Pittsburgh in China

The Pittsburgh Technology Council's Audrey Russo offers this glimpse of Shanghai while on tour with a PTC group, and some lessons for Pittsburgh:

After eight days, many conversations from multiple perspectives, including people who have lived through the Cultural Revolution, I worry about how Pittsburgh can compete. The good news is we have innovation developing here. In China, we have not seen pervasive innovation. But, we have seen every major multinational corporation building shared services (and not just call centers), manufacturing and a growing biotech and digital media sector.
Southwestern Pennsylvania needs an aggressive plan. For the Pittsburgh Technology Council, we are going to develop an international plan to serve the best interests of our members. We cannot ignore China. We cannot pretend we were once mighty and will rebound. We must greet this opportunity with the same pace China is building their cities.

That reminds me of something I wrote last Fall:

The only firms in town that I hear about really kicking down doors with new business, new customers, and new hires are selling to -- China. That's not just Westinghouse. Every time I turn around in my own neighborhood I'm listening to tales of business trips to China. That's where the money is.

What should Pittsburgh do about that? Stop obsessing about nonstop flights to Paris. Figure out a way to increase nonstop flights from PIT to the West Coast -- Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. From there, it's easy to hop on a flight to Beijing or Shanghai.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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