Opportunities for Collaboration in the ‘Asian Century’

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The migration of manufacturing into Asia, notably China and India, has been accompanied by varying degrees of concern by western (traditional) businesses. Initially the use of offshoring by high volume/low value manufacturers was seen as a means by which they could remain price competitive; however the more recent moves by Asian manufacturers into the high value/low volume markets has become both an economic and a political issue in what currently is shaping up to be a more serious economic downturn than the “2008/9 GFC”. The move towards reshoring has been driven by the equalisation of wage rates in Asia and the softening of labour attitudes in western manufacturing countries, specifically in North America: where recently some runaway plants returned home, and there are some positive economic incentives to encourage more domestic sourcing. The paper discusses the current and future opportunities for Western companies in this scenario and suggests there is scope for collaboration between Asian and Western organisations.