Turning the tables
Expecting some funds

Turning the tables (2)

The other Hong Kong invader is PCCW, which is trying to set up a wireless broadband network in the UK.  From The Guardian, once again:

The Hong Kong telecoms company PCCW is to offer some British customers telephony services through its wireless broadband technology next year.  The technology has been tipped as a threat to BT's grip on the fixed-line phone market in Britain. Unlike other broadband services, PCCW's product can be transmitted directly into homes. It does not involve rewiring or piggy-backing on BT's local loop network.

PCCW, trading as UK Broadband, has acquired 15 wireless broadband licences across the country for $14m (£7.5m) and has invested up to $40m in a web of base stations installed on existing mobile phone masts to create a network across an area of the Thames Valley, west of London.  UK Broadband, which only offers an internet data service called Netvigator, has not revealed how many customers it had attracted in and around Slough, Reading, Windsor and Maidenhead, where it has hired Saatchi & Saatchi to conduct a advertising blitz.

[..]

PCCW already offers many of its customers in Hong Kong telephony, internet and television over its wireless technology.

I don't think so!  PCCW does have a wireless broadband service in Hong Kong, but its residential broadband service is (unsurprisingly) delivered through the phone lines that it has into virtually every home and business in Hong Kong.  Just like BT has in the UK.

The third company is Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, which is in talks with Rover about a joint venture. According to some newspaper reports, this could eventually lead to Rover being owned by the Chinese company. Nothing particularly unusual about that - famous British car marques such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar and Mini are already in foreign hands.

In fact, the whole concept of the "British" car industry is very strange these days - if you want to buy a car that is made in the UK, you will be handing your money over to a foreign-owned company such as Ford (USA), Peugeot (France), and most of the Japanese manufacturers (Nissan, Toyota, Honda). Many of these companies (particularly the Japanese) received significant subsidies from the public purse to locate their factories in particular parts of the UK.

The story of the British car industry over the last 40-50 years is not a happy one. A succession of mergers and the eventual nationalisation of the resulting entity created a monster (British Leyland) that churned out some really dreadful cars such as the Morris Marina and Austin Allegro. The company enjoyed something of a revival through a joint venture with Honda, and was eventually handed over by the government to British Aerospace, who sold it to BMW (thus ending the partnership with Honda, but unfortunately without replacing it with anything better). BMW never got to grips with their "English Patient" and eventually sold it (for a token sum) to a consortium of British businessmen (keeping the Mini, the only bit they felt had any value).  Unsurprisingly it is still struggling to survive.

The truth is that it really isn't particularly important whether the UK has a car industry or not, and Rover is economically much less significant than the foreign-owned companies such as Ford. Understandably, these multinationals produce wherever it makes most sense, and of course they're always willing to take public money to locate a factory in Derbyshire, Tyne & Wear or Swindon.

When I was a car owner in the UK, I never knew where the cars I bought had been manufactured - after all, a Peugeot or Toyota might have made in the UK, whilst a Rover badge might have been put on a Japanese car. A Ford might have been made up of a gearbox from Spain, an engine from France, and transmission from the UK.

Any or all of these cars might contain parts made by British manufacturers, so even if you were trying to 'buy British' it was almost impossible to know what to do for the best.

If Rover ends up being owned by a Chinese company, a few "patriotic" buyers might possibly be put off, but if the quality improves then increased sales will more than compensate for that!

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