In the late 1970s, economists at a major US business seminar welcomed the transfer of American manufacturing overseas as a sign of the growing "service economy". What they failed to realise was that this manufacturing, far from representing antique industry that could easily be disposed of, was actually evolving into robotics-driven high-tech enterprise in places such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Stories by Brian Dooley
"In New Zealand we must have world-class telecommunications, air services and shipping services plus an ongoing supply of well-educated people in order to continue to compete," says Dr James Kennedy, chief executive of Christchurch-based power system manufacturer Invensys Energy Systems.
"The knowledge-based economy has impacted on PDL in a big way," says Steve Scott, manufacturing executive for the Christchurch-based electrical accessories manufacturer. "One area is development of new technology products, such as e.Boss, a smart building system and motor speed drive controls." PDL also benefits in other ways, says Scott, such as through international web-based equipment servicing for some products.
In Japan, mobile Internet technology called DoCoMo gained 10 million customers in 19 months, proving in one, massive step that it is a viable market. DoCoMo has its own set of standards for delivery, however. For the rest of us, there's WAP.