is watching Huawei closely.

Much of Huawei's competitiveness derives from its low labour costs. Richard Lee, a company spokesman, says Huawei can pay its senior engineers a quarter of the going rate in the developed world, and junior engineers just an eighth."

I don't see any shortage of engineers in China, with over 400K science and engineering degrees awarded each year! (Several times the US figure.) See here for a rough calculation suggesting a larger population of science and engineering PhDs in China than in the US by 2020.

See also this survey of China and India development trends.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping such a good eye on economic news, and for presenting it in all in an understandable manner.

Thanks to you, Anne, Brad Sester and BBC World Business Report, I think I am better informed.


Anonymous said...

MFA :)

This is an intriguing story. I have followed Huawei for some time now.


Anonymous said...


The Debt-Peonage Society

Today the Senate is expected to vote to limit debate on a bill that toughens the existing bankruptcy law, probably ensuring the bill's passage. A solid bloc of Republican senators, assisted by some Democrats, has already voted down a series of amendments that would either have closed loopholes for the rich or provided protection for some poor and middle-class families.

The bankruptcy bill was written by and for credit card companies, and the industry's political muscle is the reason it seems unstoppable. But the bill also fits into the broader context of what Jacob Hacker, a political scientist at Yale, calls "risk privatization": a steady erosion of the protection the government provides against personal misfortune, even as ordinary families face ever-growing economic insecurity.

The bill would make it much harder for families in distress to write off their debts and make a fresh start. Instead, many debtors would find themselves on an endless treadmill of payments.

The credit card companies say this is needed because people have been abusing the bankruptcy law, borrowing irresponsibly and walking away from debts. The facts say otherwise.

A vast majority of personal bankruptcies in the United States are the result of severe misfortune. One recent study found that more than half of bankruptcies are the result of medical emergencies. The rest are overwhelmingly the result either of job loss or of divorce.

To the extent that there is significant abuse of the system, it's concentrated among the wealthy - including corporate executives found guilty of misleading investors - who can exploit loopholes in the law to protect their wealth, no matter how ill-gotten.

One increasingly popular loophole is the creation of an "asset protection trust," which is worth doing only for the wealthy. Senator Charles Schumer introduced an amendment that would have limited the exemption on such trusts, but apparently it's O.K. to game the system if you're rich: 54 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted against the Schumer amendment.

Other amendments were aimed at protecting families and individuals who have clearly been forced into bankruptcy by events, or who would face extreme hardship in repaying debts. Ted Kennedy introduced an exemption for cases of medical bankruptcy. Russ Feingold introduced an amendment protecting the homes of the elderly. Dick Durbin asked for protection for armed services members and veterans. All were rejected....


Anonymous said...


A Fighting Strategy for Veterans

Military veterans are crying foul over President Bush's budget proposals to cut spending on their health care. The budget must not be balanced "on the backs of veterans," wrote Stephen P. Condon, the chairman of the Air Force Association, in a recent letter to The Times, a point that was echoed by other veterans at Congressional hearings last month. We agree with the veterans - but for somewhat different reasons than they have put forth.

The veterans' goal is to block the president's attempt to impose new hospital fees, higher prescription co-payments and other spending constraints - all of which would add up to an estimated 16 percent reduction in veterans' benefits in 2010. (The estimate is from the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities because the administration, breaking with 16 years of budget tradition, did not provide five-year projections for specific programs.) But if veterans succeed in preserving only their own benefits, they will have been outfoxed by the administration.

Mr. Bush knows that wartime is no time to go after veterans' benefits. But by proposing changes that are politically implausible while challenging Congress to cut spending, the administration gains a bargaining chip: if lawmakers aren't willing to make the veterans' cuts the president has proposed, they will be pressured to make even deeper cuts in programs for people who don't have the veterans' ability to fight back.

In effect, Mr. Bush's budget pits veterans against the 660,000 women, infants and children whose food assistance is on the chopping block; against the 120,000 preschoolers who would be cut from Head Start; against the 370,000 families and disabled and elderly individuals who would lose rental assistance; against the whole communities that would lose support for clean air and drinking water; and so on....


Anonymous said...

A gift to MFA :)


Mumbai to Midtown, Chaat Hits the Spot

ASKING Indians in America about chaat, India's national snacks, is like asking Americans in India about burgers: the word unleashes unbearable cravings, nostalgia and homesickness. "I remember going to Kwality Snacks for papri chaat when I was a boy," said Gandar Nasri, 74, a retired New York City taxi driver, who moved from Delhi in 1955. "Nothing will ever taste like that again."

Taste a good chaat, and you understand why it is not soon forgotten.

Chaats are jumbles of flavor and texture: sweet, sour, salty, spicy, crunchy, soft, nutty, fried and flaky tidbits, doused with cool yogurt, fresh cilantro and tangy tamarind and sprinkled with chaat masala, a spice mixture that is itself wildly eventful. The contrasts are, as one fan said, "a steeplechase for your mouth," with different sensations galloping by faster than you can track them.

All Indians in America are homesick for the same thing, said Mitra Choudhuri, a software engineer from Gujarat, who lives in Fort Collins, Colo. "There is no chaat here, only curries," he said.

But in the New York region that has finally changed. In Jersey City the Little India strip on Newark Avenue is lined with places for chaats and sweets, while only one restaurant serves the rich curries familiar to most Americans as Indian food. (Indians call those dishes Punjabi, after Punjab, the northern region where they originated.) In Jackson Heights, Queens, signs for new chaat menus flutter from many awnings, reflecting, according to Sanjiv Mody, an owner of Rajbhog Foods, a growing insistence by Indians in America on the authentic foods of home.

And at last two popular, top-quality chaat specialists have opened in Midtown Manhattan: Dimple Fast Food and Sukhadia's Sweets. Manhattan has lately been seized by a craze for Indian snacks, with upscale new places like Spice Market, Bombay Talkie, Von Singh's, Devi, Lassi and Babu all claiming Indian street food as an inspiration. Many of them adapt well to New York-style eating on the run, especially flatbreads like parathas and chapatis and wraps like dosas, kati rolls and Bombay frankies (a roti wrapped around tandoori chicken). In India today fast food is likely to be Chinese or to reflect the Portuguese influence: pau, rolls stuffed with vegetable curry or with a fried potato patty, are now hugely popular.

But chaat is what Indians have traditionally eaten between meals: after work, after school, on the way to the bus, at the beach. The word refers not to snacks in general, but to these specific mixes of crunch and salt with the classic toppings of yogurt, cilantro and tamarind. Chaats seem to have originated in Delhi, made from broken papadums (papri chaat). But Amita Kataria, a manager of the Bengali Sweet Shop in Jersey City, said, "Everyone in India, and Pakistan, too, now eats chaat." She said that the most popular chaats in New Jersey are the same as in India: pani puri, papri chaat and samosa chaat, for which she fries each samosa to order. (Many places simply microwave prefried samosas, which makes them both soggy and tough.)

All over India chaat wallahs, snack vendors, ply their trade from street carts or small storefronts. Like New York's hot dog vendors they are ubiquitous in parks, at train stations, in busy shopping streets. Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai (the former Bombay) is legendary all over India for the quality and variety of its chaats. Some chaats are light and crunchy, like an ethereally flavored snack mix, and others are practically lunch, like samosa chaat: piping hot samosas split open and covered with spicy chick peas, minced onion and cilantro, yogurt and tamarind. Chaats are mixed to your specifications (spicier, not so much cilantro, extra chickpeas), handed over on a banana leaf and devoured instantly.

"Chaats are like every flavor of chips and every kind of pizza you have here," said Dave Sharma, an owner of Amma, a Midtown restaurant, who is from Mumbai. "We eat chaat whenever we have a small hunger, but we will travel miles to get a good one. And people are loyal to their favorites."

Some legendary chaat wallahs, like Vital Bhelwala in Mumbai, have occupied the same space or patch of sidewalk for generations. Mumbai, and Mr. Bhelwala in particular, are famous for bhel puri, a puffed-rice chaat with bits of mint and potato. "We say that the flavor of the chaat is in the chaat wallah's hands," Mr. Sharma said. "And it's true, literally and figuratively." ...

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I love Asian foods.

Blogger comments are often fiercely slow. Nice Blogger... :)


Blog Archive