This is something of a revelation for those who think that trade in optical components with China is a one-way street. In this case, Bookham is shipping optical components into China -- the opposite of what most people would expect.
Ironically, Bookham's founder and chairman, Andrew Rickman, was particularly outspoken about the threat posed by Chinese optical component vendors when he spoke to Light Reading nearly two years ago (see US to China: Do You Copy?).
All the same, most people go along with the view that Chinese vendors will rank among the biggest in the world before the end of the decade, according to early results of Light Reading's March Research Poll on Competition from China. Here's a quick snapshot of the results so far:
- Two thirds of respondents think Chinese telecom equipment vendors will rank alongside the likes of Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) by 2008.
- Half the respondents think Chinese vendors of optical components and subsystems will be among the world's biggest by that time. A similar proportion think that Chinese vendors of telecom chipsets will achieve a similar level of success.
- About two thirds of respondents would invest in a Chinese vendor, subject to conditions in some instances. They may get a chance to do so. Huawei is said to be planning an IPO (see ...and East Looks West).
- Most respondents have a fairly low opinion of Chinese vendors. 54 percent say that intellectual property is routinely stolen, and 42 percent say Chinese vendors don't innovate.
— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading