China holds edge as top manufacturer: Survey

Beijing, Jan 23 (IANS) China, regarded as the top manufacturing destination glabally, will retain this spot over the next five years, says an international study which found Germany and the US following it but set to be replaced by India and Brazil.

The situation prevails in China despite factors like rising labour costs and an ageing population, China Daily reported.

Based on interviews with over 550 chief executive officers and senior leaders at manufacturing companies around the world, the survey, co-launched by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. and the United States Council on Competitiveness, was released Tuesday.

Germany and the US came after China in terms of manufacturing competitiveness. But they will be replaced by India and Brazil over the next five years, the survey found.

Ricky Tung, co-leader of the manufacturing industry group of Deloitte China, said the CEO ratings seem to suggest China is becoming more of a developed economy competitor than its emerging economy counterparts.

"In addition to supportive policies, China still has relatively lower labour costs and is above average in the attractiveness of its corporate tax rates."

Some Chinese experts and exporters, however, are more pessimistic about the future of China's manufacturing sector, citing rising wages, an ageing labour force and a rising exchange rate.

Zhou Shijian, a senior trade expert at Tsinghua University, said the top spot was an "overestimate".

He said that Chinese manufacturers were losing their competitive advantage.

"When I talked with a diplomat recently, he told me that Chinese products used to close in that of the Japan and South Korea. But now it is Southeast Asian nations' products closing in ours," Zhou said.

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