The Chinese Diaspora

In what might be the most fascinating labor development to come out of China this year, major ODMs are relocating workers west due to labor shortages.

One major reason companies in Shenzhen packed up their factories and moved inland (with the government’s blessing) was to chase a larger supply of lower-cost workers. Shenzhen had become too expensive, and migrants from the western farms were no longer so eager to move to the Southeast coast to take jobs. The diaspora was supposed to resolve both

But today the news out of China is much different. Quanta Computer and Compal Electronics reportedly have moved employees from east to west to support factories in Chongqing City, a municipality with a population of more than 28 million (!), due to short labor supplies.

Even in a country of 1.3 billion people, cheap, effective workers apparently are hard to come by.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow