On Wednesday, German German tire and car parts maker Continental AG joined the long line of multinationals who opened a R&D facility in China. The multinationals are way ahead of popular wisdom that technology is developed in the West and ripped off in the East. In reality, development has long left the building and has taken up shop in China.
Continental’s R&D center in northeast Shanghai will have 900 engineers working away by early next year. They will focus on the design and development of vehicle electronics. Shanghai Daily reports that Continental plans another technical center in the Jiading District if Shanghai which will do vehicle development and system testing. Not the stuff you do with a sledgehammer.
Actually, they are late. Other multinationals, such as Microsoft, Motorola, GE, Honeywell and a host of others have long moved large parts of their R&D to China. In 2003, the city of Suzhou already hosted 67 transnational R&D centers. The mouse you use to click this story, the screen it appears on, and the mainboard that processes the info most likely has not just been made, but developed in China.