Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Workers in China

1. Is the era of cheap Chinese labour almost over?
A string of suicides at the Foxconn plant in southern China that makes iPads and iPhones for Apple
has focused attention on wages and conditions there.

2. In China, Unlikely Labor Leader Just Wanted a Middle-Class Life
Tan Guocheng is hardly a self-styled labor leader.
Age 23 and introverted, he grew up among rice paddies and orange groves far from China’s big factory towns.
But last month, an hour into his shift at a Honda factory in the southern city of Foshan,
Mr. Tan pressed an emergency button that shut down his production line.
“Let’s go out on strike!” he shouted.
Within minutes, hundreds of workers were abandoning their posts.

3. What Do China’s Workers Want?
What do these protests say about China’s new generation of workers?
How should multinationals respond, given their huge investment in China’s labor market?
Five experts share their views.

My views
The low wages in China is not the only problem. This is made worse by the high cost of living and the high property prices. These issues have to be addressed, so that there is a proper balance between wages, cost of living and cost of a home. These challenges apply to Singapore as well.


C H Yak said...

Result of China's one dragon child policy and also more educated work force.

Result of forcing capitalist system on them via MNC - Taiwanese, Japanese or Koreans ... Convergence of 4 small dragons + Japan etc in China?

Luckily, the workers are protected by Minimum Wage Policy, Free Right to Gather outside the factory; at least in their mindset, and social benefits from the Communist State.

In Singapore, problem of same nature is faced more at PMET level. Singapore's 2 Lion child policy results in more PMETs...LOL.

In China, it is more acute at worker level...because the economy has not fully to do with integration of value chain.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan. very good view. Not wages are too low rather living costs and asset prices have gone way too high. I personally think this hu ha about wage will be over when the double dip comes (likely end 2010 or in 2011). I personally think it is very likely. And when that happens, asset prices will collapse and everyone will be back to realities like Alice waking up from wonderland.

Anonymous said...

China has been showing the world that they are more democratic than what US or other Western countries think.
Every few years their leaders make way for younger, more robust Party members, and these old leaders retire completely, allowing new leaders to rejuvenate the country and the economy.
Singapore is more Communist in nature by comparison, and our same old leaders keep on making the same mistakes, with no necessity to change their old mindset.
So they resort to quick, shortcuts to solve problems, like planting instant trees along our roads.
So zhi biao bu zhi ben, solving the surface only, the underlying problems remain the same, manifesting the the problems for our future generation to solve in the years to come.

J said...

Other related articles:

The articles touch on the observation that worker's salaries in China may not remain cheap for long. Although this is a little different from the main point in the original post on high cost of living, I feel it is related. If it becomes more difficult for the government to import foreigners to depress Singaporean's wages, then Singaporeans will have more to deal with the higher costs of living.

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