China isn’t just competing vigorously with the U.S. at the bottom of the value chain, the nation is simultaneously competing at the top as well.
For years, many of China’s best and brightest left for the United States, where high-tech industry was more cutting-edge. But Mark R. Pinto is moving in the opposite direction.
Mr. Pinto is the first chief technology officer of a major American tech company to move to China. The company, Applied Materials, is one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent firms. It supplied equipment used to perfect the first computer chips. Today, it is the world’s biggest supplier of the equipment used to make semiconductors, solar panels and flat-panel displays.
What’s happening is that this U.S. tech company is placing its top research and development people right in China, even though theoretically they could be in the U.S., because it wants to keep its innovation right next to where its factories and best market for demand growth are.