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When the Headlines are Misleading.....or Just Plain Wrong

  • Indium Corporation
  • Folks,

    Although me intent is that my blog be "friendly," I can't help but point out an example of common misleading headlines in the media. In these cases, I don't believe there is an intent to deceive, just that most folks aren't good with numbers.

    The example is the story Contract Manufacturers Move to Vietnam. This article would give the impression that Vietnam is growing much faster than elsewhere. Well, the truth is that the growth rate for SE Asia is the same as all of Asia. A quote from the article follows:

    "The south-east Asian contract-manufacturing market, consisting of Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) and Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) providers, will rise to $24.9 billion by 2011, a nearly $9 billion increase from $16.2 billion in 2006, according to iSuppli. By 2011, south-east Asia will rise to account for 7 per cent of global electronics contract-manufacturing revenue, up from 6.3 per cent in 2006."

    Growing from $16.2B to $24.9B in 5 years is a 9% compound annual growth rate. According to Prismark the growth rate for all of Asia in this period is going to be 8.8% (i.e. the same). This article quickly caught my eye as off the mark because I make it a practice to quickly check numbers against common sense and my mental "data base" of numbers. Asia in general, I remembered, was growing at about 9% per year.

    In fairness, Vietnam is not separated out from the SE Asia data. My sense is that Vietnam is probably growing much more quickly than established, high labor SE Asia countries like Singapore, but the data given can't support this premise. All in all, a catchy headline, but a poorly researched and written article.


    Dr. Ron