highjump.jpgChinese companies still have a long way to go if they want to become “strategic suppliers” to western tech firms.

Chip giant Intel has just honoured
over 50 of its suppliers for the quality of their processes and
products, which are mostly used in the chip-making process. But I
struggled in vane to find any Chinese names in the top award category.

The 12 mostly Japanese suppliers that earned Intel's supplier
continuous quality improvement (SCQI) award scored at least 95% on a
list of goals in areas like cost, quality, delivery and responsiveness.

Another 44 suppliers that scored better than 80% earned Intel's 2006 preferred quality supplier (PQS) recognition.

The only Chinese supplier we could find in the PQS category was
Catac Electronic (Zhongshan) Co Ltd, which makes printed circuit boards
for computer manufacturers in China.

In fact, it is the mainland operation of two Taiwanese electronics
companies, Mitac International and Catac Electronic, so its attention
to quality issues has likely been instilled by its Taiwanese parents
rather than home-grown.

Chinese companies are not yet a major force in supplying much of the
specialist equipment used to make chips, so we should not draw too big
a conclusion from the results.

But I can't help thinking that there is a real opportunity for
western companies and consultancies skilled in quality management
practices to sell their services and expertise in China.

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