UPFRONT Signs of a shrinking world?

From manufacturing to software to science – there are signs that global outsourcing is heading upstream, according to study recently presented to one of America’s leading advisory groups on science and technology, the National Academies.
After surveying more than 200 multinational corporations based in the United States and Europe, the study found close to 40 percent plan substantial changes to the global distribution of their R&D work – and are increasingly forging links with universities in emerging markets like China and India. The rationale isn’t necessarily financial – often products or processes need local know-how and there is no shortage of brainpower to be found in offshore markets.
Companies cited in New York Times report as either having or establishing new R&D centres in China and India included Dow Chemical and IBM. The study highlights the fact that most big companies have become “global shoppers for talent”.
Meanwhile close collaborations of more sinister kind were also in the news last month as US internet giants – Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco Systems – appeared before House of Representatives human rights panel accused of bending cherished American values to enter the booming Chinese market. What worth freedom of speech when the companies comply with Beijing’s demands to censor the content available to Chinese customers, outraged political reps demanded.
The companies are being called on what were described as “abhorrent” actions – such as cooperating with Beijing to block access to information, censor internet messages and even help track down cyber dissidents.
Google has recently attracted criticism for its new China-specific search site filters which block any references to Tibet or Taiwan for example – move justified by the company on the basis that the compromised service will at least “make meaningful, though imperfect, contribution to the overall expansion of information in China”.
You can read all about it on Yahoo! News – or find further references via Google.

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