U.S. Manufacturers Shift China Operations Strategy to Serve China Market
More than 100 top business leaders of U.S. manufacturers in China attended
AmCham Shanghai 2012 Manufacturing Conference
SHANGHAI, Oct. 24, 2012
SHANGHAI, Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- China has evolved from the world's
most attractive workshop to one of the world's most attractive markets. As a
result, U.S. manufacturers are reconsidering export-driven strategies that
have guided China-based operations in the past. At AmCham Shanghai's annual
2012 Manufacturing Conference held on October 23, top executives from leading
U.S. companies reported that, as costs of production and labor increase in
China, companies are increasingly transitioning their manufacturing operations
to take advantage of opportunities being created by expanding demand within
the Chinese domestic market.
The AmCham Shanghai 2012 Manufacturing Conference, themed The Yangtze River
Delta Manufacturing Challenge: Transition, was attended by more than 100 top
business leaders from companies such as Eaton, Armstrong, Dover, Delphi
Electronics, Ford, General Motors, Kimberly Clark, WESCO and service providers
SIP, Michael Page, Lend Lease, SSOE, McKinsey & Co. and dozens more.
Leading off the conference at the Suzhou Renaissance Hotel, keynote speaker
Curtis Hutchins, President of Asia Pacific operations at Eaton Corporation,
highlighted the increasing importance of China to Eaton's global growth
strategy. "China remains a huge opportunity for multinational companies...It's
just breathtaking growth. Whether the growth rate is 8.2, whether it's 9
percent, whether it's 7 percent, it's still tremendous growth when you compare
Hutchins remarked on Eaton's strategy to leverage their existing operations in
China to transition from an export driven approach to one focused on serving
the domestic China market. Eaton has four regional R&D centers in China with
more than 1,200 local engineers that drive local product development. "We
think its critical that our product development and design engineering are
close to the customer," said Hutchins. He continued, "You've got to be in
China to serve the China market."
Michael Zhang, Asia President of Dover Corporation said, "Asia Pacific has
become an important strategic market of Dover Corporation rather than simply a
low-cost labor intensive manufacturing base. As a global leader in diversified
manufacturing, Dover will attach more importance to the emerging market of
China by continuing investment to drive growth. It is worth mentioning that
the subsidiary companies of Dover are opening up 7 operation bases in China
amid the global economic downturn. At the same time, it is also our key focus
to aim toward long-term growth through mergers and acquisitions."
Improving productivity should be a top priority for companies responding to
one of the most critical challenges facing U.S. companies in China: increasing
costs. As the cost of manufacturing in China continues to go up, leveraging
sustainable value, product localization and "higher productivity are
absolutely critical to countering rising labor costs," said Hutchins. "Just
starting low-cost manufacturing is not a good long-term strategy. When we
think about 'low-cost' manufacturing, it's about the management of total cost.
It's about infrastructure. It's about logistics in another country. It's about
the variability in team capability...It goes beyond people's narrow view of
Russell Scoular, Asia Pacific Regional Director of Government Affairs at Ford
Motor Company echoed Hutchins' remarks during the first panel discussion.
"Automakers need to win in China to win globally," he said, underlining the
importance of the China market. To compete effectively in China, Scoular
reported, Ford has invested almost US$5 billion in developing their China
based manufacturing facilities and has a plan to introduce 15 new Ford models
by 2015. "You build in the markets. You build where you sell," emphasized
Highlighting the impact of a rising consumer base in China on corporate
strategies, Ken Whitaker, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Research &
Engineering at consumer giant Kimberly-Clark China, stated that his company's
focus is now also primarily domestic, transitioning from an export focus taken
when the company arrived in China in 1999. "Exports played a significant role
in our early years but the Chinese consumer is driving our change in
manufacturing focus. Consumers are increasingly richer, more demanding and
willing to pay for quality and are more confident and connected on the net."
With almost 1,600 of AmCham Shanghai's members engaged in manufacturing, the
Chamber's annual manufacturing conference remains a signature event for AmCham
Shanghai and is a must-attend event for U.S. manufacturers in the Yangtze
River Delta. For the first time, The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai
held the conference outside of Shanghai, in Suzhou, the heart of the Yangtze
River Delta manufacturing belt.
This year's conference focused on transitions occurring in manufacturing
globally, throughout the Asia-Pacific, China and the YRD region, and what
actions leading companies are taking to respond.
About AmCham Shanghai
The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, known as the "Voice of American
Business" in China, is the largest and fastest growing American Chamber in the
Asia Pacific region. Founded in 1915, AmCham Shanghai was the third American
Chamber established outside the United States.
As a non-profit, non-partisan business organization, AmCham Shanghai is
committed to the principles of free trade, open markets, private enterprise
and the unrestricted flow of information.
Visitwww.amcham-shanghai.orgfor more information about AmCham Shanghai.
SOURCE The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai
Contact: David Basmajian, firstname.lastname@example.org, or +86-21
6279-7119, or Joyce Bian, email@example.com, or +86-21 6279-7119
x5655, both of AmCham Shanghai
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