How face masks are reminding the world of China's manufacturing dominance
The Liu family factory has been making diapers and baby products in the Chinese city of Quanzhou for over 10 years. In February, for the first time, it started making face masks, as demand soared spectacularly due to the coronavirus outbreak. The business – which employs 100 people in the southeastern province of Fujian – has added two production lines to make up to 200,000 masks a day. And while the decision was primarily commercial, “encouragement” from the Chinese government – in the form of subsidies, lower taxes, interest-free loans, fast-track approvals for expansion and help to alleviate labor shortages – made the decision an obvious one, said Mr Liu, who preferred only to give his fa
The making of Oscar-nominated, Obamas-backed ‘American Factory’
Back in 2014, the Chinese entrepreneur Cao Dewang looked like a savior to the people of Dayton, Ohio. Cao is the founder and CEO of Fuyao, which makes glass such as windshields. The Chinese billionaire promised to bring an abandoned General Motors factory in the American state back to life, providing thousands of jobs to an area that desperately needed them. Filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert were there in 2008 to document the GM factory closing.  They returned in 2014 to make American Factory, which has been nominated for best documentary feature at this year’s Academy Awards and won accolades at film festivals around the world. Given full access to the plant and its workers, the
China is struggling to break reliance on old economy
As China battles a trade war-fuelled economic slowdown, one of its main growth engines – the “new economy” – is stalling. The “new economy” has never been officially defined, but it is a concept loosely applied to a wide range of industries, from artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing to fintech and web-based tourism. Beijing had hoped these industries would propel China from a traditional economy powered by unsustainable infrastructure investment and low-end manufacturing to a modern services-based economy. New research suggests this is not happening. Compared to 2014, the share of Chinese companies concentrated in the new economy has fallen.  Those companies that are in the ne