Thursday, September 15, 2011

China 'losing edge' as low-cost manufacturer

China is losing its edge as the world's cheapest place to manufacture goods, a new report suggests.

Indonesia and Bangladesh are benefiting most as rising costs in China force firms to switch production, it says.

The report by consultants KPMG says that minimum wage levels in China are now four times greater than other places in South and South East Asia.

However, the report says China can defend its position because of its productivity and infrastructure.

China is still dominant in the production of goods such as consumer electronics and furniture.

But the report says that production of clothing and footwear is now more widely dispersed across Asia, with Indonesia and Vietnam specialising in the production of footwear and India developing a niche in hand-stitched fabrics and metalware.

According to KPMG estimates, Indonesia's footwear exports grew by 42% in 2010 to $2.1bn (£1.3bn), while Bangladesh saw textiles exports grow by 43% to more than $18bn in the year to July 2011.

"Sourcing goods in China purely because of ultra-low costs is a thing of the past," said Nick Debnam, KPMG's Asia-Pacific chair. more