Great, optimistic perspective from Bud Michael, a San Jose CEO. Four key paragraphs from the piece::
"First of all, business people have to be able to separate political/social views from business issues. The Chinese business people I've dealt with certainly do. This doesn't mean leaving your conscience at the border, but it does mean realizing that not everybody looks at the world the same way we do. Silicon Valley is a leading source of technological innovation, and if we're going to export that technology to the world at large we must learn how to operate in different environments.
"The government controls almost all aspects of Chinese society; we revel in relative freedom from government interference. Good for us, not so good for them. But my advice is simple: deal with it. I tip my hat to the U.S. tech leaders who have been grilled by Congress and often vilified in the U.S. press for "selling out" in China. To me, they are pioneers in this brave new world of capitalism co-existing with communism, and I appreciate their willingness to take their lumps in the cause of market expansion.
"My overall assessment of the Chinese opportunity for U.S. enterprise software companies is optimistic. For companies in the storage and security fields, particularly, China presents an enormous opportunity. The commoditization of high-end serving technology, which bedevils companies like Sun and SGI, has opened up a large market for companies that can offer solutions for the new-era enterprise data center. China's preference for Linux-based server architectures is a real advantage for those who can deal in the Open Source environment.
"It's not a perfect world in China. Its transformation from a planned economy to a market-driven economy proceeds in fits and starts. As often as you see promising developments you run into incomprehensible regulations. Piracy and lack of protection for intellectual property remain serious problems. Finding local partners with a commitment to outflanking the bureaucracy and guaranteeing IP integrity is an absolute necessity. But, in a brave new world, only the brave will thrive."