Has China lost is manufacturing advantages?

January 28th, 2014 | Posted by Michael Hermens

The Malaysian Straits Times newspaper carried an interesting article today; “Foxconn eyes US, Indonesia”. Foxconn is a Taiwanese company with huge production facilities in China and THE leading supplier of Apple iPhones and iPads. The article claims that the rising costs and labour unrest in China are main reasons for Foxconn to relocate production by building high-tech factories in Indonesia and the USA. So does this also apply to the woodworking industry in China? I partly think so; our industry is low tech and is difficult to automate so it will always rely on low cost labour. One does already see a move of production from China to lower labour cost countries such as Indonesia. And yes it would be logical that some of the production moves to the USA especially if it concerns products using US sourced timber. However the USA timber industry is already facing a labour shortage so this would only work for that type of production which can be automated such as panel furniture, flooring etc. but probably less for solid furniture. Lastly I do find it recommendable that Asian manufacturers are willing to invest in the USA whereas many American seems to have lost the spirit of entrepreneurship.

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