What do you know about China? In the distant past, China was pretty much a mysterious world. There’s kingdoms within kingdoms where dynasties and emperors rules, great warriors skilled with martial arts, palace with forbidden harems and such. Ancient China was fascinating and intriguing. But that’s all in the past. If you ask me today what I knew and understand about China, I would define China as a communist country in East Asia and it is the most populated country in the world and is basically the ‘World’s Factory’ that produces quality goods.
Being a Malaysian, I’m no stranger to Chinese goods and products. Malaysia have a pretty good diplomatic and business relationship with China and our country imported almost everything from China, from textile to food to electronic appliances and automobiles, you name it. Visit a mall in Malaysia and you will see almost everything has a ‘Made in China’ label attached on it. Things that’s made in China is everywhere in Malaysia and I daresay that every household in Malaysia would at least have a couple of items that’s made in China in their home.
Frankly speaking, China is like a ‘God of Everything’ for us Malaysians. It is indeed a miraculous country that can produce anything that we could ask for.
I never gave much thoughts on how the goods from China was produced and what it took to accomplish that until I stumbled upon this video by Financial Times.
The End of the Chinese Miracle by Financial Times.
The video is an in depth documentary that takes a look at China’s economy and labour force and investigates how one of the world’s most powerful and populous country’s has reached a critical new chapter in its history that might put an end to all to all the miracles that they have been doing so far.
Why did I say that? Well, take a look at the video. According to the video, since the 1980s, millions of Chinese moved to the cities to find better paid jobs in the factories. From what I understand, this was the biggest migration recorded in the history of the world. These migrant workers would work in the cities for several years, sending money to their families, and saving as much as they can before going back when they get older. These people lived in stuffed communal dormitories, ate in the crowded factory’s canteen and worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. But as time goes by and China developed, the people becomes more educated and well informed than their forefathers, lesser people are opting moving to the cities just to work with minimal wages. The first generations of the migrant workers are already in their golden age and not quite fit for factories employment anymore and the younger generations are saying absolute no to cheap labour. This can only translate to one thing, and one thing only; productivity will slows down and the Chinese economy will go into reverse.
Many factories in China resorted to either closing down their factories and relocating to other places in South East Asia like Vietnam, where they are still in the initial stage of development and minimum wages job opportunities are more welcomed. A sensible option in terms of business, I must say, but there are others who opt to import workers from poorer countries to cater to their needs, which can be very dangerous as it is done illegally. The video offers insights on the lives of the migrant workers and their hardship and is really an eye opener.
Being a business owner myself, I am pretty much worried how this trend will affect Malaysian and global economy in general as China has always been a reliable source of goods, but at the same time I couldn’t help but ponder on the humanitarian side of things.
Financial Times definitely hits the nail this time by documenting this. Is this really the end of the Chinese miracle? Watch the video and let me know what you think and if you are interested for a more in depth reading on the issue, you might want to head over HERE
and read up.