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China Looks to Detroit

People in this region are desperate for any trickle of positive investment news. From the Detroit Free Press comes a story about a partnership between the Chinese government and two Chinese firms – Capital Iron & Steel Co., and auto supplier Tempo Group – to buy Delphi's brake and transmission business in an estimated $100 million deal. Last month, another Chinese firm, Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., agreed to buy General Motors' Hummer brand.

How much can Chinese investment help revive Michigan's economy?

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  • 1

    Personally, I don't take it as any kind of a positive to think the Chinese are buying up interest in Detroit. As a nation, we are already so deep in their debt they can dictate domestic policy -- why else can't we get cheap and often unsafe products from China off our shelves in favor of American-made products? What is sovereignty anyway, if not the right of our people to make decisions about our government in our interests? Obviously, we can no longer do that -- and making ourselves even more in debt to the Chinese (or any other foreign body) is a very bad plan.

    Easy money today is thinking short-term and it's what got us into this bind in the first place.

  • 2

    How much can Chinese investment help revive Michigan's economy??

    Infinitely more than American ridicule and non-investment.

  • 3

    People need to get past their "knee jerk" china = bad reaction. Chinese investment can do a lot of good for Detroit especially if some of the products they make here start getting sent back to China.

    Karin, you bring up some good points about business with China that has gone poorly, but the references to tainted imported dog food and chinese affinity for funding our government spending are a bit out of place in reference to these business transactions.

    The bottom line is that both DELPHI and GM need cash and were going to jettison these unproductive divisions one way or another. At least this option keeps people at work. Hopefully the Chinese will invest in their new acquisitions and find a way to make them productive and profitable again. Having successful industries in the city, paying decent wages, can do nothing but help.

  • 4

    I see the selling off of our industrys as both a benifit and a pitfall. The benifit being that these industries will continue, either here or abroad. The pitfall being that there is no industry being created to employ more people.

    So one factory gets bought out, but that buyout money is not used to start a competeing industry, or even a different industry altogether.

    Case in point. The basic fork, spoon or knife, has any one even thought to look where they are made? Why can't or won't one of these so called industrial leaders retool a failing factory to make basic daily needs that can be sold world wide?

    My Fiance and I do not own a microwave, yes believe it or not, we just refuse to own one, We do have every other kitchen appliance you can think of, all of wiich have been made somewhere besides the U.S.A. I have searched high and low to buy products other then a car that are made here in our country. Very hard to do I might add.

    There are those that think the money brought to these companies will be a boost to industry, sure a little boost is better then none. But what about the esential every day make life a little easier essentials that we stopped producing long ago, those are the industries that we need to bring back.

    We are selling off our economic future every time we take a failing industry and auction it off instead of fix it to work right. It is our duty as Americas to demand that it be done. Especially now in this time of recession. Soon more people will be out of a job, once the Chinese see that manufacturing here is not profitable they will either sell off what is left or pack it up and take it back to China, and you can't blame them for it, it's just business.

    Other countries don't care about the quality of American life, they care about the quality of their countrymens life. Stop selling off our industrial base and start retooling to make a better life for Americans.

    As workers for big industry it is their job as well to stand up for what they think is right. If you know your jobs are being sold off, stand up and take action. let them know that you would rather have no job then work for a foriegn owner. That would stop the sale I bet.

  • 5

    Thank you for articulating it so nicely, Robert.

    I would not call my response a "knee-jerk" -- it is part of my whole view that we should be more self-sustaining. We should, as you note, be making forks, knives and spoons right here. The issue with the dog food was a wheat additive -- why in the name of all that is good for Americans are we buying WHEAT from China -- or anywhere but from American farmers?!?!??

    (Disclaimer: My boyfriend has a small farm which has been in his family for generations -- he's managing to hang on despite having to sell the cows about 10 years ago -- he grows hay, straw, wheat and barley, and rents out some ground for other crops, to keep things in a healthy rotation).

    When his microwave died, he was insistent that we find one made in this country. My dad used to work for Litton ABM (Automated Business Machines -- it was on Eight Mile, I think) -- they made their name in microwaves and cash registers. But no more -- we checked at 3-4 stores and all the microwaves are made in China (except one made in Korea) -- when we asked, we were informed that no one makes microwaves in the United States any more. That's just wrong -- we have let another country put one industry totally out of business.

    The shelves in our stores are filled with bits of plastic garbage, most of it manufactured abroad (often in China, but other countries as well) -- by underpaid, exploited workers, often working in unhealthy, unsafe conditions, then we let this cr*p into our country where is undersells locally made products. There's all this junk we don't need -- plastic stuff which breaks and just fills up landfills. I am all for tariffs and an pull-back on free trade, or we will be lowering the average American worker's standard of living to that of workers in a Third World country, disregarding our more stringent environmental protections because they "hinder" our ability to compete, and thereby lowering the quality of life for all on the planet.

    Foreign ownership of American businesses is a siphon that sucks profit right out of the country, just as is the use of foreign agricultural laborers who send all their wages back home while draining services locally and sucking up tax dollars in housing subsidies. But don't even get me started!

    My reaction is part of my whole world view that we need to take care of our own people first and foremost, and that to do so, we have to eshew those flashy corporate dollars, which come with strings which strangle us, in favor of the small, local, necessary businesses that could make us healthier in mind, body and economy.

  • 6

    Well said Robert. To imply that the Detroit region is so desperate for economic development, we'll take anything, shows a lack of understanding of this regions economy and history. Time and time again, the "any development is good development" attitude has failed us (Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant for example). The region has sold itself short over and over again, and we are paying for those short sighted "developments" generations later.

    We can't afford to take any development that coms our way. Its time to think strategically about what we are good at and then do it really well. We have hundreds of tool and die shops set up for the contracting auto industry. Surely there is an alternate use for these factories as Robert suggested.

    Implying some sort of desperation for any economic developments is short sighted and lacks any sort of understanding of what this region needs to move forward.

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