By on November 29, 2012

Where are Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin when we need them? The crusaders against China getting its hands on precious American intellectual properties must go bonkers when they hear this: In the olden days, the Chinese had to steal and rob know-how from America. No longer necessary: Americans outsource know-how creation to China. At the forefront: General Motors.

Today, GM opened the final phase (the video above was for the first phase, but is still pertinent) of the GM China Advanced Technical Center in Shanghai. According to a GM statement, the center “will support advances in technology, powertrains, electrification and vehicle design for GM on a local and global basis.”

The center will focus on “new energy,” which is, says Reuters, “a Chinese codeword for heavily electrified technology that powers all-electric battery cars and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.”

The center wants to harvest the abundant and still relatively cheap engineering talent in China. As John Du, a director of the new center told Reuters:

“There’s tremendous people capability in China with more science and engineering graduates than the U.S., Japan, and Germany combined. China now ranks first in the world in the number of PhD candidates, and these are talents we want to attract into the GM R&D and engineering workforce. Not just to develop product for China market.”

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11 Comments on “American Know-how, Made In China: GM Opens New Tech Center In Shanghai...”

  • avatar


    Debbie Stabenow gets reelected to third term! Now constituents don’t have to worry about hearing from her again for six years.

  • avatar

    Good lord.. a Chinese PHD is on average worse than a typical western Masters degree.

    I’ve dealt with Bachelor’s degree engineers here, while their math skills are great their ability to problem solve sucks..

    Why does anyone think that throwing a bunch of people at a problem produces good results. It takes good people working together.. neither of which China is providing in great numbers. Does GM think they are somehow special and will attract better graduates somehow?

    Or are they just looking for the turtle market (Chinese who have foreign degrees who have come back to China) There’s enough of them that this might work but bleh..

    This is stupid, however as long at no money was transferred from the USA to here, and they used the profits from GM China, I can live with this decision even though I don’t like it and I think long term it’s a bad idea.

    Just watch intellectual property walk out the door on a nearly daily basis. Should be fun to watch.

    • 0 avatar

      Do the Chinese accept/understand the concept of ‘intellectual property’?

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        No, they’ll even have the plans to the Vega before all this is done. I’m more worried that GM will release their “Beta” products on a different continent and watch sales plummet. Beta? Their diesel in the 80’s and digital dashboards. Be careful what you wish for.

      • 0 avatar

        Whisky Tango Foxtrot what r u talking about, need to whack some senses into your cotton pickin mind.
        sadly the thrill is gone to build or design any new things in american soil.
        pray the new oil frackling may give US a lease of life. with high cost of dino oil to get things moved across US continent is just killing us.
        also many things are petroleum derivatives from drugs to plastics ( also your credit cards )
        then what will the enviro-nazis have to say?

  • avatar

    “Not just to develop product for China market.”

    For also make benefit glorious nation of America?

  • avatar

    When will GM move their corporate HQ to Shanghai?

  • avatar

    Hey, this really is a smooth move! At last the top management and board at GM have recognized that China, and to some extent Asia, is the future. That’s where the money is. That’s where GM’s salvation is. That’s the path leading to righteousness for GM.

    True, GM cannot ever cut back its assembly operations in the US because of the bailouts, but GM can hold back on expanding its operations in the US because of the diminishing importance of the US auto market and the disincentive of high labor cost in the US.

    Whatever will be developed in Shanghai can always be assembled in the US, Canada and Mexico like GM has done with South Korean partnerships.

    I say this is a prudent business decision and will net GM a great deal of profit, worldwide. They’ve got to go where the money is, and the money is not in the US.

  • avatar

    So, the US government borrows money from China to finance, among other things, the GM bailout, and GM creates jobs in China.

  • avatar

    This is nothing new for Western companies. China has a huge pool of talents. Microsoft has been operating its research center in Beijing for years. GE also its own research center in Shanghai.

  • avatar

    My sources (directly in this game), tell me that the “talents” of these lower-labor cost countries (like China) are their inclination to follow orders without questioning them. (Unlike the pesky, experienced and talented pool of U.S. engineers, who have somehow kept the U.S. companies alive despite the best efforts of the leaders.) Being dictatorial is efficient, unless you have the incompetent, ladder-climber executives telling them what to do, while also making them to use their convoluted, high-cost process to do it.

    U.S. executives think a degree equals talent; it does not.

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