Bad mistake

One very worrying thing draw my attention in Gillian Tett's article about globalization of manufacturing of goods in FT's Weekend Magazine. Skim through this paragraph:

"Take a look, for example, at a fascinating paper recently produced by the Asian Development Bank, which looks at where an iPhone is made. In this case, the company - Apple - is American; however, components for iPhone are variously assembled in China, Korea, Taipei, Germany and the US, involving almost a dozen companies which are hard to pigeonhole with any ethnic label."

Did you notice anything strange? I agree, the supply chain has become complicated. But far more worrying is the writer's attitude. She is listing countries and counts Taipei as a country. Maybe it is a mistake, but I think that is a strong and worrying pattern that is very common in the western way of thinking. Asia is being thought as a one big area and many people do not even know the countries in Asia not to mention the different cultures. It is just cheap labour or two weeks in Thailand for many. It is terrifying how little people know about the future's financial drivers - even at FT.

I used to think the same way. My two years in Hong Kong and Singapore opened my eyes to a new world I had totally neglected earlier.


  1. You are right. You never put China and Taipei in the same sentence. It should be Mainland China and Chinese Taipei. It's just like you never say Finland and Helsinki are cold.. ;)

  2. And the country is Taiwan, not Taipei :)

  3. Maybe not from the mainland perspective :)