One trick pony and unthinking ponies

In the 1970s, many Asean countries were manufacturing bases for western manufacturers making shoes, apparels, gadgets, PCBs, computers etc etc. In the 70s, China was still as poor as a church mouse, no industries, no foreign manufacturers in China. In the 80s, China started to open its doors to foreign manufacturers.

Today, China is the factory of the world, leapfrogging itself out of the Asean league and into making new products and improving on them. The Asean countries are still doing the same thing, some still making shoes, apparels and little gadgets.

What is the difference? Why is China running ahead and away, becoming a manufacturing powerhouse while the Asean countries that were ahead in the 1970s have lagged behind and still doing the same little things all over and over again?

The answer, many of the factories in Asean are very happy with the orders to make more shoes, more shirts or more of the same thing, to fill up the orders. They are contented just to be a supplier, to make and deliver products ordered. China and South Korea did something more. They copied the same successful formula of Japan, reverse engineering, to improve on the products and to make them at cheaper cost. They were able to add value to the products by lowering cost and improving productivity and quality.

The Asean states just continued to make shoes and products designed by he original manufacturers, nothing more, nothing less. No need to think of improving quality and productivity, no need to innovate or wanting to develop or build new products. Just be subcontractors, not OEMs or ODMs.
So, while China moves on to the next level, the Asean little factories remain stagnant, remain where they were 50 years ago, doing the same old things, making the same old products from the same production lines.

This is the difference and why China turns itself from a poor agrarian economy into a huge manufacturing base for the world and the Asean countries are still where they are, like before, unchanging. They are not only one trick ponies but unthinking ponies, unable to innovate and move to a higher level of manufacturing. Bring in the big MNCs and do as told, good enough, just provide the cheap labour and earn wages.

Japan is also losing out thought they were constantly innovating, losing out on cost. What the Japanese can do, the South Koreans and Chinese can do just as well and better and cheaper. Period. There is on competition. Asean countries are even worst, lagging further and further behind and unable to catch up with the change.

PS. Some Asean countries are still thinking that China is a backward country and wanting to teach China how to do business and how to move up the economic and technology ladder.

And Happy 2017 to everyone.


KTLim said...

Happy New Year!
May you be well & happy!
Thank you Redbean

Anonymous said...

Hi uncle RB.......

Wishing you and family a very Happy and Healthy 2017!

Thank you very very much for your daily messages!

I enjoyed reading them!

Thank you very very much once again!


Anonymous said...

Hi Uncle RB, Wish u a Happy New Year 2017 ( akan datang Roaster Year). Uncle RB, thank you for writing this blog for the last 12 years or more..your views & insight r valuable so that we aren't blinded by MSM & MIWs..U r our inspiration & someone to look upon for an alternative news here in Sinkies..your unrelenting effort of writing & sharing this blog is something that we can learn & make it wonderful..once again let us hope a more interesting & exciting 2017 ..Cock-a-do..Huat ah!

Virgo 49 said...

If only we have GKS,HSS,LKS in the year 2000 and the present crop of incompetent bunch of ministers non-existence Singapore would be like Modern China Today

With the vast resources of billions in our Treasury, all a/m hard nosed,pragmatic old ministers would transform the present generation of Singaporeans into high tech engineers and managers. Most with management appointment and directing the Singaporean Enterprises.

Not the other way round, we serving the So called Foreign Talents or Trashes.

Not channelling our future children to ITE but Universities.

Not future taxi drivers, Security guards after NS or sweepers. It's a Great Shame that Sinkieland turned out this way with future mass unemployment for its own citizens and FULL gainful employment for the Refugees.

LHL called every Sinkie who believed in HIM to be Heros.

Hero to be crucified.

Anonymous said...

Actually if PAP want Sinkies to be innovative, to do design, improve etc can. But the result may take very long and outcome and GDP growth also very uncertain.

But if PAP were to take in lots of cheaper, younger foreigners, focus on property, banking (money hub) hub etc, the results can be very fast and GDP also grow very fast, bonuses for ministers also very fast and very big. Never mind after some time this can stagnate and cause serious problems for ordinary Sinkies, like now.

So PAP obviously do what is the faster and surer way to achieve GDP growth lah, since politically they can afford to do so because Sinkies will not vote a "not ready to be govt" opposition as govt.

If I were Hsien Loong, I will do like what he did too, and maybe even worse for ordinary Sinkies. It's only human.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

/// Japan is also losing out thought they were constantly innovating, losing out on cost. What the Japanese can do, the South Koreans and Chinese can do just as well and better and cheaper. Period. ////

The above is true.
What is sadly untrue is:

"PAP is also losing out though they were constantly gerrymandering, losing out on talent. What the PAP can do, the Workers' Party and SDP can do just as well and better and cheaper. Period."

Anonymous said...

Dear Redbean,

Happy New Year! to you, your family and all your readers (both genuine and trolls included).

Hope 2017 will be okay, despite all the bad news in 2016; despite the poor forecast ahead, especially of a economic downturn for the worst!

Hope the Obama Era is gone forever and the new Trump Administration can live in peace with Russia and China, and the rest of the World!

Hope all the chronic, comic and conned can wake up and rise up to change the status quo that has been put in place by the evil and selfish powers that seek always to perpetuate their own powers and suppress all others!

Hope lives in the human breast;
Man never is but always is to be blessed!

From: The Dragon That Flies, The Dragon Fly (1st January, 2017).

Unknown said...

Happy New Year, folks

Anonymous said...

@ January 01, 2017 12:27 pm

Heck, if I wanted regular MRT train breakdowns for 10 consecutive non-stop years, an Opposition government can do that just as well. And the Opposition government will cost 90% less than a PAP government.

True or not?

Anonymous said...

@ January 01, 2017 12:27 pm

Heck, if I wanted regular investment losses in my sovereign wealth fund, for God knows how many years in a row, ... do you think an Opposition government can do that just as well ... at maybe 90% less the cost of a PAP government?

True or not?

Anonymous said...

@ January 01, 2017 12:27 pm

Heck, if I wanted Singaporeans to lose jobs to Foreigners for 10 consecutive non-stop years, an Opposition government can do that just as well. And the Opposition government will cost 90% less than a PAP government.

True or not?

Anonymous said...

Why ASEAN cannot change?

In order for any product, organization, country, nation or people to change, there must be a change agent or catalyst.

For a product to change, the catalyst is demand.

For an organization to change, the catalyst is innovative motivators at top management.

For a country to change, the catalyst is people-oriented progressive leadership.

For a nation to change, the catalyst is an overwhelming series of catastrophic and disastrous events.

For a people to change, the catalyst is suffering, suffering and more suffering ..... until everybody (young and old, male and female, clever and stupid, able and unable, capable and incapable, active and latent, healthy and sick, leaders and followers) stand up and say:

"Enough IS ENOUGH! For Better or For Worst, There is NO Turning Back!"

Anonymous said...

Singaporean voters are ONE TRICK ponies.
Only know how to vote for PAP.

We are the unthinking ponies.
(And that's being very unfair to the ponies).

Anonymous said...

So, ASEAN has been unable to change (for the better) because:

1. The products they produce are still in demand.

2. The organizations that produce those products may have innovative thinkers and ideas, but there is a lack of motivators at the top management to ensure innovative ideas are put into practice.

3. ASEAN countries' leaderships are anything but people-oriented and/or progressive; they are mostly dictators, undeclared dictators and worst of all, the disguised dictators who sold their souls to the Devil.

4. ASEAN, as nations, over the last 50 years, have been enjoying peace, tranquility, neutrality and relatively easy life. There were no overwhelming series of catastrophic and disastrous events.

5. ASEAN, as a People, is not united. They are too diverse. Their culture, history, political system and political leadership are different. They sometimes cannot see eye to eye. The worst of all is CORRUPTION (open or hidden, illegal or legalized, dirty or clean) that permeates through their society and government systems, even Singapore that shamelessly boasts of being non-corrupt.

In fact, Singapore's corruption is worse than the rest of ASEAN because the people are powerless to bring justice to bear on the highly corrupt but protected by the parliamentary legalized corruptions. They take the money unconscionably, openly in broad daylight, across the table, right under the nose of the Judges and in front of the Police, in total disregard of the whole world's scrutiny, criticism and condemnation!

Anonymous said...

Fucked up slaves deserve a fucked up political party for government.

Anonymous said...

The fucked up slaves got the government they deserve.

patriot said...


l like this Above Comment
a thousand and more times.


Anonymous said...

Rb, wishing u and your family a happy new year. Thanks for the daily articles. It's always thought provoking.

Speedwing said...

Hi Redbean, Speed here. Wishing you and your whole family a very Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Loving 2017.

Thanks for all your posts through 2016.

Anonymous said...


SCMP : Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign ‘to weed out rivals’, says Lee Kuan Yew’s daughter

Anonymous said...

Her inference is due to her experience, when every move is about weeding out rivals. Quite understandable knowing what she is exposed to.