China Wants To Drain Some Detroit Brain

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
china wants to drain some detroit brain

Are you in automotive R&D? Experience and successful track record in automotive marketing? Worried about your job? Polish up your resume. Chinese automakers are hiring. “After considering the risk of buying US auto manufacturers’ assets, Chinese automakers realized that targeting their research and development (R&D) talent would be a more realistic and profitable option,” writes China Daily today.

China Daily called around. Zeng Qinghong, General Manager of Guangzhou Automobile Group, for instance said that his company is not interested at all in buying brands or whole companies in the U.S.A. However, he’s very interested in US auto professionals. The head of his research center had already been on a recruitment trip to the US, and he was surprised: “Interest shown by US auto talents in Guangzhou Auto exceeded expectations.” Xu Heyi, board chairman of Beijing Automotive Industry Corp said that they are also interested in talent from the US. Even the Chinese government is prodding their auto industrialists to buy themselves some foreign know-how.

Says China Daily: “In recent years, China’s auto industry experienced a rapid annual growth of over 20 percent. However, a shortage of technical experts and high level management executives became a bottleneck for the growing industry. A capable auto R&D engineer in the US typically has eight to ten years of experience in the industry, while higher education for professional R&D experts in China is still a thing of the future.”

Shanghai Securities News finds a fly in the ointment: Money. They figure, the annual after tax wages of an auto engineer with ten years of R&D experience in the US is between $120,000 and $140,000, “a salary Chinese auto manufacturers are not able to afford.” Not true. I happen to know what joint ventures pay for top talent, and it’s way above that. Add to this the perks of a serviced apartment, a live-in maid that charges you $200 a month if you pay a lot, cost of living way below the US, and the prospects look quite interesting. If you are single, half of China will want to marry you. If you are married, your wife won’t want to go home where she has to cook and make her husband do the dishes. Life in Guangzhou, Shanghai, or Beijing would definitely be better than in Detroit. Just don’t let them lure you to the smaller cities inland. You’d go bonkers.

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  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Dec 19, 2008

    In my experience, Mr. Derbyshire could just as easily been describing the United States in the above paragraph. Simply substitute the appropriate words, and voila. Very interesting. I'd entertain a few years in China, as engineering is my field. My only fear would be that Crackers is roughly correct, it would be strictly a temporary affair and the Chinese will be only to quick to drop you once they've learned what they can, and China-clone it themselves (as has been the general case with everything else Chinese of late).

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Dec 19, 2008

    I wouldn't worry about obsolsescence. The US and European standards are a moving target. I spend most of my time explaining the most simple ECE rules again and again. Here is the beauty: On Chinese Universities, you either learn languages, or you learn engineering. There is an incredible shortage of engineers who speak English, or any foreign language.

  • SCE to AUX Good summary.I still think autonomous driving should be banned until some brave mfr claims Level 5 capability, and other distractions like games and videos should only be available for stationary vehicles.As for the A/C, I just turn a knob in my Hyundai EV.
  • MrIcky My bet is flood.
  • Lou_BC "A Stellantis employee recommended the change after they had a near-miss with an emergency vehicle they couldn’t hear."I was at a traffic light and the car next to me had the stereo cranked. My whole truck was vibrating. A firetruck was approaching lights and sirens. They should have seen it since it was approaching from their side. Light changed and they went. It was almost a full on broad-side. People are stupid. A green light at an intersection does not mean it is safe to go. You still have to look especially at a "fresh" green. Idiots run the light, an emergency vehicle is coming, or it's icy and vehicles can't stop.
  • Lou_BC My kids drove around in a 2 wheel drive Chevy Colorado crew cab I bought off a neighbour when they were moving to Alberta. We kept it 4 years but sold it recently due to various engine codes popping up and the engine sounding more tired. It was one of the inline 5's known to have soft valve seats. All I had to repair was new front brakes and rotors, a wheel bearing and a battery. Both kids wrecked a tire clipping a curb. My oldest backed into it with his pickup which required a grill and headlight replacement. We bought a 2008 Corolla as a replacement for my 19 year old. It came with 4 new summers and a set of decent winter tires on rims. We'll run that until it looks like it will implode/explode. My oldest currently has 3 Cherokees (2 for parts), an F150 "Jelly bean", and a Mercury Grand Marquis. Insurance is very expensive for young drivers. That's why beaters can save some money. I haven't put them on my new truck's insurance since that would add around 90 per month in costs. I'll add my oldest to it temporarily so he can use it to get his "full" driver's license.
  • Arthur Dailey I grew up in an era when a teenager could work pumping gas or bussing tables and be able to purchase a vehicle for a couple of thousand dollars and drive it with 'uninsured' status.If a parent advised on the purchase of the vehicle, they would most often point us to a large, stripped/base version, domestic sedan with the smallest possible engine.These cars generally had terrible driving dynamics and little to no safety features, but were easy to work, had large bench seats/interiors and not enough power to get out of their own way.