The world has been relying on China to be the go-to manufacturing hub for decades. However, recent events indicate that China’s days of being the manufacturing capital of the world may be coming to an end. The ramifications of this for China and the world are serious, and it’s both a good and bad thing depending on where you focus.
China’s GDP growth is the lowest it’s been in a generation, and factory orders fell unexpectedly in April due to civil unrest and thousands of layoffs in the tech and electronics sectors, along with numerous small business closures across the country. This has left many young people struggling to make ends meet, taking on multiple jobs in gig economies or even becoming escorts in karaoke bars.
The problem is not just with China’s economy but with geopolitics as well. Many companies are slow-walking out of China due to increasing tensions, and Chinese companies are investing in Southeast Asia to avoid trade tariffs, sanctions, and political risks. This has led to offshoring of middle-class jobs, causing job losses and tearing at the social contract between the CCP and its people.
The solution for China is to either consume what it produces at home or make it less attractive for companies to set up shop in Vietnam. However, if this trend continues, it could be a harbinger of worse things to come. China’s weak unemployment system does not provide adequate protection for its people in times of trouble, and migrant workers are at an even greater disadvantage.
The end of China’s manufacturing dominance has significant ramifications for the country and the world. While it’s a good thing for many who have suffered job losses and economic hardships, it’s also a bad thing for the country’s economy and its people. The solution lies in finding ways to consume what is produced at home and making it less attractive for companies to move out of the mainland. Otherwise, the bloodletting will continue, and it could lead to even worse outcomes.
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