Some in North America's plastics industry are not happy with Plastics News for organizing a conference next month about doing business in China. Our detractors view such action as promoting the exporting of U.S. jobs abroad.
Our motivation in producing the Plastics News China Forum 2006 is driven by some of the same reasons that prompted us to launch our China eWeekly e-mail newsletter in June 2005 - to help firms become more effective players in the global market.
Bottom line: The North American plastics industry has been affected dramatically by globalization, and particularly by the rise of China. Many have felt the pain of once-healthy sectors contracting and supply chains broadening to include sourcing from far-flung corners of the globe. This is reality, and no amount of wishing for the ``good old days'' will turn back the clock.
It is painful to watch once-successful companies - many family-owned - crumble under the pressure. Despite what some readers seem to suggest, we get no joy from reporting the demise of such firms. But it is our duty to do so. Being oblivious to reality is not likely to enhance one's chances to survive.
As a newspaper, our purpose is to inform and to provide an independent forum for ideas and opinions. We track trends and offer analysis that our readers use to help them make business decisions.
We have been working hard over the past three-plus years to gain knowledge and build contacts across Asia. We feel we are as well-placed as anyone in the plastics industry to organize a conference that will bring together China-experienced experts who can share their insights and help Western company owners and managers understand the challenges before them.
It also is vital that Western manufacturers understand the opportunities posed by China's massive domestic market. The country is becoming an aggressive consumer of quality goods, and those plastic product makers that invest the time, money and energy to learn how to do business there stand to benefit immensely.
By becoming more active internationally, PN is doing what many of today's successful manufacturers are doing - following customers as they expand around the globe. Asia, especially China, accounts for a fast-growing chunk of business for firms such as GE Plastics and Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., and the region is vital to the growth of major plastics processors and original equipment manufacturers. To ignore China would be a disservice to such companies and to the industry in general.
And finally, even if you think we have our head on backward and you don't accept the above rationale for us being active in Asia, we still can help you. China's Sun Tzu said in The Art of War: ``If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.''
One certainly can choose not to participate in the global market. But these days, such a decision can be perilous. We have opted to engage the global market, and to help those who look to us for useful news and information to do the same.
Interested parties can see details about our upcoming China conference at www.plasticsnews.com/chinaforum.