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China's Innovation Challenge Explored by the Author of ‘Need, Speed, and Greed’
CNBC.com | March 09, 2012 | 02:06 PM EST

GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: Can China Innovate? by Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, China Business Editor of the Economist and author of " Need, Speed, and Greed " (Harper Business, March 13, 2012)

The end of cheap China is at hand, but contrary to widespread predictions, this does not mean that Vietnam will be the next China—or even that the poor interior bits of China will replace coastal China as the workshop to the world. Rather, it looks like the world will simply be stuck with a more expensive China for a while. In time, though, its rivals will improve their infrastructure, regulations and supply chains, and China’s long and profitable run as the workshop to the world will come to an end.

China’s leaders are painfully aware of this, and so have decided that the future lies racing to the cutting edge of innovation. The current official five-year plan lays out the leadership’s plans, and lavishes the treasury’s billions, to create cutting-edge industries in everything from electric cars and clean energy to the next generation of the internet.

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