For the first time since Bloomberg BusinessWeek began its annual Most Innovative Companies ranking in 2005, the majority of corporations in the Top 25 are based outside the U.S.  The reason: the new global leaders coming out of Asia.

Who is #1?  Once again for the fifth year in a row Apple is #1!

In the past decade, as the U.S. was losing an estimated 2.4 million factory jobs to China, the Economic Policy Institute and other research organizations identified an alarming trend–alarming to Westerners, at least. The factories of South Korea, Taiwan, and China were making their way up the global value chain, from the sneakers, toys, and T-shirts they had produced in earlier years to personal computers, consumer electronics gear, household appliances, and even cars.

For the West, the silver lining was this: Asia’s high-tech products were still generally regarded as inferior knockoffs of items designed in the U.S. and other so-called knowledge economies. China may have been the biggest worry, but as author Ted C. Fishman argued in his 2005 book, China Inc., it possessed a factory culture–it could imitate but not innovate.

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