Archive for the ‘factory’ Category

Economic and Fiscal Reality Closing In On China

October 19, 2008

Unemployed worker Wang Wenming was angry at his boss for shutting down a massive Chinese factory this week that made toys for Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc. and other American companies.

By Associated Press Writer William Foreman

But the assembly line worker was also furious at the United States.

“This financial crisis in America is going to kill us. It’s already taking food out of our mouths,” the 42-year-old laborer said Friday as he stood outside the shuttered Smart Union Group (Holdings) Ltd. factory in the southern city of Dongguan.

A vendor sell vegetables on a street in Chongqing in China's ...
A vendor sell vegetables on a street in Chongqing in China’s Sichuan province. China’s strong economy appeared to put the nation on the global high ground when the financial tsunami first struck last month, but as the storm continues to rage, that position is looking less sure.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)

The company, which has struggled as global growth has slowed in recent months, employed 7,000 people in mainland China and Hong Kong. It wasn’t immediately clear how many have lost their jobs.

Economic upheaval in the U.S. is already changing and shrinking China‘s vast manufacturing hub in the southern province of Guangdong, long regarded as the world’s factory floor. However, factory closures won’t just be a China problem — shoppers will feel the effect in malls and stores in the U.S. and Europe.

“When these companies go bust, the outcome is higher prices,” said Andy Xie, an independent economist in Shanghai. “Labor costs have gone up 70 to 100 percent in the last three or four years. But these guys have not been able to raise their prices because Toys “R” Us, Home Depot and Wal-Mart are saying no price increase. How is that possible?”

File photo shows construction workers passing high rise commercial ... 
Construction workers passing high rise commercial buildings in Beijing. China’s economic growth has slowed to 9 percent in the third quarter as global financial woes started taking a toll on the country’s staggering development the government has said.(AFP/File/Teh Eng Koon)

For years, there were too many factories competing to win bids from foreign buyers demanding prices that were often unrealistically low. The winners were American and European consumers, who enjoyed rock-bottom prices.

But many factories were scrimping on materials and stiffing their suppliers just to survive, Xie said. The financial crisis will be the final culling factor that forces many wobbly factories to go belly up and end an unsustainable situation, he added.

Already, China’s toy industry is hurting. The official Xinhua News Agency reported this week that 3,631 toy exporters — 52.7 percent of the industry’s enterprises — went out of business in 2008. The causes: higher production costs, wage increases for workers and the rising value of the yuan, the report said.

Nor is Christmas likely to make much difference. Big toy giants generally put in their Christmas orders months in advance so toys can be shipped to them in time.

Even before the financial crisis, China’s exports were dropping because of the slowdown in America and Europe. For the first time in three years, the growth rate for Chinese exports in the first quarter of 2008 declined, according to customs figures.

Chan Cheung-yau, chairman of toy and games subcommittee under the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, agreed that the outlook was gloomy for toy makers. He predicted that thousands more factories would close in China next year.

“The tightening credit market has made it more difficult for manufacturers to raise funds,” he said. “It has created a huge cash flow problem.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081019/ap_on_re_as/as_china_
factory_woes;_ylt=Ap.goKlGPMxJl52PR4pV.7Ks0NUE

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Vietnam Starts Building Largest Petrochemical Complex

September 26, 2008

BA RIA-VUNG TAU, VIETNAM: Construction of a southern petrochemical complex at the Long Son Oil and Gas Industrial Zone in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province began on Thursday (25 Sept) in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.

Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported that the project, with an investment capital of almost US$4 billion (RM13.7 billion), will be capable of manufacturing over 3 million tonnes of products a year and will be the largest of its kind in the country.

It is a joint venture by Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam),

Vietnam National Chemical Corporation (Vinachem), Vina SCG Chemicals under the Thailand Cement Group, and Thai Plastic and Chemicals.

According to PetroVietnam General Director Tran Ngoc Canh, once the complex is operational in 2013, it will be the country’s only manufacturer of petrochemical products including PE, PP and PVC.

Read the rest:
http://www.mysinchew.com/node/16704?tid=5

Vietnam: 20,000 Vietnamese Workers Go On Strike At Nike Contract Factory

April 1, 2008
HANOI, VIETNAM: More than 20,000 Vietnamese workers have walked off the job at a Taiwanese-owned plant that makes shoes for Nike Inc., demanding higher pay to keep pace with skyrocketing prices, officials said Tuesday (1 Apr).

The workers at Ching Luh plant, in southern Long An province, went on strike Monday (31 Mar). They want a 20% bump to their US$59 average monthly salaries along with better lunches at the company cafeteria, said Nguyen Van Thua, an official with the province’s trade union.The plant has been making sneakers since 2002 and employs about 21,000 workers, most of them young rural women. The company is paying the workers 14% more than minimum wage, but soaring inflation is eroding their earnings, Thua said.”The company has followed the Vietnamese laws in paying their workers, but given the fact that consumer prices are soaring day by day, the workers have had troubles with their daily expenses,” Thua said.

Nike factory workers in Vietnam

Nike is one of the biggest private
employers in Vietnam

Nike officials did not immediately respond to questions about the strike.

Ching Luh plant is one of 10 factories that contract with Nike to produce sneakers in Vietnam.

Consumer prices in Vietnam are 19% higher than they were a year ago, according to government figures. Hanoi responded in January by increasing the minimum wage foreign-owned companies are required to pay by roughly 13%.

As inflation has picked up in recent years, strikes have become more common, with workers demanding higher pay and better working conditions. (AP)
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From the BBC

More than 20,000 workers at a factory in Vietnam that makes shoes for Nike have gone on strike demanding higher pay to cope with rising inflation.

The average monthly salary at the Taiwanese-owned plant is about $59 (£30), 14% more than the minimum wage.

The workers, who produce about 12% of the 75 million pairs of shoes made for Nike in Vietnam a year, want a 20% pay rise and better canteen lunches.

Strikes in Vietnam are becoming more common as living costs have surged.

Last November, workers at a South-Korean-owned Nike factory in Vietnam walked out in a similar pay dispute.

Nike spokesman Chris Helzer said: “We recognize the impact that rising inflation has had on the people of Vietnam, and hope the situation will be resolved quickly and amicably.”

Inflation currently stands at about 9.2% after rising 10% last year.

The strike affects the Ching Luh plant in the southern part of the country. It is one of 10 factories in Vietnam that produces footwear for US athletics giant Nike.

Protest Over Factory Spreads in China

March 4, 2008

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, March 4, 2008; Page A14

BEIJING, March 3 — Violent protests erupted in several southern Chinese fishing towns after residents heard that a chemical factory rejected as environmentally dangerous by the nearby city of Xiamen would be built in their area instead, witnesses and other residents said Monday.

The protesters, who began their uprising peacefully Thursday, clashed repeatedly with baton-wielding police Friday and Saturday in several towns near the Gulei Peninsula, about 50 miles southwest of Xiamen on the Taiwan Strait, they said. A dozen people were injured and carried away for treatment in local hospitals, and about 15 were arrested, according to demonstrators and their family members.”I have never seen anything like that before,” said a 19-year-old student who watched one of the clashes unfold. “As soon as I saw all the injured people, I left,” he added, identifying himself only as Chen.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/03/AR2008030301072.html

Tainted pills hit U.S. mainland

February 6, 2008

By MICHAEL MELIA, Associated Press Writer

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The first warning sign came when a sharp-eyed worker sorting pills noticed that the odd blue flecks dotting the finished drug capsules matched the paint on the factory doors.

After the flecks were spotted again on the capsules, a blood-pressure medication called Diltiazem, the plant began placing covers over drugs in carts in its manufacturing areas.

But the factory owner, Canadian drug maker Biovail Corp., never tried to find out whether past shipments of the drug were contaminated — or prevent future contamination, according to U.S. regulators.

Thirteen of the 20 best-selling drugs in the United States come from plants on this island. But an investigation….

Weak Dollar Fuels China’s Buying Spree Of U.S. Firms

January 28, 2008

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, January 28, 2008; Page A01

SHANGHAI — From his posh office in a coastal city in eastern China, millionaire Zhou Jiaru oversees more than 100 workers at an auto parts refurbishing factory he purchased in a struggling manufacturing town on the other side of the world.

Zhou’s new company is in Spartanburg, S.C.The Chinese entrepreneur bought it from Richard Lovely, a 56-year-old industrial engineer and mechanic who says his….