About the briefings
developerWorks: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? You're in charge of the dW briefings worldwide; what are those, and how did you come to do them?
Stan Kwong: I'm in charge of the worldwide technical briefings and also a lot of the technical events. You can kind of look at us as the evangelists for IBM, the face-to-face evangelists. I started with developerWorks about four years ago. Given the background of how we try to evangelize, specifically in terms of the Web and the developer online community, IBM started feeling that there was a major need in terms of the entire world to have evangelists going out there to talk a lot about our technology and also about products. So from a very small staff, we began doing technical briefings.
We started in three countries -- the United States, China, and then India. From there, we've been growing. Right now, we have a team going to Pakistan and also to various portions of the Middle East; in addition, we've been doing a lot of work with Brazil and Mexico, along with Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and so forth. But this year is the first time we'll have a team going to Pakistan to talk about our technology.
We find that these events are extremely successful, specifically in certain geographies. What I'm talking about is, even in North America, they have been extremely successful in certain communities (such as San Francisco or New York), and especially in most of the cities in Canada. In Asia, we have huge audiences in Beijing and Bangalore and Hyderabad; also in Delhi and Singapore and Malaysia. In Europe, we're popular in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic -- all of those countries.
That's where we've started.
dW: What takes place at the actual technical briefing? Is it like a workshop or a seminar?
SK: We don't call it a workshop because there's no hands-on. If you look into a couple of different flavors of these technical briefings, we basically have a two-speaker team that defines the topic -- talks a lot about what the technology is, how do you use it, and then provides examples and the best business practices of how to use the technology. The technology itself also helps define what the team talks about.
dW: Are the briefings very IBM-specific?
SK: Depends on the seminar. For example, a briefing on DB2® will be pretty much all IBM content. But in doing Linux™, we also talk a lot about open source. Then, if you are doing DB Open, we talk a lot about Eclipse and Cloudscape™, too. So it depends on the seminar and the topic.
The first Power Architecture briefing
dW: From the time that the technical briefings started until now, they've focused mainly on software. But we're soon going to have our first Power Architecture™-oriented one in China. Can you tell us more about that?
SK: First of all, if you look at our distribution of events, we basically are doing a lot more in Asia and the Pacific than in any other geographical region -- this is because of the numbers in attendance and also the popularity. For example, India has been so extremely popular that we always do a six- or seven-city tour. And China is another country that we've been doing a lot of events [in] -- it seems like there are at least two events in China every month in different cities.
The first reason for holding the first PA briefing in China: The Power chip is now basically the engine for a lot of the game machines, and in China, one of the major growth areas right now (in terms of the people) is playing on an Internet game. According to Fortune magazine, there's a portal in China which is right now the largest game portal in the world.
The second reason: Time magazine announced recently that China has become the largest manufacturer of consumer electronics. What that means is everything from mobile phones to game machines to, well, just everything that's consumer electronics.
With those reasons in mind, both the folks who own the Power chip, along with myself, agree that China will be a very interesting first start to find out what kind of interest there will be in the PowerPC® chip -- that's why we want to start in China.
dW: There's an IBM commercial -- do you know the one? -- where there's a guy sitting at a desk and the girl approaches him and says that she wants to know about why the sky is blue and that she lives on a rural farm in China. Is that an accurate picture of China?
SK: Yes, yes. Of course in places like Shanghai, right? But also in Eastern Tibet, four hours' flight from Shanghai, very close to the Kazakhstan border -- these people all have computers.
Or another example: I was on this trip about six months ago on the Silk Road. Folks are coming in from Kazakhstan and Tajikistan into China with about 100 camels. So on top of the camel, I saw this couple of young guys. All they are doing were laying back on the camel, letting it walk around by itself, and messaging via SMS.
For the urban dweller, it's the "in" thing to have the latest. Even American cars that are sold in China are usually sold with a lot of gadgets that Americans would not want. I think that somehow, with the latest transformation from an egalitarian, communist society in China back in the fifties and run by basically peasants, into a techno-socialist country run by technocrats, I guess the whole transformation of being capitalist equates to having the latest gadget, latest car, and the latest clothing.
All the young people in China tend to watch the latest MTV or ETV (a derivative of MTV), and they play a lot of the Chinese rappers mixed to Eminem and other American rappers. The VJs have a big following. On these shows they talk about the latest gadget. As television access spreads to the countryside, probably so will the desire for these gadgets.
dW: Let's switch gears for a minute. There's a lot of controversy in the United States about outsourcing and offshoring. Should we look at China as a potential market for U.S. products, or as a competitor for U.S. jobs?
SK: I think it's always a two-way street.
On the one hand, take clothing manufacturing for an example. The loss of those jobs in the United States initially went to Malaysia or Indonesia. They're now moving from there to China.
On the other hand, America is selling lots of products, especially intellectual capital, to China. For instance, Boeing jets and Cadillacs and Buicks are being made in the United States and sold in China. California and Wisconsin farmers benefit -- China purchases have made Wisconsin the largest exporter of ginseng in the world. Cisco, HP, IBM (through IBM Global Services), and many other high-tech companies sell a lot of products and services to China every year, creating consulting and legal jobs in the United States. A lot of these jobs are not measured in terms of the trade.
dW: So we should actually believe our own government that the jobs aren't really disappearing; they're shifting?
SK: I believe so.
dW: We are almost out of time, but if we can ask just one last question: what city did you choose and why?
SK: Good question. The Power Architecture briefings will cover topics including an overview of Power Architecture technology and future directions, including roadmap and Power.org; but the main thrust and focus will be on SoC design, very thorough coverage of SoC, as a number of IBM partners will be participating as well, which will help to ensure that.
So after some study in terms of where the distribution is, we have decided that even though we have done a lot of briefings in Beijing that have attracted a lot of people, Beijing is basically not the right city to do this briefing because the audience is not quite the best fit. The government people who usually attend the Beijing briefings will probably have less interest in the PowerPC.
The major manufacturing hub in China is the area bordering Hong Kong, formerly known as Canton Delta region, but now it's called the Guangzhou Pearl River Delta region. According to our study, it seems like about 65 to 70% of all the high technology consumer electronics were manufactured in that area because of the extremely good infrastructure, multiple airports, and shipping docks. And of course, the second area in China which is very big will be the Shanghai area. So either or both of those.
And once those are behind us, successfully so, we hope, of course, then we look forward to doing more of these, including some in the Silicon Valley, which I believe is a good area -- and also maybe India, perhaps also Japan, and maybe also a couple of them in Europe, too.
- developerWorks briefings
- System-on-chip design & implementation -- Register now to attend the first-ever Power Architecture technical briefing!
- This developerWorks Technical Briefings page has more on all worldwide briefings, including how to register for an event near you.
- Partners taking part in this first Power Architecture developerWorks technical briefing include Technonics, Xilinx, Denali, Cadence, and Synopsys.
- Big in China
- Join Power.org in China! The conference will focus on innovative Power Architecture concepts, as well as design tools and solutions for Power Architecture system-on-chip developers.
- Electronic Business asks (and in part answers) the question on many people's minds: Is China the next R&D superpower? (July 2005)
- The EE Times chimes in on the same question, predicting that the Move to China may be slower than predicted, as expectations of fabless-foundry model growth in the region underestimate the importance of existing infrastructure (July 2005).
- The Red Herring is not without its own opinion, which also inclines to tamer growth predictions in China for 2005 (June 2005).
- All the world's a game
- NetEase Wins With Online Gaming notes that the company has one of the largest gaming portals in the world (plus it also commands a large share of mobile phone via the Web messaging services) (Forbes, April 2003).
- The China Online Gaming Report, a survey/analysis published by Game Trust and The Diffusion Group, reveals that the PRC will become the primary online gaming market by 2007; at present, China has more than 80 million Internet users and approximately 15 million broadband subscribers and rapid penetration of PCs and broadband are fueling explosive growth in online gaming (TDG Research, September 2004).
- Online game infrastructures is a five-part series that delivers an architectural approach to providing online game infrastructures (developerWorks, June-August 2004).