Sunday, February 28, 2010

Google: In or Out?

After issuing threats to leave China in January, Google became vulnerable to poaching of its key staff from other IT firms, particularly the foreign ones with large Beijing R&D centers e.g. Microsoft. As the disagreement with the Chinese government drags into its third month, one might think uncertainty would make things look bleak, but according to a report on Netease internally things have returned to normal according to at least one Google employee and Google appears to be recruiting staff although these vacancies appear to have been existing ones prior to the January quarrel. Advertising is also returning to so the tea leaves seem to be pointing to Google resolving its outstanding issues with the Chinese government. Happy Lantern Festival, 元宵节快乐!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

SMIC: Good news, bad news

It is good news for SMIC's fabs that Simon Yang is back at SMIC as COO, which SMIC announced on February 9. Unfortunately, the board now is completely controlled by directors linked to the government, which was not the case as recently as a year ago. This situation cannot be good for the firm's governance and replicates the situation David N. K. Wang had with the heavy hand of the government when he was CEO of what the government originally promised would be a new improved "market-oriented" Hua Hong. The brand new Year of Tiger (though technically still Feb. 13 i.e. 除夕 here in London) will certainly be a fearsome challenge for SMIC's management.