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US Manufacturing: Is It Sustainable?

Fall and Rise

In David Lawrence’s and Glenn Anderson’s recent article on ‘The Fall and Rise of the American Manufacturer’, the authors are rather optimistic about the current state of U.S. manufacturing. Citing the Institute of Supply Management indicators of manufacturing activity expansion for 19+ consecutive months and their own observations from surviving their 125-year old employer, Cincinnati Milacron, filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 and emerging one year later to thriving profitability and bolder investments in innovation, the authors believe manufacturing is now fueling a sustainable economic recovery from the global recession.

Many economists agree, and in the world of public opinion, a recent survey by Delloitte and The Manufacturing Institute showed that 78% of Americans believe that U.S. manufacturing is vitally important to our economic prosperity and 76% believe it is also important to our standard of living. The survey ranked manufacturing ahead of technology, financial services, health care, communications, and retail.  My own optimism is checked by one key consideration required for long term success: Is it SUSTAINABLE?

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Connecting Sichuan Program Transforms Healthcare and Education in China

In 2008, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake displaces 4.8 million residents and takes 68,000 lives in China’s Sichuan Province.

Following the 2008 earthquake, Cisco in partnership with the Chinese Government created a unique public-private partnership called Connecting Sichuan, a three-year, 45M corporate social responsibility program to revitalize the region, Read More »

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Cisco Responds to Wall Street Journal Article on China

An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal explores how US companies, including Cisco, are working with the Chongqing government in a wide-ranging public infrastructure project.  

First, as a matter of policy, Cisco has not and will not sell video surveillance cameras or video surveillance management software in its public infrastructure projects in China.  We were offered an opportunity to supply those products in Chongqing and, contrary to the suggestion in the article, declined that opportunity. 

Chongqing, as the largest municipality in the world, is seeking to provide a comprehensive set of e-government services, which the city describes as ‘Livable Chongqing, Smooth Chongqing (transportation), Green Chongqing, Peaceful Chongqing and Healthy Chongqing.’ The proposed goals of these initiatives include linking educational and health care institutions, public safety and using networking and smart building technology to drive energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Cisco’s proposed participation in the Smart+Connected Communities project in Chongqing is based on standard, unmodified Cisco routing and switching equipment – the same equipment that is supplied to governments and private sector customers worldwide, in full compliance with US export regulations, which are based in part on human rights concerns, and does not include video surveillance hardware or software. 

We believe strongly that our policies correctly assess the human rights concerns in the use of networking technologies, and our decisions as to the nature of our participation in this project and others are consistent with our corporate social responsibility policies and our codes of conduct.  In particular, we believe that the sale and use of equipment built to global standards increase communication opportunities around the world and reduce the opportunities to deny citizens access to information. 

For more on Cisco’s approach in China, please visit:


The changing luxury retailing market in China

 Recently I sit down with Bertrand Pellegrin, president of b. on brand and author of the book “Branding the Man: Why Men Are the Next Frontier in Fashion Retail”  for a conversation on global retailing trends.  We had both just finished reading KPMG’s   Luxury Experiences in China report and the Economist article on Retailing in China  titled “Walmart v Wumart”. 

 We recorded the following short Q&A about the subject.  Hope you enjoy our converation.


Key points made during our conversation include:

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Cisco Supports Freedom of Expression, an Open Internet and Human Rights

First things first – Cisco believes in the Internet and its ability to educate, unite, empower, challenge, disrupt, collaborate, create and inspire, and the equipment we provide helps the Internet work.

Cisco strongly supports free expression and open communication on the Internet. We are proud to have played a leading role in helping to make Internet technology ubiquitous, allowing billions of people in nearly every nation around the world to access information previously unavailable or inaccessible.

Our goal in providing networking technology is to expand the reach of communications systems, and our products are built on open, global standards.  We do not support attempts by governments to balkanize the Internet or create a “closed” Internet because such attempts undermine the cause of freedom.  In fact, adherence to open standards is critical in the efforts to overcome censorship.

Our company has been accused in a pair of lawsuits of contributing to the mistreatment of dissidents in China, based on the assertion that we customize our equipment to participate in tracking of dissidents.  The lawsuits are inaccurate and entirely without foundation – and in fact they simply recycle the identical allegations that were raised by the Falun Gong religious group three years ago, which were extensively reported at the time and discussed at a Congressional hearing, including reference to the same Chinese government statements about their goals for technology.   We have never customized our equipment to help the Chinese government—or any government—censor content, track Internet use by individuals or intercept Internet communications.

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