Friday, July 09, 2004

[feedback requested] "The Golden Triangle": The U.S., India & China -- The Global IT Powers?

Friday, July 9, 2004
Dateline: China
Among the articles I'm writing is a piece on what is commonly referred to as "The Golden Triangle":  The United States, India, China (the acronym "USIC" sounds better than the alternatives, hence the ordering).
I'd like to include some quotes and since senior execs from most of the leading SIs in China read this blog, I'd like you to chime in and send me your thoughts.  (Feel free to send them in Mandarin.)  BTW, anyone reading this message/posting is free to chime in, but please be sure to provide your title and company information along with your name.  Also, please reply via a corporate account, not a Web-based e-mail account.
My basic premise is that the Golden Triangle countries will be the most significant force in the IT sector for at least the next twenty years, with an emergence of virtual corporations spanning all three countries.  Not surprisingly, Lee Quan Yu seems to think that Singapore will be a key link in this equation.  Although I think very highly of Singers, I think they're irrelevant.  I also think that Malaysia and the Philippines will be marginalized over the next twenty years.  I'll go so far as to say that South Korea and even Japan will become much less important relative to India and China.  (Controversy makes for good press.  )  Samsung may remain a significant force, perhaps becoming the only company in the Koreas worth noting.  Japan will remain a regional economic superpower, but I foresee China and India surpassing the importance of Japan in the IT sector.  (In some ways, I feel that Japan is going to become increasingly isolated.  However, the Japanese have a knack for adapting to new circumstances and their current economic power will sustain them for decades to come -- with a potential reversal of fortune around 2050, especially since they'll be the first large country to deal with the problems associated with the inverse pyramid of a homogeneous population.  Unless China and India can grow fast -- VERY fast -- this same situation might lead to their eventual doom circa 2060-2070.)
Another premise is that Europe will become increasingly irrelevant and that the current interest in the Czech Republic, Russia and other Eastern European countries for IT outsourcing (ITO) is merely a passing fad on the global scene -- although significant for a European hegemony.
I don't want to get too pie-in-the-sky about this stuff.  My focus is really on the next three to five years, not really on the next twenty or fifty years.  Futures, such as the possibility of a joint U.S.-India-China tridominium military alliance, are fascinating stuff (and I regularly read the scholarly journal, Futures -- it's not a SF <science fiction> rag, it's an academic research journal).  But my take is more along the lines of the journal, Technology Forecasting & Social Change -- but with a near(er)-term perspective than most of the papers in TF&SC.
So, what are your thoughts?  Will the U.S., India and/or China come to dominate the IT industry?  (Or, have they already?)  What about the idea of virtual corporations, especially systems integrators and software vendors, spanning all three countries -- but also spanning within the Golden Triangle at the expense of Europe and even Japan?  And what about India and China versus Japan and South Korea -- and versus Malaysia and the Philippines?  Or, is it really the U.S. and India WITHOUT China, given the commonality of language and legal systems (and how quickly can China "upgrade" its legal systems and lack of English skills -- or does this provide opportunities in specific parts of China, e.g., Shenzhen and Hong Kong, where English-language skills among IT professionals are much more common)?  Or, is it really India and China WITHOUT the States, with India and China forming some sort of (un)spoken bi-lateral economic codominium?
Remember, however, to focus your comments on the next five years -- and on the IT sector.  If you want to speculate about long(er)-term futures, please do so, but explicitly state the time frame in your comments.  (Unless told otherwise, I'll assume that all comments are about developments over the next five years.)  Also, let me know if anything you say is off the record; I'll be assuming the entire content of each response is on the record.  For example, I wouldn't be surprised to receive many negative comments regarding Europe's future prospects, but OFF-the-record comments.
For this particular response, please do NOT hit "Reply" to this message.  Instead, click on and send me your viewpoints.
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China (and I guess I need an address in India, too!!  )