Watch out for China

An AP article in the Sunday Roanoke Times discussed China's growing influence on the IT industry. What caught my eye was the fact that China is promoting an alternative to the DVD format called "EVD." China wants to avoid paying royalties to the Japanese developers of the DVD format.

But wait, there's more. China is also pushing a new and different cellphone protocol that they claim is better than the GSM and CDMA standards used in the rest of the world.

Here's the thing--there are 1.3 billion potential customers for IT products and services in China--the biggest market in the world. It's markets that determine protocols and standards most of the time, not standards-making bodies, and it's not outside the realm of possibility that we could, in twenty years, all be using IT products forced on the marketplace by China.

That could be good or bad. But I'm not very optimistic--China is still not an open marketplace and does not have a democratic government. Couple that with an IT industry anxious to increase profits, and we could have a Communist dictatorship telling the rest of the world what IT products to use.

Is it a problem? Not yet, but it could become one.

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