China’s Factories Face Big, Labor-driven Changes

Caixin, via MarketWatch, reports on the troubles faced by China’s manufacturers as foreign importers are turning elsewhere for cheap labor:

Manufacturers may have been especially spooked by a report released May 5 by the U.S.-based Boston Consulting Group, which predicted a narrowing wage gap between the United States and China over the next five years. The report said the change will increase the number of “Made in USA” products appearing on U.S. store shelves at the expense of “Made in China” products.

Some wonder whether China’s labor-related challenges may threaten the country’s status as the world’s factory. Increasing numbers of manufacturers may relocate plants from China to India, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia, countries that have been stepping up efforts to attract business and investment.

How much should China worry? Actually, the worrying is already over for some enterprises: They’ve closed shop.

An executive in the city of Jiaxing at Zhejiang Youbang Integrated Ceiling Co. said his firm is among the 90% of more than 500 local integrated-ceiling enterprises that have managed to survive since wages started climbing last year. Others, though, have not.

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