Automation in Chinese manufacturing transforms workers opportunities

World Today

China’s huge economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s was partly fueled by a huge manufacturing boom that produced low-priced goods for export.

But now wages are rising and a growing middle class demands high quality goods and services. China’s economic model is changing in response.

Today in “What Is China,” CGTN’s Nathan King goes to Guangzhou, where former factory workers are finding new jobs.

Automation in Chinese manufacturing transforms workers opportunities

Automation in Chinese manufacturing transforms workers opportunities

China’s huge economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s was partly fueled by a huge manufacturing boom that produced low-priced goods for export. But now wages are rising and a growing middle class demands high quality goods and services. China’s economic model is changing in response. Today in “What Is China,” CGTN’s Nathan King goes to Guangzhou, where former factory workers are finding new jobs.

When it comes to the future of Chinese manufacturing, it could well be a Trumpchi GS8 2 liter engine – with a Turbo charge- it is a world-class car that is doing very well here in China, but is poised also to take on the global market as well.

The number two seller in its class, the Trumpchi has a boxy look with sleek modern lines and an engine that feels like a U.S. or European SUV. That’s no accident — it was designed by Zhang Fan, head of design at GAC Motor. He returned to China after 8 years with Mercedes where he helped design some of their sleekest models. 

As a Chinese designer designing a Chinese car for a Chinese brand, his pride in the product is evident in the factory too. Deputy General Manager Liang Weibiao smiles continuously as he shows us around one of the most modern assembly plants in China, perhaps the world.

Far from China stealing US manufacturing jobs, here at GAC they are using automation technology to constantly improve quality and efficiency–more cars, fewer workers. This one facility has gone from producing 200 hundred cars per shift to now over 400. The target is to double that again.

Xiao Xiao used to work with his hands in a factory, repetitive grueling 12 hour-shifts. 

Now he’s earning twice as much, literally feeding China’s burgeoning consumer class. 

He’s a food delivery man for fast-growing app E le me, or Hungry.

Xiao Xiao now uses his wits to cut delivery times to customers -working out the fastest routes- cooking times at restaurants- he even knows how long elevators take across the city. His ingenuity has already made him the coordinator of other drivers and he sees a bright future away from the factory floor. 

For people like Xiao Xiao, are much more likely now to have a job like this delivering to the millions of new Chinese consumers, than in a factory building stuff for export- and for this generation, it’s opening up a whole new road of opportunities. 


Jack Perkowski discusses China’s manufacturing industry

How is China moving up the manufacturing chain? For some business-insider thinking, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Jack Perkowski, managing partner of the JFP Holdings, with extensive business relations with China.