An article I read in CNNMoney got me thinking again about competitiveness. How competitive are we in the world we live today. If each and everyone of us are no longer competitive, the whole nation would lose a lot of opportunities. Have we ever wondered about the possibility of us losing our jobs simply because someone else could do a better job than us for less money across the globe? In an estimate by The Economic Policy Institute, it said that between 2001 and 2013, Walmart sold at least S$49 billion worth of Chinese-made goods. Due to these imports, it estimated that 400,000 jobs were lost in the US. It said that this estimate is conservative.
Walmart replied with this statement, “Unfortunately, this is an old report with flawed economic analysis that assumes that imports equal job losses, and does not take into consideration that countless jobs are added through the global supply chain, distribution and logistics, among other areas of the business.” Walmart also defended the success of its buy American program.It quoted to an estimate from Boston Consulting Group that it will produce 250,000 direct jobs and 750,000 indirect jobs for the U.S.
We are not going to debate on whether The Economic Policy Institute is right or Walmart is right. I think it’s very fair to also blame the consumers for buying these China made products right? After all, without buyers, no one would be selling as well. Secondly, it should also be noted that if these goods produced are really extremely inferior in quality, why are people buying them? Still remember long time ago when Japanese goods were seen as inferior? What about the days when Korean products were said to be inferior. In fact looking back just over 5 years ago, no one would think of China smartphones when they think of quality. Today, try the latest Xiaomi, OPPO and VIVO and you would understand why so many of the famous brands of just years ago have fallen to the side.
We need to be competitive. The only way to be competitive is to learn faster, improve more and take calculated risks. Look at all the newer startups from Malaysia today. It’s time to see the world as the actual marketplace. Fortunately, we can start with ASEAN first before taking on the world. Wherever possible, support our own brands first. If you think only those of the western world is better, I wish you all the best because soon, we may be indirectly killing all our own startups. Happy learning and happy investing.
written on 10 Dec 2015
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