China Outlook: An Interview with Hamed El-Abd, Lionel Fullwood, and Gene Weiner of WKK

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During the recent HKPCA show, I had the opportunity to catch up with Hamed El-Abd, Lionel Fullwood, and Gene Weiner of WKK. Our discussion covered an array of topics, from politics to new PCB factories and what it takes to stay competitive. These three men have spent years in China, so it’s always informative to speak with them about China’s PCB manufacturing industry and the global electronics market. A transcript of the interview follows.

Barry Matties: Here with me today is Hamed El-Abd, Lionel Fullwood and Gene Weiner from WKK. Welcome, guys.

WKK_Weiner.jpgGene Weiner: Barry, it’s good to see you again in China, the No. 1 economy in the world as of this quarter.

Barry: Thank you, and that’s what I’ve read just this morning.

Gene: And that is strictly because of numbers, not because of technology. The leading technology here is still coming in from the foreigners, including the Taiwanese, who are classed as foreigners.

Barry: Gene, you’ve been coming to China for many years now, correct?

Gene: Since 1983.

Barry: One thing that strikes me is the amount of change that has happened in just the last five years in particular. What changes have you seen, and what’s your opinion on it?

Gene: Well, with the change, a lot of it is superficial. Much of it is a new, younger government tightening up, and much of it is from a stronger economic position globally and a stronger military. The Chinese have put themselves in a position to be a power player, if not the power player, in the world. They’re still copying, copying, copying, and not paying much attention to specs. Mostly it’s homegrown products for homegrown companies, with the best technology still coming from Europe, the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan. From Taiwan I would say it’s the application of the technology improvements done by ITRI, their government sponsored research, as well as their major companies.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of The PCB Magazine.



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