Mittwoch, Dezember 07, 2005

Charming, but naive...

In today's Handelsblatt there is an article about Airbus' deal with China for 150 A320s. The deal is unique because Airbus makes the commitment to do the final assembly in China, not in Europe. McDonnel Douglas tried this in the 1980s and failed, since the Chinese partner (Shanghai Aviation Industrial Corporation) wasn't able to provide the quality that McDonnell Douglas needed. But the real fear is technology transfer and the loss of jobs.

According to the paper, Gustav Humbert, the boss of Airbus, discounts these problems. He insists that it won't be a problem, since Airbus will retain control of their technology: Airbus will set up a new company in China for this purpose and will retain a controlling interest to avoid reverse engineering and the creation of a Chinese competitor, that last from Noel Forgeard from EADS, the parent company of Airbus.

After all, the Germans are protecting against technology transfer as well: the sale of 60 ICE-3 trains with end assembly in China is protected as well, since the train's software will still come from Germany.

Charming, but naive. Incredibly naive. Mind-boggling naive.

All that these companies are doing is CYA for when the shareholders come in 10 years' time and ask "Who the hell sold the Chinese this technology? My investment is now worthless! Who can I sue?"

When the Chinese reverse engineer the software for the ICE-3, they'll probably rewrite it so that there are fewer bugs. Maybe then the airconditioning will actually work in the summer.

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