Special Report: Live From China

Of course, Japan emerged from that threat-or-victim trap aft

One of the exciting things about life as an American here in the 21st century is the emergence of developing nations as economic and cultural powerhouses. For most of my life--for most of the 20th century--most Asian nations and other countries in the developing world fell into two categories: military threats, such as Japan, North Vietnam, and North Korea; and objects of pity and charity, such as India, Bangladesh, and China.

Of course, Japan emerged from that threat-or-victim trap after World War II. And now we see many other developing countries, including China, India, and Korea, emerging to stand side-by-side with the U.S. and Europe as equals and competitors. It's a little bit scary--in the future, I think I'll find my job is as much in danger of outsourcing as any of yours. But mostly it's exciting. It's the dawn of a great era. It's not a clash of civilizations, as we're seeing with some regimes in the Middle East, but rather a meeting of civilizations in cooperation and competition. Asian countries have different cultures, different economic and political systems, and thousands of years of history that's mostly independent of the West. That gives us lots of opportunities to explore and learn from each other.

This week, InformationWeek is doing some exploring of this strange new world, as Editor-at-Large Aaron Ricadela spends some quality time in Beijing soaking up information about the IT industry in China and reporting it back home. Our package of coverage is growing daily all week. It includes:

  • Two posts in Aaron's daily travel journal: "Friendship, Peace, Cooperation, Development" and "Sliced Duck And Sharp Views With Reed Hundt." I expect Aaron will have filed one post more between the time we finish putting together this newsletter and the time you read it. Look for it on the InformationWeek Weblog.

  • Two in a daily series of podcast phone interviews with Aaron. The most recent podcast includes discussion of the travel experience, comparison with Aaron's earlier trip to report on IT India, China's higher education system, getting Internet access, government censorship of the Internet, and former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt's perspective on what the U.S. needs to do to compete with China. An earlier podcast provides an overview of the trip, recorded while Aaron was still in California. I expect there may be at least one more podcast posted by the time you read this newsletter. Look for it on the InformationWeek Weblog.

  • And we'll have a complete report on IT in China in Monday's issue of InformationWeek, available in print and on

Is China an opportunity or a threat to the U.S. economy? Leave your $0.02 below.