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How did the Chinese research institutes of Microsoft and IBM "lie flat" step by step?

via:博客园     time:2021/3/15 0:21:18     readed:122

Without technological innovation, enterprise performance will only fall into a worse situation. IBM, who dares to invest in quantum computing, can not lose the motivation of long-term innovation because of its short-term financial statements.


What's more, facing such a huge emerging market as China, even during the 2008 financial crisis, foreign IT giants did not give up setting up research institutions in China. Besides, innovation can't be accomplished by 996 alone, and overtime culture is not uncommon in Silicon Valley and R & D fields.

Changes of research institutes of foreign enterprises in China

What needs to be reminded is that the closure of the research institute does not mean that these giants have directly given up the Chinese market. They have retained some sales departments and R & D institutions. In other words, they just give up the technology investment plan in China.

To find out the reasons behind this, we must first understand what foreign enterprises want to get when they set up research institutions in China?

Part of the reason is strategic dominance. In terms of time, Microsoft, IBM and others set up research institutes in China around the 1990s. At that time, it was the upsurge of economic globalization. While the production and operation of these multinational companies were globalized, their R & D strategies also needed to keep up.


The most direct consideration for the establishment of R & D and operation network at the same time is the market advantage. To launch production and sales near the design and R & D center can reflect the market situation and demand to the product R & D department to the greatest extent. Many R & D departments of foreign enterprises are funded by business departments.

Take ge as an example. In addition to one-third of the fixed investment from the headquarters, the other two-thirds need the R & D center to obtain from the business department. Therefore, once the business performance of the enterprise in China is not ideal, the Research Institute will not escape the fate of leaving or closing down. Earlier, Yahoo, Amazon, Oracle and even verily, a life science subsidiary of alpha, the parent company of Google, all withdrew with the withdrawal of their business lines.

The stoppage of dominoes

As we all know, China's digital process is in the ascendant, and the market space is vast. Many multinational giants, such as Mobil, shell and BP, have set up R & D centers in China. By 2020, a total of 750 multinational headquarters and 472 R & D centers have been settled in Shanghai.

So, what happened to IBM, Microsoft, etc., which made them unable to continue to maintain their confidence in R & D in China?

On the one hand, these enterprise research institutes came to China relatively early. In the early 20th century, China established a R & D Center for multinational companies in China, providing excellent environmental and legal protection, giving preferential treatment to land, taxation, subsidies, talents and infrastructure, and eager to achieve win-win situation between giant strategy and local innovation with full sincerity.

That is to say, the flow and business connection of multinational corporations mainly occur within the company, and the links with China's local innovation entities, especially enterprises, are very weak. Therefore, with the enhancement of China's economic strength and the rise of China's science and technology enterprises, the government and the public have begun to treat foreign R & D with a more rational attitude.

IBM has not become the leader of the Chinese market in cloud computing, and local R & D has not formed its own competitive advantage. Even if it reluctantly stays, it seems that it is difficult to make a big breakthrough in the short term.

Lost technical sight

We know that more than 80% of the research institutes and R & D centers of multinational companies in China are wholly foreign-owned and directly controlled by the headquarters. Their main work is also in line with the progress of projects in the United States.



This kind of R & D mode, which is deeply tied with the headquarters, is also easily affected by the political turmoil from the headquarters, changing the process and direction of the project. It has been revealed that the closure of IBM China Research Institute was due to internal adjustment, and the original person in charge left. As early as 2014, Adobe closed its R & D center in China and transferred its business in China to Indian companies, which was accused of having something to do with the resource game after Indian managers came to power.

This may also be a reminder to multinational enterprises that are setting up R & D institutions overseas: research institutes are not an unimpeded pass to the market. First of all, they should maintain due respect for technology and the local market.

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