When Nikkei writes that suppliers are experiencing an ‘extraordinary decline’ in Chinese demand I take it with a grain of salt. Nikkei has a long history of insider trading reporter scandals. To me they are more market manipulation mafioso than a reliable media outlet. However, the source the Nikkei report is Nidec Chairman Shigenobu Nagamori. When Nagamori san says he’s never seen anything like this Chinese drop in demand for Nidec products across the board, people across Japan sit up and listen. This is a serious contraction in Chinese manufacturing and there will be a lot more reports coming as the Nidec story gets picked up. It’s just the tip of the iceberg but at least the China construction sector seems to be holding up as Komatsu is still seeing some sales growth there.
Shigenobu Nagamori is a charismatic founder who loves and lives his company every bit as much as Steve Jobs loved and lived Apple. He obsesses over little details and tours Nidec factory floors making sure everything is clean and properly stored. Sweat the details and the big things take care of themselves. He has lived and survived many recessions. When a downturn comes the first thing he does is cut company executive and board member salary and bonuses while holding the line for regular employees. Real leaders rally the troops by sharing the hard times.
Steve Jobs famously worked for a dollar a year salary. I wonder if Tim Cook and the Apple Leadership will take a pay and bonus cut like Steve Jobs did and Shigenobu Nagamori does. It would certainly rally the Apple team if they did.