How bad is the labor problem in China? We are aware, of course, of the steady hikes in wages, which have annually risen by at least double-digits for over a decade.
But now it’s being reported that Taiwan-based component makers have had enough, to the point where some are considering repatriating their production from China, or packing it up for Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Now, I’m not going to put too much stock in an unsourced report. That said, the notion that Taiwan could steal back jobs from China has been floating around for months. The average salary in Taiwan has risen just 0.9% in the past decade, despite a working population of just 11 million. (China, by contrast, has an estimated 920 million working aged citizens.) Monthly wages in Taiwan’s manufacturing sector were NT 41,087 (US$1,358) as of October, and have trended considerably more slowly than China for some time.
All in all, it’s a stunning development, given that just a few years ago China’s promise appeared mostly still in the “potential” stage. Is it possible that promise will ultimately go unfulfilled?