That well known supposition that China only really reached its tremendous power as an industrial giant due to the vast reserves of relatively low-cost manpower that it can muster is about to be disproved.
And who will disprove it? Not economic strategists or political analysts but instead giant orange coloured robots. Before you think that you're reading a script from a science-fiction movie it should be pointed out that these giant robots will be found welding frames of cars at the immense Great Wall Motors factory situated in the city of Baoding in the province of Hebei, not far from the capital city, Beijing.
Interestingly, Great Wall, are privately owned. When their fifty thousand workers discovered that some of their jobs were about to be taken up by Swiss robots there may have been some rumbles of discontent. However, the company’s were not slow in pointing out that their considerable investment in these giant robots was not to cut costs but instead to improve the quality of the product to such a level that they will be able to compete on an even playing field with the world's leading car manufacturers.
A spokesman for the Great Wall Company explained that while cars produced in China can always be highly competitive the quality gap between cars produced in Japan, North Korea and in mainland Europe was too high to be bridged without investing in higher levels of technology and equipment that can make it happen.
According to reports it is not only in the car industry that modern industrial technology is being slowly adopted but indeed across China’s entire industrial sector, with estimates showing at close to thirty percent of all of the factory machines currently in operation within China are using some form of automation in the production processes.
Well that figure that may be considerably lower than that of Japan whose industrial plants are automated to a level close to 85 percent, machinery analysts report that Chinese companies are showing commitment to acquiring previously unsurpassed levels of automation.
It would appear that the myth of a never-ending pool of cheap labour that will allow China to become an unconquerable manufacturing powerhouse is turning out to be not quite as it appears. Inevitably the public will always prefer quality over price and if the Chinese, can succeed in providing both then they will rightfully gained a place as the leading global manufacturer.
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