Two EU reports highlight the developing strategies of China, India and other developing economies to capture high-tech jobs as well as low cost manufacturing. The reports challenge the assumption that the UK can respond to its loss of manufacturing by turning to knowledge based industries.
The percentage of GDP devoted to research in China is growing at 10% annually compared to just 0.02% in Europe. Just under 20% of China’s exports are already classified as high-tech and with 2 million graduates a year it is likely that this percentage will grow rapidly.
At a recent SEEDA sponsored event to launch the review of the regional economic strategy (see Knowledgebase SEEDA kicks off consultation on regional economic strategy - 16th July 2005) Jamie Simpson from GHK made it clear that China does not see its economy as being based on manufacturing. It is investing heavily in education to become a knowledge based economy in double quick time.
While China is buying in education and forging links with Western universities, India is struggling with a shortage of skilled workers especially in the sciences. Despite churning out 3.6m graduates a year industry estimates indicate that only half of them are employable. Communication skills, problem solving and initiative appear to render many qualified graduates ill equiped for employment in new technologies according to the India Science Report.
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