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Chen lacks vision, saddled with old ideas: Ohmae
[April 26, 2006]

Chen lacks vision, saddled with old ideas: Ohmae

(China Post Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)President Chen Shui-bian lacks a world vision and is saddled with a passe idea, according to Dr. Kenichi Ohmae, known better as "Mr. Strategy."

In an interview with Jaw Shaw-kong's UFO radio station, the Japanese management guru said yesterday many political leaders in Taiwan, who have not studied abroad, lack a world outlook.

Dr. Ohmae was quoted by the United Evening News as telling the UFO audience such leaders "are out of touch" with the realities.

They should give up their idea of the rule of ideology and pay more attention to Taiwan's economic development, the evening paper reported.

Ohmae said he never believes China would attack Taiwan.

"If it did," Ohmae was quoted as saying, "the Chinese economy would die, because its driving force and bursting power are dependent on the management of Taiwan businessmen (in China).

"President Chen seems unaware of this relationship, and instead believes the Taiwan businessmen are helping the Chinese mainland.

"As a consequence, he has adopted a policy of confrontation.

"That is a passe idea."

Taiwan has three assets, which many people on the island do not know they have, Dr. Ohmae went on. They are: an understanding of Japan (with many people able to speak Japanese), an understanding of China (sharing the same language and culture), and a good command of English.

These assets may combine to help Taiwan sell its products all over the world, Dr. Ohmae pointed out.

In particular, the sought-after public speaker and management consultant said, Taiwan businessmen have set up 90,000 companies in China, against only 30,000 by the Japanese. "That's a supremacy Japan doesn't enjoy," he added.

He said Chinese make money, which they invest in real estate or continue improving their relations with government officials. "One result is that few large multinationals have emerged in China."

"It's a different story in Taiwan," Ohmae continued. "There are a score large multinationals here," he stressed, "and that gives Taiwan a big leverage (for further development), albeit they lack brands of their own."

His advice to the young people in Taiwan is: Give up a fixed ideology, have confidence in the future, cherish the economic achievements Taiwan has made, stay away from the row over its "national status," and strive for self-improvement so that they may make their country shine brightly in the world.

The management guru characterized the status quo across the Taiwan Strait as "one country with two systems." Both China and Taiwan are practicing capitalism. The system in the latter features more social welfare. It's one capitalistic country, with two systems, the one in Taiwan being better.

China is rising, Ohmae said. "So political leaders in Taiwan," he urged, "should give up their fixed ideology, pay more heed to economic development, and introduce more innovation so that Taiwan may raise its national competitiveness."

In a lecture at the Taipei International Convention Center later, Dr. Ohmae told a packed audience Taiwan businesses have to continue innovation to survive the price competition China poses, taking advantage of its low cost of labor.

The lecture was jointly sponsored by CommonWealth magazine and IBM.

Among the audience were top businessmen and bankers, including Perng Fai-nan, governor of the Central Bank of China.

An alumnus of Waseda University, Ohmae holds a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D. degree in nuclear engineering. He was a partner in McKinsey and Company, the international management consulting firm, for 23 years and currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Graviton, Square Co. and an adjunct professor of Bond University. He is also on the board of SEI (Center for Advanced Studies for Management) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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