In this article in the South China Morning Post, SDG’s Peter Hopper comments on the emergence of a white-collar labor force in Shenzhen as an important driver in the competition between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland to develop a technology industry. “Historically,” Hopper says in this article, “labor-intensive industries in China such as electronics have seen products and processes evolve through miniaturization and digitization over the years. This has indirectly reduced the labor component needed to produce them.” But the products and processes of relatively low-cost items, such as shoes and apparel, have hardly evolved at all and continue to require a large amount of labor.
Hopper observes that the manufacturer/dormitory model is under serious challenge. A large and permanent pool of young knowledgeable workers has made it possible in places like Shenzhen to pull together engineering, management and digital capabilities. “In-house manufacturing is becoming a source of competitive advantage versus outsourcing,” Hopper said. Read the full article here.