"It's a postmodern waste-scape of continuous urbanization."
October 23, 2002 8:30 AM   Subscribe

"It's a postmodern waste-scape of continuous urbanization." Welcome to the Pearl River Delta, China. (via /.)
posted by four panels (3 comments total)
Good read. It ties into (pun intended) the Last American Shirt Company thread. They can make anything we make cheaper.
posted by stbalbach at 9:37 AM on October 23, 2002

Another great, underappreciated Mefi post.
posted by troutfishing at 6:47 AM on October 24, 2002

gives a really good flavour for the place :D wired did some others i think go well with it -- neal stephenson's meditation on change in china and a look from david sheff through the POV of edward tian on the changes he hopes to make.

also the wsj recently had an article about chinese exports' effect on the global economy, quoting extensively:
"China's rise as a manufacturing base is going to have the same kind of impact on the world that the industrialization of the U.S. had, perhaps even bigger," says Andy Xie, an economist with Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong.

Half of China's exports, which totaled $266.2 billion in 2001 and are on track to surpass that this year, now come from foreign manufacturers or their joint ventures in China. China is the world's fourth-largest industrial base, in terms of value of goods produced, behind the U.S., Japan and Germany. These days, China makes more than 50% of the cameras sold world-wide, 30% of the air conditioners and televisions, 25% of the washing machines, and nearly 20% of the refrigerators. A private Chinese company, Guangdong Galanz Enterprise Group Co., now accounts for 40% of all microwave ovens sold in Europe. The city of Wenzhou, in eastern China, sells 70% of the world's metal cigarette lighters.


Helping drive this competitive cycle is the flood of foreign investment into China -- more than $600 billion during the past two decades -- and the introduction of modern manufacturing techniques. Foreign technology has powered productivity gains across the economy, and a nationwide entrepreneurial zeal has sprouted from the shambles of central planning. Low wages have slowed China's transition to a consumption-driven economy, but the pool of cheap labor remains deep, allowing companies to control costs and often to cut them dramatically.


Foreign investment in China is on pace to hit a record $50 billion this year. Motorola Inc. says its total investment in China will reach $10 billion within four years, up from $3.7 billion now. Toshiba is building one of the world's biggest laptop factories outside Hangzhou, with output next year projected at 750,000 units and growing to 2.4 million in 2004. The bulk of that is destined for export.

The U.S., the world's biggest market, feels the effects more than most. Since May, America's monthly imports from China have consistently outstripped those from Japan. After decades of exporting mostly low-end products, such as textiles and toys, China has moved into more sophisticated goods, such as computers and DVD players. In July, exports to the U.S. of China-made electronic products hit $1.2 billion, up 12.5% from the month before. China's high-tech exports to the U.S. are now growing faster than any other category of Chinese export, up 47% in the first seven months of this year from a year earlier.

Exports from China to the U.S. affect most industries. Televisions and audio equipment rose at a 13% annualized rate between 1998 and 2001 to $6 billion in 2001; tools and hardware were up at a 23% annual rate to more than $1.5 billion in 2001; sporting goods rose at a 16% rate to $2 billion. And as imports from China are rising, U.S. retail prices in many of these categories are falling. TV-set prices have declined on average by 9% each year since 1998, according to Labor Department data; tool prices have fallen 1% each year on average; sports-equipment prices have dropped at a 3% annual rate.
like the jiang-bush meeting taking place'll prolly have some trade overtones!
posted by kliuless at 12:44 PM on October 24, 2002

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