Friday, November 24, 2017
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Lessons from the Far East
Jacob Fattal, Publisher

Last year, China experienced its lowest percentage of growth in 25 years, dipping just below 7 percent. Since that figure was announced earlier this year, the government has set its target growth rate for 2016 even lower, sparking some concern that the economy is stalling. Does this present an opportunity for Japan? That nation's government is showing a renewed interest in manufacturing, trying to find ways to fill the gaping holes that were left when large consumer electronics companies abandoned Japan during the last decade for fairer shores, including China.

Now, with multi-billion dollar government support, the country is hoping to develop its first domestic aircraft in over 40 years. Mitsubishi, which made aircraft during World War II, has targeted the mid-size passenger jet market with its heavily subsidized offering, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet. The Japanese government is reported to be footing about a third of the $1.5 billion cost of its development.

After suffering a ban on the building of aircraft after WWII, followed by Mitsubishi's failures in the 1950s and 1960s to develop commercial aircraft, the company is trying again — this time with the entire nation's support. While some analysts are dismissing the company's goal of 5,000 planes delivered over the next 20 years as unrealistic, if the airplane is a success, we may witness the birth of a new industry for Japan.

As U.S.Tech heads to Rosemont, Illinois, for SMTA International, we can learn much from the tenacity of the East as it applies to our country's own lost manufacturing. Chicagoland is fighting its own battle to modernize, with old factories and production facilities being updated to create some of the world's most advanced high-tech products. In its worldwide travels, U.S.Tech has a unique perspective on the state of global manufacturing. To keep up with our travels, our new editorial and trade show calendar appears on page 112 of this issue.

While we can point to any number of reasons for China's recent slowdown, it's important to take a lesson from Japan's renewed determination. Reshoring is foremost in our minds and hearts these days, and it's important to push for more manufacturing, research, and the development of incredible new technologies here at home. American knowhow is far from dead, but it requires constant nurturing.  

 
 
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