Sea Change: Pacific Asia as the New World Industrial Center

In This Review

Sea Change: Pacific Asia as the New World Industrial Center

By James C. Abegglen
The Free Press, 1993
277 pp. $24.95

This volume is a sensible and fact-filled guide to the opportunities and risks for corporate America in doing business in East Asia. There are detailed studies of particular countries and groups such as overseas Chinese business networks. A thread running through the volume is the critical importance of having a corporate presence in Japan. According to the author, companies that have done well in Japan also do well in the rest of Asia. Conversely, companies such as General Motors, which have missed opportunities in Japan, have little market position in the rest of Asia.

In what may be the most useful chapter, Abegglen shows how some U.S. companies, such as IBM, Apple, AT&T and Texas Instruments, have built world-scale factories in Asia, engaged local governments in shared development and made the region a center for corporate decision-making. The U.S. automotive industry, however, has missed the Asian boat and forfeited the enormous East Asian auto market to Japan.

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