As costs climb in China, manufacturers look elsewhere

Kansas City StarAugust 26, 2008 

If Americans watching the Beijing Games were stunned by China's changing economy, wait until they see price tags on Chinese-made goods this Christmas and beyond.

What's bad news for consumers may be good news, experts say, for humanity: China is losing its distinction as the world champion of cheap manufacturing.

With pressures building against sweatshops and pollution in China, however, "Indonesia and Vietnam are just waiting to take their turns," said Chris Kuehl of the Kansas City business consultant Armada Corporate Intelligence.

Consider the portable, 1,500-watt SteamMax Cleaner sold by a local outfit, Top Innovations, though made in China.

A tangled Bird's Nest of factors — from labor reforms to shipping costs to the slashing of subsidies for exporters — has driven up the cost of making the $159 SteamMax and Top’s other household products by nearly 30 percent in two years.

"Until this year we’ve been able to absorb a lot of the increases" and kept pricing competitive, said company executive Benny Lee. "But you can’t absorb 30 percent."

Read the complete story at kansascity.com

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service