Like Japan and the Asian tigers before it, China is moving to loosen the grip of high-volume, low-end manufacturing on its economy – and transform itself into a corner-office innovator that can dream up an idea and build it to exacting specifications.
Instead of just assembling iPods, in other words, China wants to invent the next “it” music player.
In an unusual silver lining, the economic crisis may be helping: By shaking out low-profit companies, it’s making room for more advanced ones.
The policy is known as “emptying the cage, removing the bird,” says Mei Xinyu, a senior researcher at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing. The slowdown “sped up the process.”