中国とアメリカは戦争に向かっているのか? 教授、有識者、ジャーナリストは熱くなった話題に加わる。

June 19, 2017 Issue
Are China and the United States Headed for War?
Professors, pundits, and journalists weigh in on a heated topic.
By Ian Buruma


Illustration by Javier Jaen
Overheated topics invjavascript:void(0)ariably produce ill-considered books. Some people will remember the time, in the late nineteen-eighties, when Japan was about to buy up America and conquer the world. Many a tidy sum was made on that premise. These days, the possibility of war with China is stirring emotions and keeping publishers busy. A glance at a few new books suggests what scholars and journalists are thinking about the prospect of an Asian conflagration; the quality of their reflections is, to say the least, variable.

tidy sum:相当なお金
stirring :呼び起こす
to say the least:控えめに言っても

The worst of the bunch, Graham Allison’s “Destined for War” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), may also be the most influential, given that its thesis rests on a catchphrase Allison has popularized, “Thucydides’s Trap.” Even China’s President, Xi Jinping, is fond of quoting it. “On the current trajectory,” Allison contends, “war between the U.S. and China in the decades ahead is not just possible, but much more likely than currently recognized.” The reason, he says, can be traced to the problem described in the fifth century B.C.E. in Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War. Sparta, as the established power, felt threatened by the rising might of Athens. 

Thucydides’s Trap:ツキジデスの罠 戦争が不可避な状態まで従来の覇権国家と、新興の国家がぶつかり合う現象を指す。 アメリカ合衆国の政治学者グレアム・アリソンが作った造語。
Peloponnesian War:ペロポネソス戦争 アテナイを中心とするデロス同盟とスパルタを中心とするペロポネソス同盟との間に発生した、古代ギリシア世界全域を巻き込んだ戦争である。

In such conditions, Allison writes, “not just extraordinary, unexpected events, but even ordinary flashpoints of foreign affairs, can trigger large-scale conflict.” Allison sees Thucydides’ Trap in the wars between a rising England and the established Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, a rising Germany versus Britain in the early twentieth century, and a rising Japan versus the United States in the nineteen-forties. Some historical tensions between rising powers and ruling ones were resolved without a catastrophic war (the Soviet challenge to U.S. dominance), but many, Allison warns, were not. And there’s no disputing China’s steep military and economic rise in recent decades. Its annual military budget has, for most of the past decade, increased by double digits, and the People’s Liberation Army, even in its newly streamlined form, has nearly a million more active service members than the United States has. 

flashpoints :引火点

As recently as 2004, China’s economy was less than half that of the United States. Today, in terms of purchasing-power parity, China has left the United States behind. Allison is so excited by China’s swift growth that his prose often sounds like a mixture of a Thomas Friedman column and a Maoist propaganda magazine like China Reconstructs. Rome wasn’t built in a day? Well, he writes, someone “clearly forgot to tell the Chinese. By 2005, the country was building the square-foot equivalent of today’s Rome every two weeks.”


Allison underrates the many problems that could slow things down quite soon: China’s population is aging so rapidly that an ever smaller pool of young people will have to support a growing number of old people, who lack proper welfare provisions; the country is an ecological disaster zone; the dead hand of Communist Party control makes necessary economic reforms difficult; innovative thinking is hampered by censorship; and so on. In terms of military hardware—aircraft carriers and the like—China still lags well behind the United States. And the United States has a wide network of allies in Asia, while China has almost none. 

dead hand:執拗な悪い影響

Still, China plainly aspires to be the dominant power in East and Southeast Asia, and this is making the United States and its allies increasingly nervous. Southeast Asians are spooked by Chinese claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea, bolstered by the construction of artificial islands with landing grounds. Japan, although it has a substantial military force, is saddled with a pacifist constitution. South Korea doesn’t quite know whether to resist Chinese domination or cozy up to it. The British historian Michael Howard’s remark about nineteenth-century France, quoted in Allison’s book, could easily apply to the United States today. The “most dangerous of all moods,” Howard said, is “that of a great power which sees itself declining to the second rank.”

landing grounds:着陸地面

Allison finds risks of Thucydides’ Trap on both sides of the divide: the rising power feels frustrated and the established one feels threatened. The thesis, in those general terms, isn’t implausible. His book would be more persuasive, however, if he knew more about China. Allison’s only informants on the subject appear to be Henry Kissinger and the late Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, both of whom he regards with awe. This leads to some odd contradictions and a number of serious historical howlers. 


On one page, quoting Kissinger quoting the ancient military strategist Sun Tzu, Allison assures us that China likes to outclass its enemies without using force. On a later page, he warns us that Chinese leaders may use military force “preemptively to surprise a stronger opponent who would not have done likewise.” Allison says that he wishes, with “my colleague Niall Ferguson,” to set up a council of historians to advise the U.S. President, and yet his own grasp of history appears to be rather shaky.


He imagines that George Kennan’s Long Telegram in 1946 argued that “America could survive only by destroying the USSR, or transforming it”; Kennan’s argument was, rather, that Soviet aggression needed to be contained. Contrary to Lee’s propaganda, Singapore was far from an “inconsequential fishing village” when Lee came to power, in the nineteen-fifties. (It was already a populous and significant port city.)


Twenty-three million Chinese did not flee to Taiwan to escape Mao (the number is more like two million) and build “a successful democracy” (the native Taiwanese mostly did that). And how does Allison know that “few in China would say that political freedoms are more important than reclaiming China’s international standing and national pride”? Lee Kuan Yew may have told him that. But, given the absence of freedom of speech in China, we cannot know.


For all that, China’s challenge to the established postwar order needs to be taken seriously. Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times foreign-affairs commentator, considers China’s increasing clout in the broader context of what he calls, in a remarkably ugly phrase, “Easternization,” which is also the title of his well-written new survey (just published by Other Press). The gravity of economic and military power, he argues, is moving from West to East. He is thinking of more than the new class of Chinese billionaires; he includes India, a country that might one day surpass even China as an economic powerhouse, and reminds us that Japan has been one of the world’s largest economies for some time now.


Tiny South Korea ranks fourteenth in the world in purchasing-power parity. And the Asian megacities are looking glitzier by the day. Anyone who flies into J.F.K. from any of the metropolitan areas in China, let alone from Singapore or Tokyo, can readily see what Rachman has in mind. There is a great deal going on in Asia. The question is what this will mean, and whether “Easternization” is an illuminating concept for understanding it.

by the day:日ごとに

One difficulty is that East and West are slippery categories. The concept of European civilization has at least some measure of coherence. The same can be said for Chinese civilization, extending to Vietnam in the south and Korea in the north. But what unifies “the East”? Korea has almost nothing in common with India, apart from a tenuous connection through ancient Buddhist history. Japan is a staunch U.S. ally and its contemporary culture is, in many respects, closer to the West than to anything particularly Eastern. Previous attempts to create a sense of Pan-Asian solidarity, such as the Japanese imperialist mission in the nineteen-thirties and forties, have been either futile or disastrous.

slippery :掴みどころにない
in many respects:多くの点で

In fact, many of Rachman’s informants belong to an international elite that cannot be easily pinned down to East or West. It is refreshing that he does not depend on Lee Kuan Yew or Henry Kissinger for his knowledge of Asia, but his is still very much a view from the top. This isn’t a criticism: we want to know what senior diplomats, government ministers, heads of state, and well-connected academics think. But, if we’re trying to understand a large number of diverse Asian countries, the approach has its limitations.

Since the struggle for dominance in East and Southeast Asia is the hot topic at hand, the bulk of Rachman’s book concerns that question, and he has interesting things to say about it, even though his conclusion is a trifle lame. He does not argue that China seeks to rule the world. But he does claim, persuasively, that “the question of whether and how the Americans should resist Chinese ambitions in the Asia-Pacific is likely to be the most critical issue in international relations over the coming decades since it pits the world’s two most powerful nations against each other.”

trifle lame:つまらない時代遅れのもの




swingby_blog at 21:55コメント(0) 


EU離脱 イギリスはBrexitの直面している。 この政府がBrexitの障害について否定的でいる限りはこの国は大きな不幸へと向かっている。

Leaving the European Union
Britain faces up to Brexit
As long as the government stays in denial about Brexit’s drawbacks, the country is on course for disaster Jul 22nd 2017


CRISIS? What crisis? So many have been triggered in Britain by the vote a year ago to leave the European Union that it is hard to keep track. Just last month Theresa May was reduced from unassailable iron lady to just-about-managing minority prime minister. Her cabinet is engaged in open warfare as rivals position themselves to replace her. The Labour Party, which has been taken over by a hard-left admirer of Hugo Chavez, is ahead in the polls. Meanwhile a neurotic pro-Brexit press shrieks that anyone who voices doubts about the country’s direction is an unpatriotic traitor. Britain is having a very public nervous breakdown.

keep track:経過を追う
unassailable :言いまかせない

The chaos at the heart of government hardly bodes well for the exit negotiations with the EU, which turned to detailed matters this week and need to conclude in autumn 2018. But the day-to-day disorder masks a bigger problem. Despite the frantic political activity in Westminster—the briefing, back-stabbing and plotting—the country has made remarkably little progress since the referendum in deciding what form Brexit should take. All versions, however “hard” or “soft”, have drawbacks (see article). Yet Britain’s leaders have scarcely acknowledged that exit will involve compromises, let alone how damaging they are likely to be. The longer they fail to face up to Brexit’s painful trade-offs, the more brutal will be the eventual reckoning with reality.

let alone:はさておき

Winging it
In the 13 months since the referendum, the awesome complexity of ending a 44-year political and economic union has become clear. Britain’s position on everything from mackerel stocks to nuclear waste is being worked out by a civil service whose headcount has fallen by nearly a quarter in the past decade and which has not negotiated a trade deal of its own in a generation. Responsibility for Brexit is shared—or, rather, fought over and sometimes dropped—by several different departments.

Winging it:ぶっつけ本番で行う

Initially Britain’s decision not to publish a detailed negotiating position, as the EU had, was put down to its desire to avoid giving away its hand. It now seems that Britain triggered exit talks before working out where it stood. The head of its public-spending watchdog said recently that when he asked ministers for their plan he was given only “vague” assurances; he fears the whole thing could fall apart “at the first tap”.

fall apar:行き詰まる

As the scale of the task has become apparent, so has the difficulty of Britain’s position. Before the referendum Michael Gove, a leading Brexiteer in the cabinet, predicted that, “The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards.” It is not turning out like that. So far, where there has been disagreement Britain has given way. The talks will be sequenced along the lines suggested by the EU. Britain has conceded that it will pay an exit bill, contrary to its foreign secretary’s suggestion only a week ago that Eurocrats could “go whistle” for their money.

given way:譲歩する・屈する
go whistle:断念する

The hobbled Mrs May has appealed to other parties to come forward with ideas on how to make Brexit work. Labour, which can hardly believe that it is within sight of installing a radical socialist prime minister in 10 Downing Street, is unsurprisingly more interested in provoking an election. But cross-party gangs of Remainer MPs are planning to add amendments to legislation, forcing the government to try to maintain membership of Euratom, for instance, which governs the transit of radioactive material in Europe.


Even within the government, the prime minister’s lack of grip means that cabinet ministers have started openly disagreeing about what shape Brexit should take. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has been sniped at because he supports a long transition period to make Brexit go smoothly—a sensible idea which is viewed with suspicion by some Brexiteers, who fear the transition stage could become permanent.

sniped :非難する

The reopening of the debate is welcome, since the hard exit proposed in Mrs May’s rejected manifesto would have been needlessly damaging. But there is a lack of realism on all sides about what Britain’s limited options involve. There are many ways to leave the EU, and none is free of problems. The more Britain aims to preserve its economic relationship with the continent, the more it will have to follow rules set by foreign politicians and enforced by foreign judges (including on the sensitive issue of freedom of movement). The more control it demands over its borders and laws, the harder it will find it to do business with its biggest market. It is not unpatriotic to be frank about these trade-offs. Indeed, it is more unpatriotic to kid voters into thinking that Brexit has no drawbacks at all.


The government has not published any estimates of the impact of the various types of Brexit since the referendum, but academic studies suggest that even the “softest” option—Norwegian-style membership of the European Economic Area—would cut trade by at least 20% over ten years, whereas the “hardest” exit, reverting to trade on the World Trade Organisation’s terms, would reduce trade by 40% and cut annual income per person by 2.6%. As the economy weakens, these concerns will weigh more heavily. Britain’s economy is growing more slowly than that of any other member of the EU. The election showed that its voters are sick of austerity. Our own polling finds that, when forced to choose, a majority now favours a soft Brexit, inside the single market (see article).


Back in play
A febrile mood in the country, and the power vacuum in Downing Street, mean that all options are back on the table. This is panicking people on both sides of the debate. Some hardline Brexiteers are agitating again for Britain to walk away from the negotiations with no deal, before voters have a change of heart. Some Remainers are stepping up calls for a second referendum, to give the country a route out of the deepening mess. As the negotiations blunder on and the deadline draws nearer, such talk will become only more fevered.

power vacuum:政権の空白状態

So it is all the more crucial that all sides face up to the real and painful trade-offs that Brexit entails. The longer Britain keeps its head in the sand, the more likely it is to end up with no deal, and no preparations for the consequences. That would bring a crisis of a new order of magnitude.




swingby_blog at 22:26コメント(0) 

幻滅の度合い 韓国はエリート主義の教育システムに信頼を失いつつある。 裁判所と大統領が同情している。

Degrees of disenchantment
South Koreans are losing faith in an elitist education system
The courts and the president sympathise
Jul 19th 2017 | SEOUL



“IF YOU don’t have the ability then blame your parents,” wrote Jung Yoo-ra on social media in 2014, after being accepted into a prestigious university. Her mother, it turns out, had gone to great lengths to secure a spot for her, inducing Ehwa Women’s University to alter its admissions policy in a manner tailor-made for Ms Jung. Last month a court ruled that the nine people involved in this subterfuge had fundamentally shaken the “values of fairness that prop up our society”. Above all, the “feelings of emptiness and betrayal they caused in hardworking students” could not be excused. 

gone to great lengths:なんとしても〜するつもりだ
secure a spot:のための場所を確保する

University was once seen as a source of social mobility in South Korea. But so important is the right degree to a student’s prospects in life that rich families began spending heavily on coaching to improve their children’s chances, leaving poorer families behind. By 2007 over three-quarters of students were receiving some form of private tuition, spawning a maxim about the three necessities to win a place at a good university: “father’s wealth, mother’s information, child’s stamina”. A report by the ministry of education found that in 2016 households with monthly incomes of 7m won ($6230) or more were spending 443,000 won a month on private education, nine times as much as families bringing in 1m won or less. 


Many South Koreans believe that the rich and influential do not just spend more on education, they also manipulate the system, as Ms Jung’s mother, a close friend of the previous president, did so spectacularly. According to the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank, only a fifth of those aged 18-33 believe working hard brings success. An ever-growing dictionary of slang attests to the perception: people speak of using “back” (backing, or connections) to get jobs; when Ms Jung refused to return to South Korea to face charges related to her university admission, the local press dubbed it a “gold-spoon escape”. And 34% of young people say they feel “isolation due to academic cliques” at work. 

face charge:嫌疑を受ける

The unfairness is all the more galling because of the fierce competition for jobs. This year there were 36 applicants for every job, up from 32 two years ago. Youth unemployment reached a record 12% earlier this year. 


Frustrated young people are starting to speak out. The activists of a group called Hidden Bag run a small yearly campaign to “reject university entrance”, trying to persuade people to eschew the whole process. At a recent film festival in Seoul, Hidden Bag provided “healing kits” for young people wishing to challenge “never-ending competition” and “education-based limits”. Colourful sweets, packaged to look like medicine, were handed out to students to encourage them to take a stand. Some were labelled “courage”, others “strength”. By spurning the rat race, they hope to raise “fundamental questions” about prevailing values. Fewer than 70% of school leavers went on to university last year, the lowest level in almost 20 years. 

take a stand:態度を明確にする
school leaver:卒業者

Moon Jae-in, the president since May, has pledged that under his administration “the thickness of a parent’s purse” will not determine their children’s prospects. This week an MP from his party introduced legislation to extend the “blind hiring” process used in the civil service, whereby applicants are judged only on standardised exams, not on their academic record, to state-owned firms as well. The bill’s author is also proposing an amendment in response to one of the other oddities of Ms Jung’s admission: she scored badly in her written exam, but was given full marks for the interview. The amendment would require all university interviews to be recorded or minuted for transparency. Blame Ms Jung’s parents. 

full marks:満点
amendment :改良



swingby_blog at 22:24コメント(0) 


喧嘩腰だが、理性的な意思決定をしている アメリカと北朝鮮との戦争は避けられなくはない。がしかし、そうなりそうな気配がある。

On a Warpath Paved With Rational Decisions
A war between the United States and North Korea is not inevitable, but it is growing increasingly likely — and not because their leaders are crazy.(CHUNG SUNG-JUN/Getty Images)
July 17, 2017 Stratfor


A war between the United States and North Korea is not inevitable, but it is growing increasingly likely — and not because their leaders are crazy.

Editor's Note:
North Korea demonstrated at least a rudimentary capability to launch a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile with its latest test of the Hwasong-14. At the extreme estimates of its range, the missile has the ability to strike parts of the western United States. More tests and developments will be necessary to increase the Hwasong-14's range, payload and re-entry system, and questions remain about North Korea's ability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and make it rugged enough to mount on the missile. Even so, Pyongyang is clearly well on its way to realizing its goal of a long-range nuclear weapons capability. This is the first installment in a three-part series examining the implications of this development for the United States' relationship with North Korea.


War is rarely the first option for countries trying to preserve or enhance their strategic positions. The United States and North Korea alike would rather avoid a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, which would be complicated and costly for all parties involved. Neither wants war; each side strongly prefers an alternative path to resolve the core issues underlying the crisis. Yet their differing strategic imperatives and desired end states leave little room for compromise. 


As North Korea draws closer to achieving long-range missile capabilities, something it sees as a security guarantee, the United States faces mounting pressure to act. But as Washington tries to coerce North Korea to end its quest for more sophisticated arms, Pyongyang feels compelled to accelerate its nuclear weapons and missile development. Each country is merely acting to preserve its interests. But their interests are driving them closer to a physical confrontation. 

The Rational Assumption
Geopolitics teaches us to assume rationality on the part of actors on the international stage. The assumption doesn't suppose that individual leaders are somehow beyond the influence of emotion, misinformation or miscalculation. Rather it acknowledges the deeper forces at work, from the interactions of place and people that shape national characteristics and strategic culture to the systems and structures that develop in countries over time. No leader operates free of these constraints and compulsions. 


Though they still have leeway to shape their policies and actions, leaders, as individuals and as a collective group, do so within limits defined in large part by the environments in which they emerged. The rationality we assume from leaders is not universal; it is the product of their place and time under the influence of factors such as history, geography and economics. 

The key, then, is to understand what guides the rationality of a country's leadership, on an individual level and in the government as a whole. After all, no one individual rules a country, since no single person could extend power over an entire population without the help of intermediaries. And each layer of leadership adds another set of constraints to the exercise of power. Disagreements arise in governments and in the populations they preside over. But the forces that influence the options available to leaders are far larger than the concerns of the individual. It is an analyst's job to understand and explain these factors, and a policymaker's job to take them into account when considering how to achieve a desired outcome. 

Even so, it is sometimes simpler in international relations to assume one's adversaries are crazy. They don't follow the desired path or react in the anticipated way, so they must be acting irrationally. If one makes the wrong assumptions of an adversary (or even of an ally), however, the response to a given action may be far from what was intended. 

irrationally :理性を欠いて

Of course, understanding the other side doesn't guarantee the desired outcome, either. Irreconcilable differences in interests and perceptions of risk can get in the way of compromise. The most viable solution often is to constantly adjust one's actions to manage these contradictions, even if they prove insurmountable. At times, though, the differences can be so intractable as to drive nations into conflict if each side's pursuit of contrary interests leads to fear and insecurity for the other. 

Irreconcilable :折り合いの付かない

Moves by one nation to constrain the threatening behavior it perceives from another then perpetuate the cycle of action and reaction. In the case of North Korea and the United States, the contradiction in their interests is growing ever starker as Pyongyang accelerates its nuclear weapons program and nears its goal of developing a missile capable of striking the continental United States. 


As Pyongyang draws closer to the deliverable long-range nuclear weapon it has long pursued, Washington will be forced to decide whether to accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state and live with that reality or to take the necessary steps to disarm it. 

A Mutual Misunderstanding
Misunderstandings, misapplied assumptions and mismatched goals have characterized relations between the United States and North Korea for decades. Washington expected — or at least hoped — that North Korea would collapse on its own under the force of economic and social pressures. The evaluation misjudged the country as the Asian equivalent of an Eastern Bloc state waiting for the Soviet Union's demise to break free from the shackles of a foreign-imposed power structure. 


North Korea hasn't collapsed. In fact, in times of trouble, its neighbors (and even the United States) have helped stabilize the government in Pyongyang for fear that the consequences of the country's failure would be more dangerous than the risks entailed in its survival. North Korea, meanwhile, considered itself a fixture on the United States' target list, a remnant of the Cold War that Washington was trying to toss on the ash heap of history.

ash heap:灰だまり

The two have had many opportunities for some form of reconciliation over the years. Time and again, though, progress has run afoul of perceived threats, diverging commitments, changing priorities, domestic politics and even extraregional events. As Pyongyang draws closer to the deliverable long-range nuclear weapon it has long pursued, Washington will be forced to decide whether to accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state and live with that reality or to take the necessary steps to disarm it. The cost of action is high, but so is the perceived threat of inaction. 




swingby_blog at 21:16コメント(0) 


電子機器組立業 Foxxconは巨大ブランドの野望を抱く。 台湾の最大企業がバリューチェーンの地位を引き上げようとしている。うまくいくのだろうか。(2)

Core processor chips and panels are the two most expensive components in a smartphone, while memory-chips are another source of profits. That is why Gou now wants to gain control of Toshiba's memory chip business, although Japanese officials are trying to block the bid, fearing sensitive technology could be leaked to China. 

A crowd lines up outside a Foxconn recruitment center in Shenzhen in early March. (photo by Debby Wu) 

Gou realizes that continuing to rely on the assembly business will keep Foxconn's profit margins slim, as global smartphone sales are slowing. Foxconn wants to develop its own branded products. 

Among the several brands it now controls, Sharp is probably the most important to Foxconn, said Vincent Chen, president of Yuanta. But he added that if it tries to grow Sharp, it could represent "a conflict of interest for Foxconn since it also makes gadgets for others. Currently, Sharp is limited to selling TVs and home appliances, two markets where most Foxconn customers do not operate," Chen said. 

In addition, the TV business is tough. "It's a bit challenging for Foxconn to make profits from selling televisions only, especially when its current strategy is to offer discounts to boost shipments," said Eric Chiou, an analyst at WitsView, although TV sales could increase Foxconn's revenues. Sharp is planning to ship some 8.5 million TVs in 2017, nearly doubling last year's 4.7 million units, mainly due to strong demand in China, he added. 

While relatively low labor costs in China have made the iPhone affordable for middle-class consumers worldwide and contributed to its immense success, Gou is considering establishing two panel production facilities in the U.S. The plans are related to U.S. President Donald Trump's call for major exporters to the U.S. to set up factories in America to create jobs and avoid possible protectionist measures. In late April, Gou met Trump at the White House to discuss investment plans, possibly in Republican strongholds and swing states. 

"We will provide tens of thousands of jobs," Gou told reporters in June. "It is possible [Foxconn and Sharp together] will invest more than $10 billion, not all at once, but probably over a five-year span." The 66-year-old Gou, who is referred to within the company as "BB" for Big Boss, is still working hard to lead Foxconn's key initiatives, particularly its U.S. expansion. 

He rarely stays in the same place for more than three days, traveling constantly and conducting hourslong meetings. Yet he never shows any sign of fatigue. He is also known for his keen memory and eye for detail. And that's the problem: Gou rules Foxconn like a strongman. No one in the company is as visionary and few can operate at his pace and energy level. 


His 40-year-old son, Jeffrey, works for the group, but is overshadowed by his father's extraordinary achievements. His daughter, Shirley, does not appear to be interested in the family business. Gou has another three children by his second wife, but the oldest is only 8 years old. Gou has no heir apparent and has never spoken publicly about a succession plan. 


Equally unclear is Foxconn's ownership structure. Gou and his longtime aide, Huang Chiu-lian, who is his first wife's aunt and Foxconn's de facto chief financial officer, have created numerous holding companies for investment and ownership purposes, like many other Asian companies. Gou controls the Hon Hai board, even though the latest annual report shows he only owns a 12.25% stake in the company. It is unclear whether Gou holds additional shares via personal investment vehicles. 


The business model that Gou has created may be a challenge for his successor to manage. Foxconn's gross profit margin is only 7%, while major electronics players like Sony and Nintendo have margins of around 40%. On the other hand, Foxconn had a net profit of close to $5 billion last year, which is about five to seven times larger than those of Sony or Nintendo. 

Moreover, Gou's plans to rely less on low-margin contract manufacturing and develop its own more lucrative brand face challenges. The company's dependence on Apple for revenue has steadily increased since 2013. Last year, Apple accounted for 54% of Foxconn's revenue of NT$4.35 trillion ($142 billion), which was down 2% from 2015 due to lukewarm sales of the iPhone 7, according the company's annual report. "Foxconn still cannot do without Apple in the future. Apple orders have become too big to lose for Foxconn," Yuanta's Chen said. 




swingby_blog at 20:43コメント(0) 


電子機器組立業 Foxxconは巨大ブランドの野望を抱く。 台湾の最大企業がバリューチェーンの地位を引き上げようとしている。うまくいくのだろうか。

July 13, 2017 10:00 am JST
Gadget assembler Foxconn harbors big-brand ambitions
Taiwan's largest company aims to move up the value chain; will it succeed?
DEBBY WU and CHENG TING-FANG, Nikkei staff writers

電子機器組立業 Foxxconは巨大ブランドの野望を抱く。


Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou speaks at a press conference after the company's annual shareholders meeting in New Taipei City, Taiwan on June 22. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa) TAIPEI Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry, seemed caught off guard and unprepared to talk outside his hotel in Osaka in early June when approached by a Nikkei Asian Review reporter. 

caught off guard:不意をつく

But Gou soon loosened up, taking the opportunity over a 30-minute stroll to elaborate on the ambition of his company, better known as Foxconn Technology Group, to acquire the memory-chip unit of embattled Japanese industrial conglomerate Toshiba. 

embattled :多くの問題を抱えた

"Apple and Amazon will be injecting funds into the deal," he said. The episode highlights how Gou's ability to think on his feet and make snap decisions in response to an ever-changing business environment has made Foxconn what it is today. It also points to his deep ties with Apple, which treats the company as a near equal despite Foxconn's role as a contract assembler for the American consumer electronics trendsetter. 


Apple's iconic handset was first introduced on June 29, 2007. Since then, Foxconn has become a household name for tech industry watchers. But Foxconn is no longer content merely to assemble products for others. It now wants to manufacture its own high-margin components to compensate for slim profits in its core assembly business. 


That desire led Foxconn last year to acquire Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp, which makes display panels for iPads and iPhones. Now it is bidding for Toshiba's lucrative memory-chip business. Gou is also seeking to expand his empire by developing brand-name products through acquisitions and internal projects. Sharp is helping Foxconn to achieve that goal, thanks to its popular home appliances and TVs. Nokia of Finland, which once dominated the global mobile phone market, now has an indirect licensing deal with Foxconn via a third party. 

Andy Rubin, creator of Google's Android operating system for smartphones, has publicized the financial and production support Foxconn is providing for his upcoming Essential Phone. The Taiwanese company has also created a new brand for TVs and smartphones, known as InFocus, although it has gained little recognition outside its home market. 

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Foxconn said in a statement that it has identified several key areas for growth, including mobile devices, the internet of things, big data, cloud computing, "smart lives," industry 4.0 automation, robotics and advanced TV display technologies. WE BUILT THIS CITY Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker by revenue, employs about 700,000 people in China, down from a peak of 1 million, as it automates in response to rising wages. 

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The gadget assembler makes most of the iPhones at Zhengzhou, in Henan Province, which has been dubbed "iPhone City." The Zhengzhou plant, with its 90 production lines and 350,000 workers, can churn out 500,000 iPhones a day, according to Macquarie, an Australian investment bank. Foxconn assembles about 70% of the 210 million iPhones sold each year, according to Yuanta Investment Consulting in Taipei. Its smaller Taiwanese rivals, Pegatron and Wistron, put together the rest. 

Foxconn has gradually shifted iPhone production from southeastern China north to Zhengzhou following a string of worker suicides at its Shenzhen plant in 2010. Labor rights groups accused Foxconn of running production lines in a harsh, military style and forcing employees to work unreasonably long hours. Since then, the company has raised wages and offered counseling to employees. Apple has also capped the number of hours Foxconn assembly-line workers can put in each week. 

Foxconn's presence in Shenzhen has boosted the local economy and young Chinese do not appear to be deterred from joining the company, judging from the long lines recently seen at a Foxconn recruiting center. Since the beginning of the year, Foxconn shares have risen more than 40% to close at 118.5 New Taiwan dollars on July 11. The company's market value of about NT$2 trillion is larger than that of Sony or Nintendo. 


The surge in the share price reflects anticipation about the upcoming premium iPhone handset, which will have an organic light-emitting diode display. Foxconn is expected to dominate assembly orders for the OLED iPhones. In addition to iPhones, Foxconn makes iPads, Kindle e-readers for Amazon.com, game consoles for Sony and Nintendo, the humanoid robot Pepper for SoftBank Group, and servers for HP. 

But while Foxconn has become Apple's main partner, it is grappling with razor-thin margins. To boost its bottom line, Foxconn is working to acquire technologies for key components. One of the reasons it bought Sharp last year was that the Japanese company supplies liquid-crystal displays for the iPhone. Foxconn believes Sharp can produce OLED panels for smartphones, although it is unclear when the Japanese company will be able to do that. 




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