Disputes between China and Japan over ownership of several small islets, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are increasing and threatening to draw the U.S. into a potential fire-fight and conflict between 2 of the world’s top 3 economies. Violent anti-Japan protests this past week are threatening the $300 billion annual economic ties between the two nations. A wide range of firms from electronics giants Sony and Panasonic to Japan’s big three carmakers — Toyota, Honda and Nissan — temporarily halted production at some or all of their China-based plants.
Japanese electronics (and other) manufacturers are reported to be making a beeline to the Philippines. These include Furukawa Electric, Murata Manufacturing, and Brother Industries. The Philippine’s Trade and Industry Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio stated that the government is also soliciting suppliers of these Japanese companies in order to nurture local supply chains.
Job creation. Foxconn’s newly announced venture near Sao Paulo, Brazil, is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs by 2016. One has to wonder whether Americans or Europeans will provide the basis of their necessary supply chain needed for the announced board, part, and device production. Or, will a new “home grown” series of material and specialty chemical suppliers be the end result? Will production assembly equipment come from Europe? America, China, or Asia? The numbers will be big!
Samsung toeing the mark? Following its recent loss IP suit loss to Apple, Samsung announced that it would audit working conditions at 249 Chinese subcontractors and suppliers, including 105 that produce goods solely for Samsung. This major decision, coupled with Apple’s main provider Hon Hai’s (Foxconn Technology Group) decision to tackle working condition violations among its 1.2 million workers assembling iPhones and iPads, are certain to change the way that Western and other “foreign” companies do business in China. Samsung stated that it would terminate contracts with suppliers that do not take corrective actions when found and notified of violations of Samsung’s labor and working condition policies.