Letter to a friend:
“China-Japan... Who knows?”


My friend,

Many people from our submarine cable business community welcome the emergence of Huawei as a new supplier and see this as not only logical but inevitable!  They see this as an opportunity for more competition, then lower prices. Where everyone knows that the barrier to entry is very high; no real doubts are raised on the Huawei capability to come in significantly! Nothing is impossible to the Chinese!

And many people feel that this coming out is very dangerous for the Japanese industry who could be the first victims! But strange enough I am hearing more concerns in the mouths of the western suppliers than in the ones of the Japanese.

Is there something to be understood here, my friend ?

China is now the second global economy, after the USA but now slightly before Japan. This is one of the big recent news! China did not made big noise of it but it is nevertheless a real revenge for a country who did suffer from a cruel occupation based on a superiority of Tokyo on the full of Asia.  China does not forget the 12 millions of casualties, the 100000 prisoners, the Nanking and Shanghai massacres, the policy of general Okamura: “Kill everyone, burn everything, stole everything!”.

But the future may not be just a continuation of the past history!

Hong Kong has been from 1949 until 1997 the open window of China to the rest of the world. Taiwan is now playing a similar role, becoming the investment bank and the technology research laboratory of the whole of China.  

Is it now the turn of Japan? Japan as the next China window on the rest of the world?  Does China see Japan as a possible extension of its own “garden”?

This is a different story!

Let’s us not forget that the 130 millions of Japanese still generate a total national product almost equivalent to the 1.3 billions of Chinese! Nothing to compare with the previous cases of Hong Kong and Taiwan! But the two economies are moving toward each other and the gap is filling in rapidly. Japan is now exporting more toward China than toward the US! And China contribution to the Japanese economy is growing every year! Chinese investors have been recently very active in Japan.  This will automatically lead one day to a political understanding if not a partnership!

“Dobu Dochun” - “Same writing, same culture”: this old Sino Japanese slogan is recovering its value! China and Japan have more long term interest in cooperating than in fighting against each other! It seems to me that they have started to walk on this new route!

How will that translate into our activity?

Who knows?

Jean Devos

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