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Remember the 1980s when corporate America thought that it couldnt compete with Japan It is dj vu in Asia but this time Japan is the underdog terrified and demoralized by the lightning-fast industrialization of China Yet as Japanese politicians go another round in their never-ending brawl over whether to fix the countrys dysfunctional banking system corporate leaders and economists are saying the unspeakable China may be Japan Incs savior instead of its downfall Sony is an example It already has 10000 employees in six factories in Mainland China In July Sony opened a design and engineering center in Shanghai and an engineering center in nearby Wuxi It plans two more factories in China Many Japanese companies feel that the competitiveness of Chinese companies can sometimes be taken as a threat says Kunitake Ando the president of Sony We believe that we have great potential in China Sony expects that by 2008 its annual sales in China will reach 85 billion Thats a lot by any reckoning but heres why it really matters Sony would then be selling more in China than in Japan As Sony goes so goes the rest of Japan Japanese investment in China jumped 49 last year to 435 billion and has kept up at a strong pace this year All the Japanese companies have to consider how China fits into their plans says Paul Calello the chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston Asia Pacific China has a dual allure It is a place to make things and a place to sell things Because China usually insists on local production by those that wish to sell into its markets it offers another reminder of the 1980s when American import barriers led the Japanese to initiate what is now a fruitful foothold in auto and other production in the US Making products in China allows Japanese companies to lower costs by hiring cheap Chinese workers and
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