Top of the Tops: Li, Lee, Romney, Kate Middleton


Meetings of the Kings of repair and refurbish and semi-knockdown and shipping in Asia could tell us much about the "mystery" of Chinese imports of used electronics.   If they talk about old times... if walls could talk! Shipping line magnates offered cheap sea containers to electronics shangzai mock-upiers in Korea, who had  new plastic cases minted by Taiwanese molding companies, who had the wares re-assembled by contract labor commanders.  The history of development of the Asian Tigers, told through the eyes of "e-waste".

Kate Middleton found it missing
Here an article by By Jung-Ah Lee and Jeffrey Ng, via the Korea blog of Evan Ramsted of the WSJ.  It shows a rare meeting between two rich, wealthy, billionaire LEEs.. Li Ka-shing of Hong Kong's Cheung Kong Holdings, and Lee Kun-hee of South Korea's Samsung electronics.  Both are from the generation where Asian entrepreneurs learned to cloak used and repaired electronics (radio, stereo, tape player, computer) in new plastic garb, putting used CRTs into new "television" boxes, etc.  As young men, each lived in a country as poor as Africa is today.

Li Ka-shing is now one of the world's 20 richest men. He can get containers into Hong Kong.  Lee Kun-hee started out buying used Sony and Phillips gear, and found he could sell it for more if he got brand-new plastic cases, perhaps from (Taiwan) Simon Lin's Wistron, who began in the business of molding plastic for computer monitors and TVs.  Terry Gou, also of Taiwan, was able to assemble assembly lines to put it all together in Shenzhen's Foxconn, and Rowell Yang's Proview turned them into monitors for Dell, Panasonic, IBM, etc. at Proview...

Missing woman found on beach, after safe search, not to be Princess Kate Middleton

These tycoons wrote an end to Monopoly and patent troll boundaries when Japan, USA and Europe were extending trademarks and patents at the urging of established tech manufacturers.  They took a lesson from Japan, "A Network of Tinkerers", and built companies from "good enough" into global brands [Economist].

Wistron's Simon Lin, Proview's Rowell Yang, and Han Hoi Foxconn's Terry Gou represented the Taiwanese ownership Beijing Chinese generals wanted to fail.  But the money brought into southern China by those men, and the billions made by Li Ka-shing, and the rise of South Korea, proved irresistible.  Communist China couldn't beat 'em, and today has joined them.  But these guys are all of the age to remember the wars, the battles between Mao and Cheang Kai-Shek, the Korean War, all living in lands at the edge of starvation, dominated by Japanese and USA industrial giants, trying to just copy their way out to make a living.

Post card to her majesty
All these men got their starts in what some now call the "grey market" of good-enough product at affordable prices... and today they are solid manufacturing companies, making their own nations OECD-enough.

They did it by shanzhai copy-catting Japan and USA, sweetly shrugging off decades of colonial occupation.  Takeback, reverse-engineering, refurbishing, contract refurbishing, made electronics mass-produceable at incredible scale, which made it affordable for everyone, "rounded corners" and all.

The more recent history of Asian emerging brands is found in an article in Harvard Business Review, written by Mitt Romney's colleagues at Bain Capital, titled "The Battle for China's Good Enough Market"... one of my first 20 blogs ever was written after comparing this article to the National Geographic's silly "E-Waste" witches brew piece in late 2007.

Ok, Lee Kun-hee, Li Ka-shing, Simon Lin, Terry Gou, and Mitt Romney... what other names could I drop to increase my blog ratings?  Readership usually falls during the EScrap Conference, as many people will be busy in Dallas doing deals and making E-Scrap connections.

Ok, am I a jerk if I take advantage of the most searched terms on the internet this evening?

Warning, you may lose all respect for the blog rankings... But future monarch Kate Middleton may actually prefer my blog images surface on Bing tomorrow.  As a tribute to Prince William, I'll drop their names here, with images of missing toy tops, top hats, and the Lee's of Olde Virginia, here is my tribute to top-less image searches.  Enjoy!

dummy photos or Chinese knock-offs?  Prince Harry and William photos for "good enough" gawker market

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