Crying wolf on rising wages driving production out of China

NYT, April 2005 — China Feels a Labor Pinch:

“…a worker in a sneaker factory in southern China today is paid about 30 percent more than his counterpart in Vietnam and 15 percent more than a worker in Indonesia … Some big companies are moving production to Vietnam…”

NYT, June 2008 — Investors Seek Asian Options to Costly China:

“Canon is no longer building or expanding factories in China, but the company is doubling its work force at a printer factory outside Hanoi to 8,000… A long list of concerns about China is feeding the trend … [M]ost important, wages in China are rising close to 25 percent a year in many industries, in dollar terms, and China is no longer such a bargain.”

NYT, July 2010 — Bangladesh, With Low Pay, Moves In On China:

“As costs have risen in China, long the world’s shop floor, it is slowly losing work to countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia…”

Now, as a partial defense for the NYT, this is a gradual process and is likely to unfold over many years, not all at once (and there’s more nuance to the articles than the quotes pulled above might suggest).  But still, there’s a limit to the number of times you can write virtually the same story over and over, without at least acknowledging the fact that you’ve been saying the same thing for five years.  And if this really has been going on since 2005, it’d be nice to see a little more real data, rather than the same anecdotes of companies claiming China’s gotten too expensive…


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