To much of the world, China’s reputation for manufacturing can be summed up in one word: cheap.
But on the factory floors here and in the newly built neon-lit offices, managers say times are changing – and costs rising. Skilled workers and technicians are taking advantage of acute shortages to demand double-digit salary increases. Employers are saddled with Asia’s highest levels of social charges and forced to offer a host of perks to retain people.
The rising labor costs are threatening the model of development – the export zones clustered along the coast – that has brought China the prosperity of the past decade.