Michael Porter, Taiwan and China

April 11, 2010
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Michael Porter, Taiwan and China

Iu Seng Khoe  (有勝溪)

I was quite disappointed with Professor Porter’s  visit to Taiwan  on April 8th.  He is a very famous authority and business consultant in the field called competitive strategy.  Tracing all his talks in Taiwan, I could only come up with 3 words : ECFA Is Good .  Instead of a Master consultant, he’s more like a sales director of a consulting firm.

Before landing at Taiwan, he should have information that ECFA is currently a very big controversy there.  OK, assuming that’s his character and he doesn’t care about being diplomatic with the locals.  But on the professional level, he should have been informed about certain important information about the on going negotiations.  He lectured Taiwanese that ECFA is just the START, which will help signing FTAs with ASEAN nations.  We are all sick and tired of that kind of sales pitch. The words already leaked all over the island that the Chinese were very firm that they would never sign any page containing those words.  Some one in KMT should have the decency to brief him.  In Taiwanese eyes, it does not look dignified for a “Har-var-do”  professor to act like that.

I would also like to advise him, if I had the opportunity, not to lecture Taiwanese “ There is no RISK(or nothing to fear)  to sign X with the Chinese, to deal about…. etc. etc.”  No American, and actually, no other people in the world , know about the risks of dealing with the Chinese better than the Taiwanese.

Well, forget about the Grand Master for a moment.  Let’s review the scorecards of  some other Americans’ dealing with the communist countries.  Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union?  For a moment, the communists thought the capitalism was superior.  When their economy and currency collapsed, US and IMF suggested the countries like Russia and Poland, to hire the ivy league professor consultants, some Nobel laureate. The American consultants used some fancy tools, such as Shock Therapy.  The results? The consultants themselves were shocked to find that they failed.  Their scores are Fs.

Fast backward to Dec. 45.  Some Taiwanese thought George Marshall was an economist (another consultant?) due to Marshall Plan (美援).  He’s actually a general, called the Organizer of Victory by Churchill.  He’s the boss of MacArthur and Eisenhower.  He was sent by Truman to China to broker a coalition government between KMT and Mao.  The Results?  He failed again, was back at DC in Jan.47.

Any success story, please?  OK, Henry Kissinger in 1971 to China.  Unlike the consultants and generals, when he deals with the communists, he thinks only in politics.  I think Obama has learned some lessons too.

All American consultants are very welcome to Taiwan and conduct your Taiwanese businesses.  But when it relates to China, the Communists, could you please shut up for a moment?  Thank you.

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