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China is a jumble of networks. The country has emerged as the world's second largest manufacturer through an intricate system of interconnected enterprises, mostly small and medium sized, each specialized at managing a portion of the giant supply chain that snakes through China and churns out everything from plastic flowers to sophisticated computer chips. In manufacturing, new forms of collaboration-based innovation have emerged. Loncin, a Chongqing-based motorcycle maker, keeps costs low by managing its suppliers through what is essentially an open-source system. The company gives only broad specifications for each component, so suppliers must collaborate to design parts.
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